The faculty vision is to be outstanding in everything it does. Humanities are at the forefront of an ever changing world and have a huge responsibility in preparing young people for life.

The Geography, History and Religious Education faculty work together closely to develop pupils’ key understanding of the world around them.

The faculty aims to help pupils grow in their understanding of the world, its past, its present, its people and the links between the three subjects. Children will be inspired to learn about and question what they see around them, broadening their horizons and expectations. We will develop children’s ability to form and express opinions based on reasoning and understanding as well as encouraging respect and tolerance of others.


Geography is concerned with promoting an understanding of the nature of the earth’s surface and, more particularly, the character of places, the complex nature of people’s relationships and interactions with their environment and the importance in human affairs of location and the spatial organisation of human activities.

Geography at Test Valley School is a fun and exciting subject which covers a range of subjects from Natural Hazards to human impact on the planet. Pupils learn to ask challenging questions about both human, physical and environmental geography and are taught to question the sustainability of our actions. It is the intention of the department that pupils who study Geography at school will develop a lifelong interest in the world around them.

Key Stage 3

Year 7Year 8Year 9
  • Rainforest
  • Map work
  • Tribes & Culture
  • Crime
  • Hazards 1 – extreme weather
  • Population
  • Rivers
  • Feeding the world
  • Ice Age
  • Energy
  • Antarctica
  • Hazards 2 – volcanoes & earthquakes
  • Deserts
  • Hazards 3 – Tsunami
  • Why is Africa disconnected?
  • Coral reefs
  • Climate Change
  • Coasts
  • China
  • Buy a Rainforest
  • World Food Day
  • Fairtrade Fortnight
  • Oxfam Unwrapped
  • World AIDS Day

Key Stage 4

WJEC Eduqas GCSE Geography B aims to enable learners to think ‘like a geographer.’ That is to say, learners will develop the skills necessary to conduct framed enquires in the classroom and in the field in order to develop their understanding of specialised geographical concepts and current geographical issues.

Examination BoardWJEC EDUQAS B
Assessment100% Exam

Theme 1: Changing Places – Changing Economies

  • Urbanisation in contrasting global cities
  • Urban and rural processes and change in the UK
  • A global perspective on development issues

Theme 2: Changing Environments

  • Shaping the landscape – coasts and coastal management
  • Shaping the landscape – rivers and river management
  • Weather and climate
  • Climate Change – cause and effect

Theme 3: Environmental Challenges

  • How ecosystems function
  • Ecosystems under threat
  • Water resources and management
  • Desertification

How will pupils be assessed on this course?

Component 1: Investigating Geographical Issues
40% of qualification
Written Examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
Component 2: Problem Solving Geography
30% of qualification
Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
Component 3: Applied Fieldwork Enquiry
30% of qualification
Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

What could pupils go on to do at the end of the course?

A GCSE in Geography opens up most career paths due to the diversity of the course and the variety of learning styles you will develop. Employment opportunities include: Journalism, marketing, architecture, planning, community development, social work, conservation, writer, meteorology etc. More importantly you will hopefully develop a lifelong passion for places around the world.


History at Test Valley has the intent of enabling all pupils to achieve personal excellence in understanding the past that has shaped the world in which they live and develop the historians’ skills of chronological understanding; causation and consequence; source analysis; an ability to track and understand the reasons for change and continuity through time; how events take on significance for societies; and how events become represented and interpreted differently due to the perspective of the writer or recorder of events. In doing so they come to a greater appreciation and understanding of the contemporary world and are equipped to take their place in shaping the future.

Teachers within the department use a wide variety of teaching and learning styles and encourage the development of individual skills and independent learning from the pupils. These key skills are gained through interpreting and evaluating evidence, thinking and structured debate, extended literacy development and the ability to communicate the understanding achieved in a variety of forms.

Pupils are encouraged to work independently and to pursue their own lines of enquiry. Although we have high quality teachers with an excellent breadth of specialist subject knowledge, we want pupils to investigate the mysteries of the past themselves and to form their own opinions about individuals and events, backed up by a strong knowledge of the available evidence.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, pupils study topics based largely on an overview of British History from the Norman Invasion to the present day.

Year 7 includes work on Chronology and Sources before a switch of focus to the Medieval World. Pupils explore interpretations of medieval kings and assess how powerful they were before arriving at the Tudor period and enquiring into The Reformation in England and the actions of Henry VIII. The year concludes with a study of the development of science, technology and art through the period known commonly as the ‘Renaissance’.

In Year 8 pupils continue with British history, looking at the origins and outcomes of the English Civil War. Then they move on to the grime, sewage and slime of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the British Empire, including an examination of the development and subsequent abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade. We end Year 8 by exploring the ‘War to end all wars’ that was the conflict of 1914 – 1918.

We devote Year 9 to the Twentieth Century. Pupils explore the cataclysmic events of the Second World War as well as unpicking some of the key political ideas that impacted on these events. These include Communism, Fascism and Democracy all of which led to the post-war world of uncertainty with the Cold War and the End of the European Empires. The year ends with a study of American culture and society from the 1960s onwards, examining its influence on global culture and the UK in particular.

However, at all times we aim to react to the historical news stories of the day and encourage pupils to find out about key events and individuals as they appear on the news. This promotes a culture of discussion and debate in our classrooms.

Key Stage 4

Examination BoardWJEC EDUQAS
SpecificationGCSE History 9-1
Assessment100% Examination
English BaccalaureateYes

What does a pupil need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

The history course is designed to continue the Year 9 studies of Britain and the Wider World.

Is this course suitable?

Along with learning about our own past, you will be equipped with skills that are required for a wide range of careers and for life. Pupils will be taught to read and evaluate all information to ensure you fully understand not only what is being said, but to judge if it is truthful and to interpret the differing views people have had of the past, including themselves.

What will pupils learn on this course?

Component 1

Conflict and Upheaval: England 1337-1381:

What factors contributed to the outbreak of the 100 Years’ War?

What was the impact of the Black Death?

What factors led to the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381?

Germany in Transition 1918-1939:

What challenges faced the Weimer Republic from the start?

How and why did the Weimar Republic collapse by 1933?

How did Nazi economic and social policies affect Germany to 1939?

What factors led to the outbreak of war in 1939?

Component 2

The Development of the USA 1929-2000:

How was the USA affected by the Depression between 1929-1945?

Why was it difficult for Black Americans to gain equal rights?

How did American society change between 1950 and 2000?

What was the USA’s role in the search for Peace since 1970?

Health and Medicine in Britian c.500 to Present Day

What have been the causes of illness over time?

How have attempts to prevent and treat illness changed over time?

How has medical knowledge and patient care changed over time?

How effective have attempts to improve public health been over time?

How will pupils be assessed on this course?

4 Examination papers 100% of final grade.

What kind of work will pupils need to do outside of lessons?

Home Learning Tasks will be based on exam style questions.

Reading around the subjects through books and online will also be crucial.

What could pupils go on to do at the end of the course?

‘A’ Level History.

Any academic course which involves presenting a well-structured, coherent argument in written form. In Career terms History is an avenue to jobs in Journalism, Law, Politics, Social Services, The Heritage Industry, Policing, Research in any sphere and any job requiring a critical facility and strength in navigating competing views and constructing persuasive arguments based on evidence.

Religious Education

As a department we are eager to encourage empathy with, respect for and appreciation of, the diverse religious and non-religious belief systems that motivate, inspire, encourage and empower so many of the world’s population. We do this believing that such an education into the inner life of people everywhere will foster a greater sense of friendship, peace and community spirit in our pupils.

Key Stage 3

Following the Living Difference 3 Agreed Syllabus for Hampshire, Key Stage Three Religious Studies look at how people’s beliefs and values influence the lives they lead and the choices they make. Pupils in all three year groups receive one hour of Religious Education per week and they have the opportunity to assess their own, as well as others, learning. Assessment for Learning techniques and ‘Thinking Skills’ are highly promoted across the key stage with the aim of developing independent learners who are able to express their own opinions in a reflective manner.

Year 7

  • Introduction to RE
  • Hinduism
  • Christianity
  • Human Rights

Year 8

  • Islam/Islamophobia
  • Philosophy for Children
  • Does God Exist?
  • What does Religion Offer?

Year 9

  • Why Morality?
  • Judaism
  • Jewish responses to the Holocaust
  • Buddhism

Key Stage 4

SubjectReligious Studies
Examination BoardAQA
Assessment100% Exam
English BaccalaureateNo

What do pupils need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

Ideally pupils have completed the Key Stage 3 RE course with enthusiasm and are developing good attributes of reasoning, reflection and resourcefulness.

Is this course suitable?

The course will suit anyone who is interested in the ‘Big Questions’ of life – Why does the universe exist? Why am I here? Why do so many people believe in God? Also it looks at key topics such as war and peace, medical ethics and the role of women within different religions.

What will pupils learn on this course?

Units studied cover the following areas:

  • Paper 1
    • Christianity – beliefs and teachings
    • Christianity – practice
    • Buddhism – beliefs and teachings
    • Buddhism – practices
  • Paper 2
    • Relationships and families
    • Religion and life
    • The existence of God and revelation
    • Religion, Peace and Conflict

How will pupils be assessed on this course?

There is no controlled assessment as the course is examination only, with two 1h 45min papers, each covering four units listed above.

What kind of work will pupils need to do outside of lessons?

Home learning will require expressing the pupil’s own views as well as showing the learning of religious views. There will be some short essay style work as well as reading to be done.

What could pupils go on to do at the end of the course?

This course leads on to a wide range of further study such as criminology, psychology and sociology, and job opportunities such as police, journalism, social work, politics, teaching, nursing and the armed forces.

Additional Information

Parents have a statutory right to withdraw their children from Religious Education lessons if they so wish. If you have any concerns about this, please contact the school so that we can discuss the issues involved and any alternative provision which may be made.