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The John Bentley School

An Outstanding Centre For Learning


Humanities at The John Bentley School is all about people - their past, present and future. As a faculty we all believe in the power of knowledge and our key aim is to equip students with not only a breadth of knowledge about their world, but also with the core skills needed to progress and an enthusiasm to wish to develop them.

At KS3 Humanities is taught as three subjects – history, geography and religious studies.  At KS4 we offer a wider range of subjects, and again expand  at post 16 to many specialisms so all students are given the opportunity to develop and succeed in their chosen area of study.

We believe that learning doesn't end in the classroom and we have an extensive programme of visits and fieldtrips to complement our studies. Recently we have taken groups to Berlin, Paris, Ypres, London, Devon, Dorset, Iceland and Morocco.


The course has been designed to give students an opportunity to build upon skills they've learned at KS3, while also studying a variety of exciting periods of history.  During the course students also have the chance to develop your written and oral skills, discussing topics, producing presentations and role-playing some fascinating moments in history.  The examining body state that a history course will help students “...develop a variety of skills such as interpretation, analysis, evaluation, communicating information… that will be useful in a wide range of jobs or in a further study of the subject”.   Studying history enables students to develop a knowledge and understanding of past events as they explore the key features of past events, themes or periods.

Students will develop an understanding of a thematic study focused upon the development of Crime and Punishment from 1000 to present day, with a particular focus on the development of policing during the time of Jack the Ripper.  They will also study in depth the reigns of King William I as a period of British history of great change.  In contrast to this is the study of the settlement of the American West during the 19th century.  Finally, the study of Weimar and Nazi Germany will build upon previous knowledge to consider not only the facts but also opinions and representations of the period.  This GCSE is assessed through three examinations in year 11, so teaching throughout KS4 will focus not only on the development of knowledge, but also the skills needed to put forward clear and balanced opinions, and interpret historical sources with confidence.


In Geography GCSE students study a variety of both human and physical units.  Students will, by the end of the course, be able to use a variety of skills and techniques that are transferable to other subjects and looking forward also in the work place.  There is an emphasis on fieldwork within the course and students are expected to complete fieldwork looking at themes from both human and physical units.  Students who study Geography are able to understand and consider the world around us and how current events will shape the future of our planet.  They are able to consider how landforms develop and the management that is required of a variety of landscapes. 

In Physical Geography students will study the challenge of Natural Hazards, where they will consider how to manage the issues of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and look at the interactions between humans and the physical environment.  They will focus upon coastal and river processes and the issues of flooding within both these environments and consider what can be done to manage these.  Finally, we will travel across vast distances around the world to consider different ecosystems from the cold tundra of the North to the Tropical Rainforests of South America.

Human Geography units will focus upon urban issues and their challenges such as sustainable transport and the issues of shanty towns in poorer countries.  We will look at the ever changing topic of the economic world and consider how countries grow and develop over time and what factors allow for this to happen.  Finally, we will look at the ever growing issue of resource management and look at how water as a resource might one day lead to wars being fought over it. 

Geography at the school is aimed at developing students sense of wonder and excitement in the world around us while ensuring students have the skills and knowledge to go onto further study. 


According to AQA “GCSE Citizenship Studies has the power to motivate and enable young people to become thoughtful,  active citizens.”

The aim of the GCSE is to empower students with the knowledge of issues in the UK and how this is affected by world issues so that students can gain a deeper understanding of issues that will affect them as them move into adulthood and become more active participants in society.

The main aims of the course are to teach students knowledge of democracy, government and law, and help them to develop skills to create sustained and reasoned arguments, present various viewpoints and plan practical citizenship actions to benefit society.  They will also gain the knowledge and ability to critically analyse the information that they will face in everyday life and be able to recognise bias, critically evaluate argument, weigh evidence and look for alternative interpretations and sources of evidence, all of which are essential skills valued by higher education and employers.

The course aims to encourage young people to be present and future citizens taking a full and active part in issues that affect society by giving them knowledge of how a society operates and functions and its underlying values.  As AQA states, the theme of the course is ‘How citizens can try to make a difference’.

To support this aim there are three content themes

  1. Life in modern Britain, Life in modern Britain looks at the make-up and dynamics of contemporary society, what it means to be British, as well as the role of the media and the UK’s role on the world stage.  This requires the students to look at the British Parliament as well as the role of the EU, The UN and other international institutions
  2. Rights and responsibilities.  Rights and responsibilities, looks at the nature of laws, rights and responsibilities within the UK and has a global aspect due to the nature of international laws, treaties and agreements by which the UK abides.
  3. Politics and participation.  Politics and participation, aims to give the student, through an understanding of the political process, the knowledge and skills necessary to understand how to resolve issues, bring about change, and how the empowered citizen is at the heart of our society.


GCSE Business Studies will give students an introduction into the world of business.  The course starts by looking at the process of setting up and running a small successful business and introduces students to the key topics such as enterprise, marketing and finance.  The course progresses to study how businesses grow and the effects that external influences can have on business success.  Every opportunity is taken to apply the theory to real life businesses such as Apple, Amazon, McDonalds, Aldi and Walkers.

Students will develop an understanding of how businesses work and what will be expected of them in the workplace.  This will promote their life and employability skills too, such as team work, problem solving and financial awareness.  In addition to this students will also develop an understanding of how the economy works and the role of the Government.  There will be opportunities to visit local and national businesses and conduct local research as well as analysing national data and statistics to appreciate how the theory works in practice.

Business Studies is all about the real world beyond school and gives students an understanding of the role of the consumer, employees, industry as well as Government. It is an extremely stimulating subject, which is both relevant and academically challenging and so students must be prepared to work hard to learn the language of business. The subject is also a good base for further study in the Sixth Form; is relevant for all careers choices and helps to develop key employability skills.

In Year 11 we are currently following the legacy A*-G GCSE from AQA.

From September 2017 Year 10 students are following the revised 9-1 GCSE from Edexcel.


The Edexcel GCSE Business Studies is made up of two themes.  Each is examined separately with a 90 minute exam and each is equally weighted at 50% of the overall grade.

Theme 1 comprises five topic areas:

  • Topic 1.1 Enterprise and entrepreneurship – students are introduced to the dynamic nature of business in relation to how and why business ideas come about. They also explore the impact of risk and reward on business activity and the role of entrepreneurship.
  • Topic 1.2 Spotting a business opportunity – students will explore how new and small businesses identify opportunities through understanding customer needs and conducting market research. They will also focus on understanding the competition.
  • Topic 1.3 Putting a business idea into practice – this topic focuses on making a business idea happen through identifying aims and objectives and concentrating on the financial aspects.
  • Topic 1.4 Making the business effective – students will explore a range of factors that impact on the success of the business, including location, the marketing mix and the business plan.
  • Topic 1.5 Understanding external influences on business – students are introduced to a range of factors, many of which are outside of the immediate control of the business, such as stakeholders, technology, legislation and the economy. Students will explore how businesses respond to these influences.

Theme 2 comprises a further five areas:

  • Topic 2.1 Growing the business – students are introduced to methods of growth and how and why business aims and objectives change as businesses evolve. The impact of globalisation and the ethical and environmental questions facing businesses are explored.
  • Topic 2.2 Making marketing decisions – students will explore how each element of the marketing mix is managed and used to inform and make business decisions in a competitive marketplace.
  • Topic 2.3 Making operational decisions – this topic focuses on meeting customer needs through the design, supply, quality and sales decisions a business makes.
  • Topic 2.4 Making financial decisions – students will explore the tools a business has to support financial decision making, including ratio analysis and the use and limitation of a range of financial information.
  • Topic 2.5 Making human resource decisions – growing a business means that decisions relating to organisational structure, recruitment, training and motivation need to be made to influence business activity. These aspects are considered in this final topic.


The course is divided into two components:

Component Group 1 – Beliefs and teachings & Practices of two religions

Students are required to study two major world religions. The focus of study for each religion is on ‘Beliefs and teachings’ and ‘Practices’. The two religions to be studied are Christianity and Hinduism.

Component Group 2 – Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a religious perspective

Students will study different philosophical and ethical arguments and their impact and influence in the modern world from the perspective of Christianity.

This is divided into four themes of study:

  • Relationships and families; religious teachings about the nature and purpose of families in the 21st century, sex, marriage, cohabitation and divorce. Issues related to the nature and purpose of families; roles of men and women; equality; gender prejudice and discrimination
  • The existence of God, gods and ultimate reality; and ways in which God, gods or ultimate reality might be understood; through revelation, visions, miracles or enlightenment
  • Religion, peace and conflict; violence, war, pacifism, terrorism, just war theory, holy war; the role of religion and belief in 21st century conflict and peace making; the concepts of justice, forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Belief and non belief; dialogue within and between religions and non-religious beliefs; how those with religious and non-religious beliefs respond to critiques of their beliefs including the study of a range of attitudes towards those with different religious views – inclusivist, exclusivist and pluralist approaches.

Component 1: Beliefs and teachings and Practices will be examined through one 2 hour paper with one hour per religion.

Component 2: Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a religious perspective  will be examined through one 2 hour paper with 30 minutes per theme.

Please note: This course also supports the delivery of the Statutory Requirements for Religious Education at Key Stage 4.  There requirements will also me met through assemblies, PSHE and in subject areas.