Our focus within Humanities is enjoying learning and wanting to learn. Our students study History, Geography and Religious Studies at Key Stage 3 and 4 with Citizenship integrated across the disciplines at KS3 and as an individual subject at KS4.

These subjects practice life skills such as evaluating opinions and developing students’ confidence to communicate their ideas.

History, RS and Citizenship develops students’ knowledge and understanding of the challenges and opportunities of personal, cultural, social and economic issues in contemporary society and allows students to make judgements about how life has changed over time and the reasons for this. It enhances the understanding of the different values and attitudes, needs and perspectives of students’ own and other communities. We focus on developing the skills needed for independent thinking, informed decision-making and action in relation to personal, economic and social issues.

In Geography we study the real world. Students learn about the human and physical processes that are happening all around us and this helps to give them a better understanding of the world. We focus on relevant topics including issues within the students’ local area such as floods, sustainability and climate change. We help our students to use the skills they learn in subjects such as Science, ICT and Mathematics and apply them to the world around them. Fieldtrips are an important part of learning about the world and provide us with good opportunities to teach students how theory works in practice. As well as enjoying their learning, we aim to teach students to think and apply their knowledge so that they are better equipped to deal with a changing world.

Students have the opportunity to extend their work in all Humanities subjects through research using the Learning Centre, use of ICT within lessons, numerous competitions across all year groups as well as several field work opportunities to Hunstanton, Warwick Castle, Belgium and London. Our lessons are relevant, challenging and exciting.

The Humanities Department staff

  • Mr I Lewis – Learning Leader for Humanities
  • Mr D Ashurst - Teacher of Humanities
  • Mr M Yewman – Assistant Learning Leader for Humanities
  • Mrs J Holmes – Teacher of Humanities, Pastoral Leader for Sixth Form
  • Mrs T Manns - Teacher of Psychology, Pastoral Leader for Year 8
  • Miss E Davies - Teacher of Humanities

Years 7, 8 and 9 (Key Stage 3)

At this stage, all students study History, Geography and Religious Studies with Citizenship integrated across the disciplines.

Year 7

In history, students begin with a brief introduction to historical skills. A study of our local area encompasses two Applied Learning days in September and adopts a combined approach with Geography and RS, focusing on personal identity and belonging. They will then move on to look at the Romans, the Norman Conquest and aspects of medieval life throughout the rest of the year.

Our introduction to Religious Studies (RS) includes topics such as: “What is RS?” and “What are the major religions of the world?” Study will then move onto different founders of key world religions and a philosophical look at the existence of God. Finally, year 7 students will study different rites of passage.

Geography is the study of people and how they interact with the world. In KS3 Geography we aim to develop students’ understanding of places (locally and globally) and their understanding of important issues such as climate change and population growth. The underlying theme in all Geography lessons is Sustainable Development. Year 7 students start the year with an introduction to basic geographical skills As the year progresses, students investigate issues such as “Are we British or European?”, the impact of continued population growth on the world, and rivers and their associated hazards of flooding. Throughout the year they will also develop their map skills.

Year 8

In history, we begin with a study of the Tudors focusing on religious and political changes, the Civil Wars and life under Cromwell. Later in the year we study Britain 1750-1900 and examine the changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution including working and living conditions, slavery and some aspects of crime and punishment such as Jack the Ripper.

Year 8 RS will start by looking at different Christian religious denominations and morals. We study a unit on the environment with topics such as “should we eat meat?” and “how did the world begin?” Further units will look at religious expression and a study of different Holy books. The final area of work looks at important issues such as Stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.

Students start Year 8 Geography by investigating Britain’s ever changing coastlines and the impact that this has on people who live near the coast. They then study Britain’s varying weather and come to understand just why it rains so much. They continue their Year 7 study into the local area, by researching Living Spaces starting with Irthlingborough, before expanding out and investigating the often controversial growth of Britain’s towns and cities. This leads onto a unit on the Geography of Crime where students will discover how mapping and the use of GIS can be used to reduce crime rates. They will finish the year with two studies into places around the world, firstly Vietnam and then the diversity of the continent of Africa.

Year 9

History studies focus on the twentieth century world including an in-depth study on the First World War (life in the trenches, Battle of the Somme, propaganda posters). Students then undertake a project on the Home Front in Britain during the Second World War followed by investigations into Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, D Day and the Holocaust. Finally, a study of the Cold War will round things off.

Year 9 students have a varied set of RS units that try and get them prepared for GCSE style work; we want them to be as reflective and as creative as they can. They will study a unit called “Body & Spirit” with questions like: “Are we physical and spiritual?” and “Why should I care about my body?” Following this, students will complete a booklet on different religious festivals. A unit of study linked to Citizenship follows festivals and focuses on the UNICEF rights of a child. The final unit is on Religion in the 21st Century.

Year 9 Geography has a global theme. The start of the year looks at plate tectonics and the often exciting, but deadly, natural hazards of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Students are then presented with a Dilemma question, ‘Should we buy a Valentine Rose?’ and will investigate the issues which surround Fairtrade and the positive and negative impacts of global trade. Following this, students will have the opportunity to complete an independent piece of work into Antarctica which then leads on to the controversial question of Climate Change – Natural or Man Made? Later in the year they will investigate global issues surrounding rights and access to water before completing Key Stage 3 with a comparison of countries that draws together all the geographical skills and knowledge that they have developed over the last 3 years.

Years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4)

The GCSE Geography curriculum is enquiry-based, and about real world issues, both global and local. Students investigate the answers to a range of human geography themes, such as:

  • • Why is population changing?
  • • How do countries develop from poor to rich?
  • • How can the use of resources best be managed?
  • Physical geography themes studied include issues such as:
  • • Why do people live near natural hazards?
  • • How are river and coastal systems changing places?
  • • How is climate change affecting our planet?

The GCSE History curriculum covers four units over the course of Year 10 and 11.

  • • Germany 1918-45, inevitably focusing on Hitler and why a former tramp was able to become the most popular leader in History. Why did millions of Germans vote for a man that the world now regards with horror? How was he able to transform Germany into a state where his word was law and opponents would be eliminated? Did everyone support him?
  • • The impact of War on Britain, 1914-1950, focusing on why men joined WWI and WWII, how women’s lives and family life changed because of war and evacuation of children from Britain’s cities to the countryside.
  • • Crime and Punishment through time, discovering how crimes have changed since Medieval times and judging the fairness of the punishments, for example why could people be hanged for the theft of a sheep? We bring this course up to the modern day, considering the most well-known crimes committed in Britain and look at how the role of the police and prisons have changed over time. It is within this course that we look at the case of Jack the Ripper and why he escaped the police in the 1800s. We study a wide range of crimes from witchcraft to smuggling and domestic violence.
  • • Year 11’s Controlled Assessment unit looks at America in the 1920s and 1930s, examining questions such as why was America such a racist society? What were the “Roaring 20s” and why did many people in the world’s richest country have to survive by picking through dustbins for food? Students focus on a specific aspect of life in America and complete their Controlled Assessment in class, worth 25% of their final grade.

The Key Stage 4 Citizenship core curriculum has three themes:

  • • Advocacy and representation, covering ‘eco-friendly’ communities and campaigning
  • • Community action and active citizenship
  • • Fairness and justice
  • The Key Stage 4 Religious Studies course covers four topics:
  • • Our World, looking at theories of creation, origins of life and considering the purpose of existence
  • • Relationships, including love, marriage and the family
  • • Is it fair? This topics considers prejudice and discrimination, the media and social responsibility
  • • Looking for meaning, including the nature of God, the existence of the soul and the wider role of religion in society
Qualifications which may be obtained at Key Stage 4
  • GCSE Geography
  • GCSE History


Sixth Form (Key Stage 5)

The East Northamptonshire College (TENC) combines the strengths of the three schools Ferrers, Huxlow and Rushden, who work together post-16 to offer a wide range of courses and opportunities to all students in the East Northamptonshire area.

Find out more about TENC


Qualifications which may be obtained at Key Stage 5AS / A2 Citizenship
  • AS / A2 General Studies
  • AS / A2 Geography
  • BTec Subsidiary Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • AS / A2 History
  • AS / A2 Law
  • AS / A2 Philosophy and Ethics
  • AS / A2 Psychology
  • AS / A2 Sociology
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