The Humanities Faculty is proud of its focus on an active and student-centred environment.  Excellent learning is focused on a variety of activities that seek to push the thinking skills of the students.  The move for an integrated Humanities Curriculum in Year 7 and Year 8 has led to a more coherent experience for students whilst the Faculty’s focus on students taking ownership for their own learning has further developed the faculty as a centre for excellent learning.

An independent review of Humanities by an established Ofsted Inspector in January 2014 rated Leadership and Management, Behaviour and Quality of Teaching all as “Outstanding” with Achievement of Students as Good/Outstanding. Excellent GCSE results have consistently placed Humanities at John Masefield in the top 25% of all of school nationally including periods within the top 10%. A-level results also compare well nationally.

The team is made up of specialists in all areas of Citizenship, Geography, History, Psychology and RE and there is a significant focus on the sharing of good practice through mutual observations, discussion and training.

The Humanities Teaching Assistant provides excellent support in lessons, takes groups of students out for an extra focus (whether SEN, focused intervention or higher ability) and offers further help with resources and the learning environment.

Humanities is taught in 6 classrooms located together, 3 of these have interactive whiteboards with the others having digital projectors.  We have 15 computers within the faculty for student research purposes. Psychology is taught exclusively in the JMHS VI form centre. There is also access to computer rooms for specific lessons.

Key Stage 3

The focus in Key Stage 3 is very much on the students being engaged in a number of active learning scenarios where they investigate the relevance and importance of Humanities on their own lives.  Students are encouraged to look at the world around them and analyse how and why the world is the way it is and understand their own role and choices within it.  In Year 7 and 8 each teacher takes responsibility for teaching four humanities subjects to their class; History, Geography, RE and Citizenship

There is a significant focus on literacy in lessons with a regular focus on creative writing and comprehension tasks in the context of Humanities issues. Students are asked to review and improve their approach with support given by teachers.

Assessment is half-termly with an end of year exam that covers four areas; History, Geography, Religious Education and Citizenship. Here the focus is on the process of preparing the students for GCSEs later on and students are coached, prompted and supported in revision skills and exam performance with responsibility for developing a successful technique placed on the student. The emphasis is very much on preparing for the future at an early stage as opposed to the result for its own sake.

Students undertake a homework project for which they take full responsibility. These projects are designed to give the students the opportunity to engage in current affairs and the changing world around them. They are encouraged to research beyond an initial news article and be creative in their methods of presentation.  Students are expected to show Literacy, Numeracy and ICT skills and a major role is to communicate with friends, family, neighbours and the local community in designing and adapting the project.

Key Stage 4

History follow the OCR B (SHP) course at GCSE Geography follow the Edexcel B course, which both have linear exams.  Throughout KS4 there are regular assessments which ensure that students develop their exam skills and are confident in the final exams.

Fieldwork forms an essential part of GCSE Geography and students visit Tewkesbury to investigate ‘how and why drainage basin and channel characteristics influence flood risk for people and property along a river in the UK’ and Hereford to investigate ‘how and why quality of life varies within urban areas’.

Historians visit Ludlow castle as part of ‘History Around Us’ GCSE unit.

We are pleased to offer Btec first award in Travel and Tourism, in addition to our other Humanities courses.  This vocational course allows students to research and explore this expanding industry in terms of its structure, customer service skills and wide range of destinations.  Students are assessed for a series of coursework units and an examination.

All students also take part in discrete RE and Citizenship lessons in Year 9. RE lessons encourage the students to further investigate moral and philosophical issues whilst Citizenship lessons focus on students considering their own place in society and the ways they can both contribute and benefit from it.

Key Stage 5 and AS/A2 Courses

Results at A Level are high at JMHS with a high proportion of A* – B grades.


Geography follows the Edexcel course and students visit Gloucester Quays and a 3 day residential trip Swanage, Dorset as part of their studies.


A-level History follows the OCR A course and includes the opportunity to visit Berlin, Germany as part of their studies.


Psychology is a fascinating subject with many applications to real life. Through the scientific study of human behaviour students learn a range of valuable skills including critical analysis, independent study, research and group work. Psychology is a serious academic subject and is one of the most popular courses studied at degree level. The analytical skills learnt in Psychology are beneficial to any degree course or employment. Psychology is a very popular subject at JMHS and we achieve excellent results that exceed the national average. Psychology follows the AQA course and is offered at AS and A level at JMHS sixth form. Students can either opt for a one year course resulting in an AS qualification or study Psychology for 2 years resulting in an A level qualification. Students are taught together in year 1 regardless of whether they are doing the AS or A level.

Extra Curricular

The Faculty contributes to the success of the whole school extra-curricular programme through:

The organisation and delivery of a Year 9 “Holocaust Memorial Day” • Community Cohesion Projects across Key Stage 3• Yr 8 trip to the Black Country Museum • Teaching Humanities lessons as part of the Year 5 and Year 6 liaison days • Geography Fieldwork trips at GCSE • A-level University research visits for A Level students.

Career Opportunities

There are a wide range of career opportunities that use the transferable skills gained from studying Geography, History and Psychology at A level.  These include Law; Business; Aviation; Engineering; Natural Hazard Research and Management; Medicine (i.e. tropical medicines and VSO work); Town, City and Transport Planning; Property Development; Journalism and Travel Writing; Media and Broadcasting. Any people-centred career; Retail Trade; Management; Teaching; Counselling;  Psychology professions.

Student comments “It really stretches you but it really gives you an interest in the world around us and why we are who we are.” “An interesting, unique insight into things you would never have looked at before.”

 Please direct enquiries to Mrs M Hughes, Faculty Leader – Humanities