Michaela Community School | Humanities at Michaela
Michaela Community School, Wembley

Humanities at Michaela

Year 7 Humanities

Year 7 History

In history, we begin by introducing our pupils to two of the ancient civilisations that have shaped the world we live in today: Greece and Rome. First, we travel to Greece to learn about the ancient Greek city-states – their gods, their writing system as well as their different systems of government. Then our focus moves to Rome, from its foundational myths of Romulus, through its Republic and Empire, to its decline in the fourth century AD. After our midyear assessment, we move away from ancient Rome to medieval Britain. We learn about the Anglo-Saxon and Viking invasions, the Venerable Bede and Alfred the Great and the formation of the Kingdom of England, as well as the events after the death of Edward the Confessor. With three hours each week of history, we are able to cover much more than would be typical in another school. Our pupils move through medieval England, considering the various challenges to the King’s power and finish the year, and the Middle Ages, at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

Year 7 Geography

Unlike many schools, our priority in geography when the pupils first arrive at the school is to introduce them to the Earth’s peoples and places before introducing pupils to geographical processes. After an initial unit of work on how the Earth was formed, and its disparities in wealth and climate, we take the pupils on a tour of the world’s regions and countries. We learn to plot countries’ key physical and political features on blank maps and we find out about differences in climate, language and political organisation. By the end of the year our pupils will have visited all seven of the Earth’s continents and met many of its different and diverse peoples.

Year 7 Religion

Michaela is not a faith school and we do not promote any single religious or non-religious view in the school. Our teachers are from all major faiths and none. However, we do believe that teaching about religion is important in a world that has been, and continues to be, shaped by religious belief. With this in mind, our pupils begin Year 7 by learning some of the most famous stories of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles – stories that have had a profound effect on Western intellectual thought. The year’s curriculum begins where it all began – the story of Creation ex nihilo. We learn about Abraham and his descendants, as well as the covenant made between God and his chosen people. In the second half of the year, we turn to the Gospels – the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – finishing with Paul’s revolutionary mission.

Year 8 Humanities 

Year 8 History

Year 8 begins in the Early Modern period as the pupils reflect on the tensions between the Church and Crown and consider the political, financial and theological motivations that precipitated King Henry VIII’s break from Rome. This is followed by a unit on the English Civil War as pupils explore the causes of the tension between Parliament and the King, as well as the reasons for regicide in 1649. Continuing with the focus on British history, the second half of the year explains how England and subsequently Britain went from Civil War to Constitutional Monarchy, the significance of the Glorious Revolution, as well as how the nations of England and Scotland united in the Act of Union. It finishes with a unit on enlightenment, revolution and empire which encompasses a broad study on European intellectual history and the impact that ideas had on the American and French Revolutions, as well as the British Industrial Revolution. We travel to the Americas, where we study the development of colonial expansion and we begin to introduce pupils to different forms of historical sources and teach them how to use evidence to critique and analyse aspects of the past. The unit finishes with the brutal revolutionary and Napoleonic wars and the re-drawing of the European and world map after the Battle of Waterloo and Congress of Vienna in 1815.

Year 8 Geography

Our Year 8 geography curriculum dovetails with neatly with history. Our first unit is an overview of the British Isles’ political and physical geography with different lessons on its different regions and countries: the north and south of England, Scotland and Wales, the North and the Republic of Ireland. We introduce our pupils to Ordnance Survey maps so that they can situate themselves in their locality as well as inspiring them to explore further afield. The second half of the year maintains the emphasis while also encouraging our pupils to think about how our country has changed, and continues to change, over time: the effects of weather and erosion on the land as well as the changing nature of settlement, transport and industry.

Year 8 Religion

Our Year 8 religion curriculum capitalises on the knowledge gained in Year 7 and, like history, moves chronologically through the Abrahamic religions. Our pupils begin the year by learning about Judaism and the birth of ethical and metaphysical monotheism. Then we turn the beginnings of Christianity in the Roman Empire, its schisms and denominations, as well as considering questions about Christianity in the modern world. From the midyear assessment our pupils learn about the history and developments in Islam, considering its similarities and differences to Judaism and Christianity, as well as Islamic practice in the UK. Our final unit of work, tracks the chronology of the history curriculum: we learn about the philosophy of the Enlightenment and introduce pupils to both established and contemporary critiques of religion.

Year 9 Humanities

Year 9 History

Year 9 history is intended to introduce pupils to key concepts and ideas that they will study at GCSE. The topics also give pupils a thorough understanding of how the modern world we live in today has developed. Our first unit begins with the Congress of Vienna, where the map of Europe and the world was re-drawn. Pupils study the rise of the British Empire in India and Africa and through the use of evidence, they evaluate interpretations on the empire’s legacy. Pupils are taught about the fragility of the geo-political world order in the late 19th century and the subsequent building of complex alliance-systems to preserve peace and security. Subsequently, the pupils study the causes of the First World War and in-depth aspects of the military campaigns of the war itself. We finish by looking at seismic political changes of the post-war period: the Russian Revolution, the Irish Civil War and crucially the establishment of a fragile democracy in Germany. We then consider the failure of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany. Totalitarian dictatorship in Germany is studied, with an emphasis on how the Nazis were able to consolidate and control their hold on Germany. We then move onto the Second World War with a distinct focus on the Holocaust and 20th century genocide. Our last unit looks at the Cold War, before focusing on the modern conflicts which have shaped the 21st century.

Year 9 Religion

Religion and history GCSEs are taken by all pupils at Michaela. The GCSE in religion is also taken a year earlier than normal so pupils begin this course in Year 9 and take their terminal exams at the end of Year 10. All our pupils take the ‘AQA – Religious Studies’ course, with a focus on Christianity and Islam, which each make up 25% of the paper. These sections of the course focus on the theology and practice of these two major religions. Pupils have to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the Christian doctrine of salvation, as well as consider questions of free will and predestination in the Islamic tradition.  The other 50% of the course assesses the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of four different philosophical and ethical issues. Pupils learn about debates about the origins of the universe, abortion and euthanasia. They explore the traditional arguments for the existence of God, as well as asking whether violence and conflict can ever have an ethical justification.  Finally, they consider questions of crime and punishment. Pupils look at religious and non-religious responses to the aims of punishment as well as whether capital punishment can ever be condoned.

GCSE History

At GCSE, pupils will study the following units, following the OCR History Route A – Explaining the modern world

 Unit 1: Power, Monarchy and Democracy in Britain, 1000-2014.

 – Anglo-Saxon England

 – Late Medieval kingship

 – Tudor monarchy

 – Civil War and Restoration

 – Modern Britain


Unit 2: The English Reformation and the Historic Environment. 

 – Influence of the Church

 – Henry VIII’s break with Rome

 – Edward VI’s reforms

 – Impact of the Reformation

 – Castles: form and function


Unit 3: Germany 1925-1955

 – Inter-war Germany and Weimar Government

 – Nazi rise to power

 – Nazi dictatorship

 – Impact of war on society

 – post war Germany: Federal Republic of Germany & the German Democratic Republic


Unit 4: International Relations 1918-2014

– Treaty of Versailles

 – The failure of the League of Nations

– Appeasement

 – Causes of the Second World War

 – Cold War

 – Challenges of modern international relations.

GCSE Religion

All pupils enter GCSE Religion a year early and cover the following topics, beginning in year 9.

AQA  – Religious Studies Specification A

Study of religion:

  1. Christian theology
  2. Christian practice
  3. Islamic theology
  4. Islamic practice

Themes in philosophy and ethics

  1. Religion and life
  2. The existence of God and revelation
  3. Religion, peace and conflict
  4. Religion, crime and punishment

If you would like to find out more about the English curriculum, please email info@mcsbrent.co.uk