Aim: To increase student motivation in Geography, History and Languages at Key Stage 3 in order to improve the uptake at Key Stage 4.

Background: In 2011/12 student motivation in Geography, History and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) was limited and uptake for the examination courses at Key Stage 4 was less than hoped for. New subject leaders in MFL and History were being introduced, as well as a more co-ordinated approach between History and Geography.


Year 1: 2011-2012

  • Schemes of work were revised in all subject areas (first taught in September 2012) with more emphasis on enquiry, activity-based learning and the relevance of enrichment activities to learning programmes
  • Work was done with less able Year 8/9 boys in French through Arsenal F.C. Double Club
  • A Gifted &Talented Residential Weekend for Geographers (Year 9) was introduced
  • Visitors were invited to school for History including a theatre group (Suffragettes) and an author who spoke on military awards
  • Reorganisation of Key Stage 4 Options took place in order to allow more opportunity for students to take the targeted subjects

Year 2: 2012-2013

  • A new Head of Humanities was in place and, with the Head of MFL, attended the 2013 PTI Residential Summer School
  • A new French Exchange was launched (to fit with the Spanish Exchange)
  • Year 9 MFL schemes of work were updated to include units on trench warfare (French) and the Spanish Civil War (Spanish)
  • History schemes of work were revised to have closer links to GCSE requirements, with emphasis on source-based assessment and more in-depth investigation
  • A Geography (Year 9) project on North Sea Tidal Surge was conducted with a local university.

Year 3: 2013-2014

  • Embedding/repeating of the above initiatives
  • Focussed CPD on individualised learning – research and self-study
  • First World War Centenary – Year 9 (whole year group) to Battlefields
  • Year 9 were fully involved in a whole-school production to mark the WW1 Centenary
  • Visiting speaker – a Holocaust survivor spoke at an evening event.

Evidence: Subject take-up, attainment data, attitudinal surveys, lesson observations, student voice.

Impact: Progress was made in these curriculum areas, however this was not fully reflected in the quantitative data collected. From staff and students’ comments, it is clear that they see learning and teaching as having developed over the period of four years and new ideas and activities have been embedded for the future. In an analysis of GCSE outcomes, this was confirmed by RAISEonline school evaluation data which regularly shows that significant progress has been made.

Reflections: The programme was responsible for raising morale and positive attitudes within the staff teams – these remain high. However, we should have established regular and routine stakeholder interviews that would have provided continuity of qualitative evidence throughout the time and thus clearly shown how progress was being made. 

Contact: Chris Seward,