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Welcome to the Humanities Faculty. We are a growing and successful faculty teaching History, Geography, Religious Education, Sociology and Leisure and Tourism. The curriculum is delivered throughout the school and to all Key Stages. Our team comprises of a Head of Faculty, Head of Geography, Head of History, Head of Religious Education and Head of Sociology who are ably supported by Curriculum Support staff in a team of twenty-three teachers. The faculty has a strong track record in supporting PGCE and GTP students in successfully completing teacher training as well as providing pre-PGCE placements for prospective teachers.

The number of students choosing History, Religious Studies and Geography at KS4 has been consistently high for a number of years and we expect this to continue. From Year 9, all students will study a core GCSE Humanities offer of either Religious Studies or Leisure and Tourism. A-Level numbers have also been growing year on year in all subjects, which is evidence of the success of our students and testament to the hard work of all teaching staff in the faculty. Many students continue with Humanities subjects at university, with a number applying to Oxford and Cambridge.

The Foundation Level curriculum (Y7 and 8) is now well connected to KS4 learning and will be assessed on a new scale from 1-9. Year 9s will start the GCSE course and build upon the skills and knowledge that they have acquired from the Foundation Level.

The aim for the faculty over the next year is to build on the already high quality of teaching and learning. There will be a particular focus on high quality feedback for students and allowing the students to improve their work. Numeracy and literacy are thoroughly embedded throughout all four subjects.

Mr M Sutton (Head of Faculty)



At the foundation level year 7 will have three lessons over the two week period and year 8 will have one lesson per week. The topics that we study at year 7 are Poles Apart a look at the North Pole and Antarctica, Map skills, Tropical Rainforests, Settlement, Extreme weather and an independent study on China and India. In year 8 students study European migration, Rivers and Flooding, Earthquakes, Volcanoes and an independent study on the Middle East and Russia.

At KS4, Year 10 and Year 11 are studying the OCR B specification. The course gives an broad overview of the human and physical processes in our world, from the local to global scale. Physical modules include: Rivers, Coasts, and Natural Hazards. Human modules include: Population, Settlement, Economic Activity and Development. Students also complete a 2000 word fieldwork focus write up during Year 11. Our Year 9s are embarking on the new, AQA Geography GCSE, which is still subject to accreditation. Similar in many ways to OCR specification, this course seeks to embed more regional Geography and delve deeper into synoptic nature of the places we study. Students will be expected to undertake fieldwork and will sit a separate skills examination instead of the old controlled assessment.

At KS5 we are studying the AQA specification and we look at both the physical and human geography in equal amounts from modules like Tectonic hazards to the emergence of World cities across the globe. Students have the opportunity to complete two fieldwork investigations over the two year course, the first going on a fieldtrip to Juniper Hall in Surrey to look at river characteristics of the River Tillingbourne. The second in A2 looks at succession of vegetation in a deciduous woodland in Turkey wood in Amersham.

What skills do students acquire?

Geography is a subject that enables students to describe, explain, analyse and evaluate the world around them in both the physical and human areas that we study. We look at topical issues and evaluate what different groups of people would think about the situation and understand the role of decision makers in shaping our own environment. Geography will strengthen students extended writing skills and how they support their points in these written pieces. It will also strengthen students’ ability to interpret and analyse graphs, maps, photos, models, and how to write up a geographical investigation.

Are there any enrichment opportunities?

Fieldwork trips currently run to Box Hill and also Amersham Field study centres for Geography. In the past we have run enrichment trips to Iceland and to China.



At Foundation Level, Year 7 students have three lessons over two weeks and in Year 8 students have one lesson per week. The topics that we currently study at Foundation Level are diverse to engage and inspire but skills required at GCSE are also developed and embedded. In Year 7 students study the Romans, Norman Conquest, Black Death, English Reformation, Slavery and English Civil War, as well as a student-led Local History Project. In Year 8 students study European migration, Rivers and Flooding, Earthquakes, Volcanoes and an independent study on the Middle East and Russia.

At KS4 we are studying the new AQA GCSE History specification covering a period study, thematic study, wider world depth study and a British depth study that includes the historic environment. The topics studied include: Conflict and tension, 1918–1939; Russia, 1894–1945: Tsardom and communism; Health and the people: c1000 to the present day; and an aspect of British History between 1066 and 1685.

At KS5 we are studying the new OCR A Level History A specification covering: England 1547–1603: the Later Tudors; Democracy and Dictatorships in Germany 1919–1963; Civil Rights in the USA 1865–1992 and a 3,000-4,000 topic based essay arising from independent study.

What skills do students acquire?

Students develop key learning skills in History as well as extending their knowledge and understanding of specified key events, periods and societies in local, British, and wider world history. They develop as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers; being able to reach substantiated conclusions. Analysis and evaluation are built in to the subject and developed throughout. They also acquire the ability to ask relevant questions about the past, to investigate issues critically and to make valid historical claims by using a range of sources. They learn how and why different interpretations have been constructed and understand how accuracy and reliability affects utility.

Are there any enrichment opportunities?

We have run enrichment trips to Hampton Court Palace and the WW1 Battlefields.


Religion and Philosophy

All students study one hour a week in the foundation stage looking at a variety of topics including ‘Who is God?’ and ‘What role should religion play in today’s world?’ Our topics are to prepare students for their KS4 studies and investigate key ideas of religious and ethical study.

In Key Stage 4 all students study a Core Humanities programme with the majority of the cohort following a Full Course RS with Edexcel specification B which will be examined in Year 11. The curriculum looks at different units from either a Christian or Muslim perspective, including ‘Marriage and the Family’, ‘Peace and Conflict’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’.

At Key Stage 5 we have a growing cohort studying OCR Philosophy and Ethics. The course covers philosophical ideas ranging from ‘Arguments for the existence of God’ to the ‘Problem of Evil’ and ethical theories such as ‘Natural Law’ and ‘Kantian Ethics’.

What skills do students acquire?

In December 2014 the work of the RS Department was recognised nationally with the award of the RE Quality Mark which identifies outstanding teaching and learning in RS. As a result, students acquire a diverse range of skills through their study of Religion, most notably the development of students’ analytical and evaluation skills. As their educational career progresses, the skill of analysis becomes increasingly important in many of their other subjects too and Religious Studies helps to prepare students for this. The ability to justify their personal opinion, take part in debates and show empathy for others’ views are other essential skills that this subject enhances.

Are there any enrichment opportunities?

External specialists including a group called R.E. Inspired and a Buddhist nun come to the school to enhance students’ understanding of religion in the modern day. In addition, we have guest speakers from the Christian and Muslim faith who hold question and answer sessions to enhance students’ understanding of the complexity of religious belief. At KS5 there have been opportunities to attend conferences in Oxford led by renowned scholars in the field of Philosophy.



Sociology is the most popular subject option in our sixth form. We are very proud that many students wish to study Sociology, and that they complete their course having thoroughly enjoyed it. We follow the AQA specification. Students study a range of units which provide them with an insight into how human behaviour and human societies can be understood. The study of the family as an institution addresses issues such as how population trends have changed over time, how gender roles and relationships among modern couples have changed and how patterns of marriage and divorce can be understood. The study of education addresses issues such as how gender, social class and ethnic differences in educational achievement can be explained, and how the government are currently shaping the education system in order to ensure that it is fit for purpose. In Beliefs in Society issues such as what makes some people join sects and cults, and why patterns of church attendance have declined over time are explored. Criminology, Crime and Deviance explores why 80% of known criminals are male, why people join criminal gangs and how punishment can be most effective.

What skills do students acquire?

Students acquire a range of skills in studying Sociology. As well as developing their knowledge and understanding of sociological theory and research, they are trained to apply what they know to contemporary news events and social changes in society. Their analytical skills are developed, encouraging them to present arguments and make informed judgements about what research is trying to highlight. They are also trained to evaluate the strengths and limitations of different sources of data and information so that their true value can be understood.

Are there any enrichment opportunities?

Students who study Sociology are encouraged to pay a visit to Reading Crown Court, spending time in the public viewing gallery observing how the criminal justice system operates. There have also been opportunities for guest speakers to come in to school to discuss their own sociological research in the field of education, as well as inspirational speakers of religion and beliefs.

Maiden Erlegh School