Key Stage 3 (age 11-14)
History is a subject that you will use all your life and at key stage 3 we aim to give you an interest in the past which will remain with you even after you leave school. We will cover some interesting periods of our history and meet some colourful characters from the times between the Norman Conquest and the end of the First World War. Key Stage 3 is our chance to inspire and stimulate you and teach you the basic historical skills that will enable you to use primary evidence and present a balanced and well supported analysis. No prior knowledge is expected and the syllabus follows the National Curriculum recommendations in a chronological sequence.
Key Stage 4 (age 14-16 GCSE)
History now becomes more challenging, but also more rewarding. Increasingly you will be asked to form your own opinions about historical events and use what you have learned, to support your point of view. The beauty of history is that there are no right or wrong answers and that everybody has an opinion which is valid and worthy of consideration. Primary evidence (ie that written at the time of the events) is increasingly demanding at GCSE and you will be encouraged to question the usefulness of different types of evidence. We will also help to use your knowledge to evaluate the reliability of sources and interpret what they tell us about attitudes from that time.
If you’ve chosen to study History in the 6th form you must really love the subject and A-level history will be an absolute joy to you. This is where we meet and get to know (and understand) of some of the most colourful characters who ever lived and who have had a major influence on the world that we live in today. We will encourage you to think, research and then debate major historical events and the issues behind them. As with GCSE, we will encourage you to think independently and form your own (justified) opinions about historical issues, though these can be expected to be more complex. At last you will be a proper historian, equipped with the analytical skills to cope with the rigours of a career or university, regardless of whether you choose history or any other discipline.
We live in a world of constant change. Geography enables our students to develop an understanding of their environment and to gain knowledge and understanding of the world and current affairs. Students in all years study contemporary subject matter, and we encourage our students to make use of the media to keep themselves up to date with topics. ICT skills are used to carry out research and present findings to geographical investigations. Fieldwork is a vital part of the subject at all levels and the department has a wide range of fieldwork equipment and its own weather station.
At KS3, students gain a grounding in fieldwork, starting in Year 7 with local settlement studies in Abbots Bromley, which has taken a variety of formats, most recently as a film about the village. In Year 8, students undertake a study of limestone scenery in the Peak District National Park; by Year 9, students have proven their ability to collect primary data on a river study in Cannock Chase. In Year 10, as part of their GCSE studies (AQA Geography A), students have to collect primary data, most recently carrying out a study of issues arising from tourism in the Peak District.
As part of the AS course (AQA Geography), Year 12 students gain from the experience of a residential field-studies centre for physical geography data collection along a river followed by statistical analysis as part of their examination preparation. In the past two years, students in Years 11 and 12 have experienced residential field-trip to Snowdonia and Shropshire to study physical geography and to Stoke-on-Trent to study aspects of human geography.
Additionally, Sixth Form students have benefitted from a field-trip to Yorkshire, to study coastal erosion on the Holderness Coast and flood defences in York.
Politics and Government
Where people form groups or societies decisions need to be made, many of which are difficult and conflicts arise. The political process is the process by which these conflicts are resolved. Politics is, therefore, a study of conflict resolution and is relevant on both a macro and micro level within our society. We aim to develop an understanding of political ideas and concepts, as well as of how individuals, parties and pressure groups seek to win power and/or influence in the UK and USA. Tuition is classroom based with the emphasis on discussion and, as in all liberal democracies, freedom of speech is encouraged! Students are encouraged to fulfil their potential by realising that Politics is ‘the art of the possible’.
Sociology has been described as the ‘science of society’ – the study of people in social groups. To understand the behaviour of individuals we look beyond the personal circumstances in which they appear, and like an onion we peel each layer and look at the structure of the society of which we are all part. Sociology challenges everyday assumptions and understandings, digging deep to understand hidden motives, causes and consequences – there is never a dull moment in a sociology lesson! The exam success rate for Sociology, which is only available for A level, is high. But perhaps more important is the nurturing of the skill of independent thought and the ability to look beyond the surface of a problem.
Business Studies must be one of the most varied and diverse subjects available at both GCSE and Advanced Level and is one of the most popular subjects taught in the Sixth Form, with results at A-level consistently well above the national average. Students are taught in a variety of learning styles to encourage them to develop a critical understanding of organisations, the context in which they operate, the markets they serve and the process of adding value. This involves consideration of the internal workings and management of organisations and, in particular, the process of decision-making in a dynamic external environment.
The subject has a heightened real life perspective, which enables pupils to relate theory to their experience as consumers. Newspaper and television headlines offer continual reminders of how relevant and of how much interest the business world is to us all. In recent years much attention has been directed to such issues as the credit crunch, the troubles of the £ and petrol prices. Longer term issues continue to hit the headlines too… business and the environment, sweatshop labour, global warming and the impact of new technologies on business and working lives. All these issues are relevant to business and will be studied alongside the main functional areas of business – Marketing, Operations Management, Finance and Human Resources – at both GCSE and Advanced Level.
Business Studies also provides an excellent grounding for further study or entrance to the world of work. A large proportion of students of Business Studies at Abbots Bromley continue their studies of the subject at some of the top UK universities for Business Management and related degree courses.
At Key Stage 4 the department offers GCSE Business Studies. This is not just a theory-based subject, it is about real life as it helps students to learn about businesses and the way they operate in today’s society. Throughout the course students will learn how to analyse business problems and issues; how to evaluate evidence and communicate arguments clearly and effectively; how to make business decisions; how to work as part of a team and how to use ICT in a variety of business contexts and the impact that ICT has on business operations. The teaching approach at GCSE is one that encourages students to investigate businesses in the local area, as well as using their own personal experiences as a consumer. A variety of teaching aids are used to stimulate discussion and to bring business into the classroom.
GCSE Business Studies is a good, though not essential, preparation for anyone considering studying the subject at a higher level e.g. at advanced level in the Sixth Form, but it also provides students with a number of skills that will prove useful should they decide to pursue more vocational courses post 16.
How can students make sense of such a diverse world? Understand its different cultures? Relate to its different religions? Or survive its moral morass? These are the questions that underpin Religious Studies. We give no easy answers, offer no absolute dogma, but through guided learning, challenging discussion and stimulating visits, gently lead our students to engage with the issues that they will face outside. In Religious Studies, students explore not only the major belief systems of the world, but also it’s most challenging issues. They learn about prejudice and discrimination, Religious understandings of family life, beginning of life and end of life issues (e.g. abortion and euthanasia) (amongst many other things). And at each stage they ask both why this has happened and is this right? Religious Studies is a fascinating, enriching and demanding subject that really can make a difference to a student’s life.
We have a very happy and lively Sixth Form in which girls and boys can study effectively and enjoy the advantages of being part of an exceptionally friendly community. We offer a wide range of AS and A levels and most students study four subjects in the Lower Sixth year. Our academic results are of a very high standard.
All students benefit from the expertise of an experienced staff and the school prides itself on the tutorial system which allows us to give a high level of individual care and guidance to each student in preparation for entry to higher education.