Curriculum Intent


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

— Marcus Garvey


History at NUSA is an academic subject rich in powerful knowledge of global, national, and local events which have shaped the social, political, economic, and cultural world around us. The pursuit of History at NUSA broadens our student’s understandings of the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change over time and its links to modern society as well as unravel the diversity within society and the relationships between different groups. History allows pupils to interlink the challenges of the present with those of the past and in doing so immerse themselves within the cultural capital of time.

Powerful knowledge of History ensures students are given the opportunity to become more confident, creative, resilient and critical thinkers. Through the critical evaluation of contemporary sources and historian’s interpretations, students are given powerful over their knowledge. Students will have the confidence to undertake self-directed learning and pose their own questions, and to formulate their own opinions.

Curriculum features

Students studying History will be equipped with second order concepts, including; change and continuity, cause and consequence, significance, similarity and differences. With these skills students will be able to analyse, explain and understand the past, whilst also developing transferable skills helping them to become well rounded individuals. Through the development of the language of the past, students become effective communicators of the present. Students study a wide range of historical periods from medieval to modern day, and study the past from a variety of standpoints and to make connections and comparisons over time. Throughout both key stages, spaced recall and retrieval practice increases student’s confidence with powerful knowledge. At KS4 students develop a greater depth of powerful knowledge and skill, building on the skills and foundation of KS3.

As a UCL Beacon School for Holocaust Education, NUSA and the History department are proud to currently be the only school currently within Nottinghamshire that holds this status. As a result, we are committed to ensuring pupils receive an outstanding level of Holocaust education, which will then be embedded across the whole school curriculum through well-developed cross-curricular links. Our role and duty as a Beacon School is to promote and raise awareness of the Holocaust, not only within the community we serve but across the trust that we are part of.

The History department at NUSA also works closely with our FPU (Deaf Base Unit) to ensure that deaf awareness of the past and present is not only embedded within our curriculum but is shared with other schools. Our deaf pupils as a result have become the face of deaf awareness at the National Justice Museum and have made it as far as Sweden for a conference on inclusivity in international museums. The History department also recently shared a blog with UCL on raising deaf awareness through history which was shared on a national scale and shared best practice within our curriculum.


The History department at NUSA are committed to enriching the lives of our young historians through a broad range of social and historical experiences. Over the past year our young historians have engaged in some unique experiences. Last year we received a special invite by the National Justice Museum to become their Kids in Museums Takeover day school, as a result our pupils from NUSA became museum exhibitionists with their artwork created that day put on display in a national public exhibition. We are proud to have created such special and unique links with such a prestigious national museum within our city. NUSA also received an invite from Nottingham Castle to be the first secondary school to trial out the new castle facilities, providing pupils with a unique experience while enabling them to contribute towards our city’s heritage provisions. As part of our UCL Holocaust Beacon School status, we have had the privilege of taking part in a national project led by Royal Wootton Bassett Academy. The project centres around the BBC documentary led by Robert Rinder (Judge Rinder) “The Holocaust, My Family and Me”, with our pupils having the opportunity to hear from Robert Rinder and fellow guests from his documentary. NUSA will be playing a future roll in this project as well. Further to this, we are also fully committed to working with the Holocaust Education Trust in allowing our pupils to hear from Holocaust survivors for as long as that remains possible to do so. These opportunities are so powerful in raising levels of empathy and the values of life amongst the pupils we teach in the History department.

Curriculum Journey


“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?”

— Michael Palin


At NUSA we want to develop student geographers who are fascinated by the world and its people and are curious and inspired to know much more about the physical and human elements of our planet. NUSA geographers will be able to identify, describe and assess the impact of geographical phenomenon at a variety of scales. The students will learn how to develop and effectively use a range of numerical, graphical and cartographical skills to represent geographical phenomenon. In today’s world, students need to be able to discuss the impact that human actions have on the environment and people and have the relevant skills to justify decisions to improve or manage these geographical issues. We want our students to evaluate the range of options used to manage geographical phenomenon and to be able to consider, understand and critique a range of different stakeholders in a variety of geographical contexts. As humans, we need to make reasoned judgements over the effectiveness and future impacts of human actions on the world around us and our purpose is to give our students all the skills to do this.

Curriculum features

At NUSA we will equip our students with rich and powerful knowledge, resources and skills, that they will need to enable them to become great geographers and develop a love of geography. Successful learners in geography will develop an enquiring mind that breeds curiosity, the ability to have and show empathy, the desire to be a humanitarian and a deep interest in the living world and its welfare. Our curriculum is:

  • Knowledge rich:
    Carefully selected and sequenced knowledge so that our pupils build their knowledge over time. This knowledge has been especially chosen to complement and suit the cultural background of our pupils, so that it challenges and deepens their understanding of the world.
  • Skills rich:
    To be a great geographer, pupils need a wide array of tools to help them understand the world around them. In our curriculum we provide lots of opportunities for pupils to observe, record, present, analyse both numerical data and textural, pictorial and statistical information and apply what they have learnt about their world.

In addition to lessons, pupils have several opportunities to develop their geographical understanding outside the classroom. Fieldwork promotes first hand geographical knowledge and understanding by closing the divide that separates the classroom environment from the real world. Students will have the opportunity to visit such places as Nottingham, Lincoln, The Peak District The Jurassic Coast and London.

Students are also encouraged to take advantage of additional activities outside their lessons. These will include Key Stage 3 and 4 masterclasses, geo-literacy drop in workshops, flipped homework and research projects and Geographical Society and Nottingham University lectures.

Curriculum Journey


“The aim of Religious Education is that pupils will know about and understand a range of religious worldviews. They will express ideas and insights of their own into the significant human questions which religions address, gaining and deploying the skills needed to study religion.”

— Nottingham SACRE 2020


Philosophy and Ethics (RE) at NUSA focuses upon enriching the lives of young people with powerful knowledge and oracy skills which enable them to be global citizens of the present and the future. As an ethnically and religiously diverse school, we strive to empower our pupils with a broad range of religious, social and cultural knowledge and provide them with experiences and opportunities to ensure inclusivity across the school. Pupils will be given the opportunity to engage in debates, to question ethical situations around the world and have an environment in which they can ask thought provoking questions of the world in which we live. By studying the six major world religions, our pupils develop a broad understanding of how cultures and societies around the world have grown and developed as well as how they compare to each other. As a result, pupils are then able to apply their knowledge and understanding to ethical and philosophical theories and debates which are also embedded throughout the Philosophy and Ethics and RE curriculum.

Curriculum features

Throughout our KS3 curriculum, our pupils embark on a journey of discovery and curiosity as they study the major world religions and current affairs. During year 7 our pupils study the foundations of Christianity and its position in the modern world. Pupils will develop a sound understanding of the power of religion in both the past and present, which in turn develops cross-curricular links with their historical studies in year 7 of the power of the medieval church. Following their study of Christianity, pupils begin their journey into the study of Judaism. Pupils will study the Five Pillars and begin to compare the beliefs of Judaism to other religions around the world. The foundation knowledge of Judaism also provides pupils with powerful knowledge to access the UCL Beacon School content for our Holocaust education in history during year 9. Finally, pupils complete their year 7 studies with the study of Islam, allowing pupils to understand the beliefs of one of the biggest religions on the planet and the impact it has had upon cultures and societies both at home and abroad.

Year 8 begins by revisiting and interleaving with the year 7 studies through the topics of the Old Testament and the beliefs of how the universe was formed. Pupils are able to engage with and question the theories of those who follow a religion and those who question the existence of a God/Gods. Pupils then begin to apply religion to culture through the study of places of worship and religious art. Once again creating cross curricular links with their art studies at NUSA. As a result, pupils will develop a greater appreciation of the places of worship they visit and the cultural experiences they may have in life. Pupils end their year 8 studies with the study of Buddhism, building upon their prior knowledge of other world religions and comparing it to Buddhist beliefs.

Year 9 begins with the story of vocation, cohesion and the concept of a multi-faith society, enabling pupils to question their role in society and to develop their understanding of how they can be important global citizens. Moral issues in RE follow, with pupils questioning whether there is such thing as a just war, the role of crime and punishment and the ongoing threat of terrorism. Pupils will apply their knowledge of religion to these principles and ask how religion can begin to address some of the key problems within our world. Finally, year 9 completes their major religions studies with Hinduism and Sikhism and ask what values and morals can be applied to their own lives and the world around them.


At NUSA we are proud of our culture and have recently included whole school events to celebrate our individual differences and religious beliefs. Our assemblies celebrate the cultures and religious faith days within our school and our teachers seek every opportunity to enrich pupils’ lives with cultural capital linked to religion and philosophy and ethics. We are striving as a department to not only educate children about the major religions but to also bring those religious experiences into the classroom and provide pupils with the opportunities to engage with faith leaders and to visit the places of worship within our community and city.

Curriculum Journey

June 2024


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