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Contact Information  
Mrs L Chrisman (Geography)- Mrs H HumphrisClements (History)-
Ms L Conway (History) – Miss L Dale (Geography) –
Mrs C Griffiths (Geography)- Miss C Soricelli (History) –
Mr P Myers (Geography) – Mrs R Martin (History) –
Mrs L Oscroft (Geography) – Mrs H Rowe (Humanities) –
Mrs S Smith (Philosophy & Ethics) – Mr J Waters (History) –
Mr T Harrington (Philosophy & Ethics) –

Faculty Introduction

The Humanities Faculty includes the subjects of Geography, History & Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE).  Our Faculty is made up of 16 members of staff that have a range of expertise and subject specialisms. This enables us to deliver a diverse, multi-disciplinary curriculum for all our students. Our staff are passionate about giving our young people the best possible start to understanding a range of world views and perspectives across all three disciplines.

The Humanities curriculum aims to build a strong community of enquirers that will encourage our students to feel inspired to learn beyond the curriculum and never be afraid to ask questions so that they become well-informed citizens of the world. All students at Denbigh are taught Geography, History and PRE in Years 7 and 8 for one hour per week per subject.  In Year 9, students can choose to study the Humanities subjects as part of their GCSEs, being examined at the end of Year 11.  All three of the Humanities subjects are available to study at A Level.  We have a very successful record of students leaving Denbigh to continue their studies in a Humanities subject at universities across the country.

We are an ambitious Faculty with a strong team of dedicated subject specialists.  We wish to instil in our students’ hunger and thirst for knowledge of the world’s past, present and future and to have the confidence to go out into society and face challenging issues with humility.  Below you will find more information about each subject.  

We have designed our curriculum based on the following principles:

  • Diversity – to reflect the diverse student body of the Denbigh community and teach our students to respect and value difference as well as being confident in their own perspectives.
  • Inclusivity – we want all our students to feel included in the stories we share so that they can build a strong community together for a better future.
  • Powerful knowledge – we want our students to be exposed to powerful knowledge so that they have an influence in society and confidence in entering discussions and debates in different spaces without feeling intimidated.
  • Freethinking – we aim to strengthen their intellectual resilience and give them the tools to confidently challenge and reflect on complex problems to help them become reflective citizens.

History – Curriculum Intent and Vision

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” Marcus Garvey

At Denbigh School it is the aim of our History curriculum to develop students’ curiosity of the past by exposing them to a wide range of British, European and World History.  It is the hope that students emotionally engage with the stories of the past and thus develop a connection with History.  Through the study of History, students are able to gain a greater insight into the modern world and how past events have influenced the world we live in today.  By drawing connection between the past and present, students will develop an appreciation of the significance of History to their own lives and the world around them on a personal, national, and international level.

History provides students with the skills necessary to successfully navigate the complex world in which we live. It helps make better citizens. Students through the study of History are encouraged to:

  • Think critically and objectively about the world around them.
  • Appreciate their place in the world, broaden horizons and promote cohesion.
  • Have open minds and confront prejudice.

A successful History curriculum aims to equip students with the following skills and attributes:

  • Students should be able to see the present in the context of the past.
  • Students should develop respect for the people in the past and understand them on their own terms.
  • Student should be engaged and enjoy the study of History.
  • Students should have the ability to use information critically.
  • Students should be able to see both sides of a situation and use evidence to construct effective arguments for either side.
  • Students should develop the art of writing, source analysis.
  • Students should be exposed to arrange of cultures and experiences beyond their own lives – promoting understanding and tolerance.
  • Students should be able to able to communicate effectively in a wide range of forms and situations.
  • Students should develop historical empathy.

It is important to note that the subject of History exists on two separate planes; on the surface History is knowing the facts of the past. On the second plane, History is a discipline where core historical concepts underpin and describe the processes of historical thinking and understanding. It has been noted by Seixas “knowing the fact is not enough. Historical thinking does not replace historical knowledge: the two are related and interdependent”.

When assessing students at Denbigh the mastery model is used across our two year Key Stage Three curriculum. This model sets out clear descriptions of good quality History and identifies and addresses common misconceptions students have. The model is based on six key historical concepts. The chosen concepts are:

  • Cause and Consequence
  • Change and Continuity
  • Use of Evidence
  • Historical Interpretations
  • Significance
  • Knowledge and Communication

A true mastery of the historical concepts cannot be achieved without deep understanding of the past. Each concept has four stages from ‘emerging’ to ‘mastered’. Units of work and lessons will be planned around these mastery concepts providing opportunities for students to develop in each of the core areas over the two years.

An enquiry-based approach will be used, meaning that units of study will revolve around clear enquiry questions that embed core concepts within specific historical periods. The content within each enquiry will build towards an assessment that will be rooted in core knowledge and conceptual mastery.

At Denbigh we have a three year Key Stage 4 curriculum which follows the AQA specification covering the following areas:

  • Conflict and Tension, 1918-1939: The Interwar Years.
  • Germany: Democracy to Dictatorship.
  • Health and the People.
  • The Elizabethans.

Each area of study is broken down into specific units with students completing an assessment at the end of each unit. Student attainment is tracked centrally in order to highlight key areas of strength within the cohort and areas that require improvement. Low stakes quizzes also take place to encourage the recall of prior knowledge.

Students complete Pre-Public Examinations in Year 9, 10 and then twice in Year 11.  These exams assess all areas of the course that have been covered. As a three-year GCSE is in place, it means Year 11’s primary focus is exam technique and revision.

At Key Stage 5 students follow the Edexcel specification. They cover the following areas of:

  • Russia: Lenin to Yeltsin.
  • Moa’s China.
  • The British Experience of Warfare.
  • Coursework on the Origins of the Cold War.

Students complete a Year 13 entrance exam at the end of Year 12 and are then externally assessed at the end of Year 13.

Geography – Curriculum Intent

Geography at Denbigh explores a wide range of topics that allow students to develop an appreciation for the broad domain of Geography. Geography deepens understanding of physical processes, economic and environmental issues and human civilisations. Students build upon vast substantive knowledge to apply their understanding and use increasingly complex geographical skills. Students are invited to broaden their cultural understanding and challenge misconceptions of places and people in the classroom and through geographical enquiry. Geography empowers students to explore their place in the world and develop their own identity by investigating dynamic geographical issues and concepts in a local, national and global context.

Geographical concepts surrounding place and location are threaded throughout our KS3, KS4 and KS5 courses which empowers students to explore their place in an increasingly complex world. We invite our students to explore key concepts and the skills to understand them in Year 7. This takes students through all manner of human, physical and geographical processes from migration to glaciation. In Year 8, these concepts become contextualised in places and skills are applied to more complex case studies. As students start their GCSE courses, they are able to build on this powerful knowledge with exposure to a broader range of topics and tools to evaluate the human and natural world. By A-Level, our Geographers are independent, critical thinkers, capable of drawing on a wealth of skills and knowledge to understand and contribute to the world.

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) – Curriculum Intent

To study PRE is to study what it means to be human. It transcends the individual. It is the idea that something is bigger than us. It is the aim of our curriculum to take students beyond their own world and allow them to experience knowledge and ideas that they may never have experienced. We want our students to be able to grasp the origins of key beliefs within major faiths and how those key beliefs have been interpreted. We want to expose them to big questions in philosophy about the nature of God and what it means to be human. We want them to appreciate the lived reality of religious belief and how belief influences behaviour. We want them to be able to take part in intelligent conversations about religion, philosophy and ethics. Whilst doing so we hope to foster a love for the subject within our students and inspire them to study the subject further.

We have a rigorous, academic curriculum that is ambitious, challenging, enriching and inclusive. We have high expectations of what students can learn in PRE. The lessons are carefully sequenced to allow students to draw on what they have learned before and make sense of what is to come. Regular retrieval practice activities and low-stakes testing are embedded into the curriculum to allow students to deeply commit the content to their long-term memories. Our curriculum reflects the fact that traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking into account the teachings and practices of other religions. The religious traditions of Milton Keynes also influence our curriculum choices.

The curriculum ensures students are exposed to the different categories of knowledge found within PRE. These include:

  1. Substantive knowledgecontent and concepts – this includes an opportunity for students to explore what a religion and a worldview is, the study of specific religious and non-religious worldviews and the diversity within them and the development of fundamental PRE concepts such as incarnation, worship, authority etc. with sufficient breadth and depth.
  • Disciplinary knowledge – ‘ways of knowing’ – this includes developing students’ knowledge about the ways in which knowledge of religion is formed, such as through the interpretation of holy books or different scholarly methods for studying religion.
  • Disciplinary knowledge – ‘personal knowledge’ – this includes helping students to understand their own relationship to the subject matter and the ‘lenses’ they might be using to view the world.

Our curriculum allows students to:

  • Explore a range of religious and non-religious worldviews in the present day.
  • Make links between beliefs, teachings and practices.
  • Raise questions, reflect and ‘dig deeply’ into their thinking.
  • Talk and write knowledgeably about religions and belief, using subject specific language accurately and confidently.
  • Develop an understanding of the influence beliefs, values and traditions have on individuals, communities, societies and culture.
  • Develop their ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about issues.
  • Reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences as part of their study.
  • Experience a wide range of texts such as sacred literature and subject scholarship.
  • Interpret a range of sources, texts and authorities, from a variety of contexts.
  • Appreciate that the boundaries between religions are not always fixed.
  • Acknowledge the diversity within religious and non-religious worldviews.

PRE also has a significant role to play in the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students. It is the aim of our curriculum to promote respect and open-mindedness towards other perspectives, rather than simply ‘tolerating’ them. We hope to teach our students to challenge stereotypical viewpoints and appreciate differences in others.

We follow developments in the PRE community to construct our curriculum to ensure it is backed up by the latest educational research and literature.

The themes that students cover lay the foundations of the skills and knowledge they will need for work, further study or the interaction with others. We hope it will prepare them successfully for life in Modern Britain.


The school is very keen to support the development of wider enrichment activities that will inspire students to go on to study courses at A Level and Degree Level. Within Humanities we offer the following enrichment opportunities to students:

  • History Club run by Mrs Conway.
  • Geography Club run by Mrs Griffiths.
  • Philosophy Club run by Mr Harrington

Schemes of Learning

Each faculty has developed a Scheme of Learning for each subject and year group. The Schemes of Learning outline the curriculum journey that students will embark on each academic year.


Useful Websites

Faculty Assessment & Feedback Policy

Please find a copy of the Faculty Assessment and Feedback policy below. Teachers in the faculty subject areas will follow this policy when assessing students learning and providing feedback.

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Useful Websites (RE)

Faculty Assessment & Feedback Policy

Please find a copy of the Faculty Assessment and Feedback policy below. Teachers in the faculty subject areas will follow this policy when assessing students learning and providing feedback.


Useful Revision Websites

  • John D Clare: A website that covers the content of Modern World History. Very useful for details about the interwar years.
  • History Learning Site: Provides details about a plethora of historical periods.
  • BBC Bitesize: Provides revision for all history topics covered by AQA. Also provides exam guidance.
  • School History: Provides details about a plethora of historical periods.
  • GCSE Pod: Provides overviews, recall quizzes and revision for AQA GCSE topics
  • Seneca Learning: Provides overviews, recall quizzes and revision for AQA GCSE topics
  • Youtube Link: Revision for Germany
  • Youtube Link: A guide for how to answer the exam questions on the GCSE Germany paper
  • Youtube Link: A series of videos about the Elizabethans. Tailored to the AQA GCSE specification.
  • Youtube Link: A series of videos about Germany: Democracy to Dictatorship. Tailored to the AQA GCSE specification. 
  • Youtube Link: A series of videos covering Health and the People. Tailored to the AQA GCSE specification.

Faculty Assessment & Feedback Policy

Please find a copy of the Faculty Assessment and Feedback policy below. Teachers in the faculty subject areas will follow this policy when assessing students learning and providing feedback.

Key Words for Year 7 History

Key TermDefinition
Anglo-SaxonsPeople who migrated to England from parts of central Europe from the fifth century.
Anti-semiticPrejudice against Jewish people.
MigrationMovement of people from one place (or country) to another.
PersecutionHostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.
HuguenotA French Protestant of the 16th and 17th centuries.
EmpireGroup of areas ruled over by one person.
IndependenceA nation’s freedom to make its own decisions.
VikingsPeople who originated from Denmark and Norway who raided England from the 8th century.
NormansThe North-men who were originally Vikings and settled in northern France.
CatholicThe universal Church under the rule of the Pope in Rome.

Key Words for Year 7 Geography

Key TermDefinition
Physical FeaturesCharacteristics of a landscape which has been formed by natural processes.
Human FeaturesCharacteristics of a landscape which have been made by people.
Grid referencesFour or Six-Figure numbers which indicate a location on an Ordnance Survey map.
Contour linesLight orange/brown lines on an Ordnance Survey map that indicate changes in the height of land.
DiversityThe state of being diverse – including people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation etc.
Population PyramidA graph showing the breakdown of population by gender and age at a given point in time in a particular place.
Ageing PopulationWhen a country has an increasing median (average) age because of declining birth rates and rising life expectancy.
RefugeesA person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.
International MigrationA person who has moved from one country to another.
Internal MigrationA person who has moved from one area to another within a country.

Key Words for Year 7 Philosophy, Religion & Ethics

Key TermDefinition
Worldview  A collection of attitudes, values, stories and expectations about the world around us, which inform our every thought and action. 
Religion  A particular system of faith and worship.
Philosophy  A theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.
Theism  Belief in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe.  
Analogy  A comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.
Truth  That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
Covenant  An agreement.
Pesach  Jewish term for the Passover Festival.  
Torah  (In Judaism) the law of God as revealed to Moses and recorded in the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Pentateuch).  
Anti-Semitism  Hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people.

Key Words for Year 8 History

Key TermDefinition
VietcongCommunist guerrilla movement in Vietnam.
GuerrillaType of warfare that relies on surprise raids and sabotaging communication and supply lines.
CommunismPolitical ideology which promotes the common ownership of industry and production with no private owners.
ContainmentUS policy of attempting to stop the spread of communism.  
Domino TheoryIdea that if one country fell to communism others would follow, like toppling dominos.
Draft dodgerSomeone who tries to avoid being called up into the armed forces.
MassacreThe killing of a large number of people at the same time in a violent and cruel way.
NapalmChemical weapon that sticks to surfaces and burns at high temperatures.
PropagandaInformation, especially of a biased or misleading nature used to promote a political cause or point of view.
United NationsInternational organisation to promote peace, security and co-operation.

Key Words for Year 8 Geography

Key TermDefinition
PlaceA location that has areas to interact and special meanings to different people.
ConflictA verbal or physical dispute between people, groups or countries caused by tensions between the groups
Scramble for AfricaA period of time (1876-1914) where European powers took over most of the nations in Africa.
Natural ResourcesMaterials/substances that can be found in nature which can be developed and exploited for money.
GlobalisationThe increasing links between countries around the world as a result of the movement of goods, services, and money.  
Global ShiftThe term given to the world-wide change of production (manufacturing), moving to South East Asia.
Balance of tradeThe difference between the good/services a country exports and the goods/services a country imports
Fast fashionA term first coined by retailers to encapsulate how fashion trends move rapidly from the catwalk to the store.  
Transnational CorporationsCompanies that operate in more than one country – GAP, McDonalds and Apple are all examples.  
Cultural homogenisationAn aspect of cultural globalization, listed as one of its main characteristics, and refers to the reduction in cultural diversity.  

Key Words for Year 8 Philosophy, Religion & Ethics

Key TermDefinition
Dharma  The nature of reality regarded as a universal truth taught by the Buddha; the teaching of Buddhism.
Idol  A person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.
Monotheistic  Relating to or characterized by the belief that there is only one God.
Polytheistic  Relating to or characterized by belief in or worship of more than one god.
Trimurti  In Hinduism, the triad of the three gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva
Puja  The act of worship.
Samsara  The cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound.  
Karma  (In Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
Enlightenment  A European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasising reason and individualism rather than tradition.
Dukkha  Dukkha commonly translated as “suffering”, “pain,” or “unhappiness,” is an important concept in Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism.

Extra Curricular

As a Faculty we offer an extraordinary extra-curricular programme that takes our students beyond the curriculum.  We offer many clubs and trips which give our students rich cultural experiences outside of the classroom.  Our extra-curricular activities include the Magistrates Court Competition, the Bar Mock Trial Competition, the Family Court Competition, Eco schools Satellite Group, Youth SACRE Satellite Group, the Holocaust Memorial Ambassadors group, Black History club, History Club and Philosophy club.

We also offer many trips.  The History Team takes all Year 7 students to Warwick Castle and Year 11 students to different historical places such as, The Globe theatre, Hardwick Hall and National Maritime Museum.  There have also been visits to the Battlefields in France and the Imperial War Museum.  The Geography Team offer fieldwork days and in the past students have visited Bournemouth, Birmingham and conducted local studies here in Milton Keynes.  Our GCSE students have the opportunity to attend residential trips to Berlin (History Y10) and Barcelona (Geography Y10).  Our GSCE Philosophy students visit the British Library to take part in the sacred texts workshop, the British Museum to explore the galleries of European History, Islamic civilization and Ancient Indian civilization. They will also visit St. Paul’s Cathedral and Regent’s Park Mosque and get the opportunity to attend Philosophy conferences in Cambridge or Oxford.

In the Sixth Form, Geography students go to Birmingham and St Margaret’s Bay for fieldwork opportunities in Year 12. Year 13 students have a residential trip to the Lake District to complete their coursework. Philosophy and Ethics students will attend academy conferences in Oxford and Cambridge every year to listen to renown scholars and get the opportunity to meet and engage in debates with students from some of our most prestigious private schools in the country.