The subject area of Humanities incorporates both History and Geography.

The study of History provides opportunities for pupils to experience and develop some understanding of events and people in different times and places. Pupils are involved in exploring the world around them. This is achieved through exploring and handling artefacts, visiting museums, stories, books, photos, music, food, art and through practical craft like activities linked to particular topics. Through historical and geographical learning, our young people will become accountable citizens, understanding their role in protecting our world and environment and knowing how they can cause positive change and development as they grow.

History Aims

The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
  • know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
  • gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
  • gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts: understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales

Geography Aims

The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
  • are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length


In the Foundation Stage our pupils follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.  Although Humanities is not a specific area of learning, it is part of the ‘Understanding the World’ and ‘PSED’ learning areas and is integrated into all aspects of the day and topic work and is learnt through sensory exploration and play.

Key Stage 1 and 2

In Key Stage 1 and 2, pupils follow the National Curriculum which is adapted to meet their needs. Pupils engage in half a term of History and Geography that is linked to the topic for that term.

Key Stage 3

In Key Stage 3, pupils follow the National Curriculum which is adapted to meet their needs.  Lessons will focus on both Geography and History learning outcomes and will link to the phases themes.  Lessons often seek to engage the pupils with an emphasis on practical or interactive exploration.  For example, recent topics saw the creation of an inter department ‘rainforest canopy’ which spread down corridors and into classrooms.

Key Stage 4

In Key Stages 4 Humanities are not taught as discrete subjects. However, some aspects of Humanities are linked to activities undertaken in the options programme.

Post 16

The area of Humanities is addressed through the “Citizenship” element of the Post 16 curriculum. Student learning in this area is accredited through ASDAN and Towards Independence. The modules undertaken are designed to support students understand their rights and responsibilities in their own community and in the wider world.


Humanities at Arbour Vale School is supported and encouraged through the phase topics.  This is through topic enrichment days and assemblies.

Previous events have included:

  • Space – although this was a Science enrichment day, there were elements of history included in the learning experiences, relating to past and present
  • Through the Eras Day’ involved all classes in Key Stage 3 dressing up and celebrating the evolution of music and culture over the past decades from 1920’s to the present day
  • ‘Tudor Day’ saw the recreation of a banquet in the court of King Henry VIII and involved costumes and Tudor dancing for all.
  • Olympics Day – classes were allocated a country and sport to investigate, including the history and geography of both country and sport.