Through the study of Geography, students will develop independent enquiry skills. They are encouraged to use these to explore and investigate key issues which affect the modern world through a mixture of human and physical geography. Students develop ICT skills, data handling skills, debating and thinking skills, together with decision making techniques. Students study Geography for two periods a week at key stage 3 and three periods at key stage 4. In year 7, students cover a diverse number of enquiry based topics which range from developing map-reading and atlas skills, to the study of why settlements develop and spread.

In year 8, students study the growth of tourism in Britain and the wider world. They examine a naturally occurring land-form such as Niagara Falls, as well as the water cycle, the course of a river, weather and climate, and environmental issues.

Students engage in an intense study of four different nation states throughout year 9. These include enquiries into the Brazilian rainforests and the Australian Great Barrier Reef; an investigation into Japan and the natural phenomenon of a tsunami; plus a study of Kenya.


Through the study of History, students develop some important skills, such as literacy, analysing sources of information, researching and forming an argument. These vital life and academic skills may open many doors to further and higher education and beyond. It is our desire that students will engage with the subject, asking challenging questions and taking a full and active role in exploring the past in order to enrich their learning. Students study History for two periods a week at key stage 3 and three periods at key stage 4.

In year 7, students will focus on a variety of topics which range from Roman Britain to Medieval England up to the end of the Plantagenet dynasty. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of source analysis and historical investigation as well as chronological understanding.

In year 8, students study early modern British history from the reign of the Tudor dynasty to that of the Stuarts, including a local study of the pilgrim fathers. Students undertake an enquiry-based project and develop their ability to critically analyse sources whilst evaluating how interpretations are formed.

In year 9, students follow British history in the modern period including an analysis of the causes of the First World War to the causes of and impact of the Holocaust. Students also investigate the impact of the Second World War on the Bassetlaw area.

Religious Education

Students will discover how religion is at the centre of global issues and cultural conflicts. They will investigate why religion continues to thrive and the reasons for this despite the threat to religious understanding from new technologies and scientific explanations of the world.

Developing their comprehension of how religious traditions are adaptable, students will discover why contemporary religion has room for scepticism, science, and the secular, which allows it to keep going in our rapidly changing world. Students study Religious Education for one period a week at key stage 3 and two periods at key stage 4.

In year 7, students develop an overall appreciation and comprehension of all the major world religions and the ways they practice and worship. They also examine religious themes of justice, the significance of religion as a cultural denominator and the importance of religion in environmental matters.

Students in year 8 examine concepts such as evil and suffering, the religious arguments associated with animal rights, and the debate over religious explanations of the natural world against those offered by the scientific community. Students also undertake an enquiry into poverty and equality in relation to religious understanding, and explore various festivals of faith.

In year 9, students look at the roles of key individuals and personalities associated with the various faith groups around the world and how they impact on their own religion and world affairs. Students examine how religion helps us to develop an ethical and moral understanding of the world around us.

Clubs and trips

Staff ensure that students have every opportunity to enrich themselves through the study of humanities. There is a wide range of extra-curricular activities both within the academy and externally. There is a Humanities club and a homework club with a regular revision booster sessions that run twice a week from Easter onwards.

Year 12 History students have previously attended two lecture series, one on the early Stuart dynasty and one on Stalinist Russia, while year 13 students visited the University of Sheffield to research their historical enquiries. Year 10 students visited the battlefields of the First World War including Ypres and the Somme, year 9 students visited the Holocaust Centre near Newark, and year 8 students have worked with undergraduate students from the University of Sheffield on the ‘Hand on History’ project. Students have also visited Lincoln Castle to view the Magna Carta and assess the castle defences. In year 11, students have the opportunity to attend GCSE revision and booster clubs running twice a week in the lead up to examinations.

The Religious Studies department runs a regular GCSE revision/booster club which runs once a week from Easter onwards. There is also the opportunity for key stage 3 students to attend a Religious Education club, run by an outside provider. This involves students taking part in fun and engaging games and activities which allow them to consider the role of religion in a number of contemporary situations. The club also offers students the opportunity to work on independent learning projects and enquiries, and explore their own relationship with religion and faith.


GCSE Geography

Exam board: AQA
Course code: 8035
Contact: Mr M James |

This exciting course is based on a balanced framework of physical and human geography. It allows students to investigate the link between the two themes, and approach and examine the battles between the man-made and natural worlds.

Geography is well-respected by universities and employers, as it develops your enquiry, investigation, decision making and problem solving skills. You study amazing, awe-inspiring places in this engaging, fun, and dynamic subject.

What will I study?

  • Living with the physical environment
  • Challenges in the human environment
  • Geographical applications

How will I be assessed?

Two year study period ( plus six months in year 9). Students must have studied the three units over a period of two years before they can sit both examinations and participate in two pieces of fieldwork.

Paper one: living with the physical environment

  • Written exam
  • 1hr 30mins
  • 35% of grade

Paper two: challenges in the human environment

  • Written exam
  • 1hr 30mins
  • 35% of grade

Paper three: geographical applications

  • Written exam
  • 1hr 15mins
  • 30% of grade

A pre-release resources booklet will be made available 12 weeks before the paper three exam.

Course outcomes

1 x GCSE (grades 9-1)

What careers could I pursue?

  • Meteorology
  • Finance
  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Graphic design
  • Surveying
  • Accountancy
  • Transport
  • Conservation
  • Tourism
  • Hotel management

GCSE History

Exam board: Eduqas
Course code: 601/8239/8
Contact: Mr M James |

The structure of the specification is distinctive, giving learners the opportunity to study history in depth and in breadth. The structure of the specification allows students to make a clear distinction between the study of history in the short term and the medium and long term. It provides, therefore, a substantial programme of study. At the same time it actively encourages connections between different periods and eras in history, and as such represents a coherent programme of study.

What will I study?

  • British study in depth: the Elizabethan age, 1558-1603
  • Non-British study in depth: the USA – a nation of contrasts, 1910-1929
  • Period study: the development of the USSR, 1924-1991
  • Thematic study: changes in health and medicine in Britain, c.500 to the present day (with a focus on the village of Eyam)

How will I be assessed?

British study in depth – written examination (1hr)
Non- British study in depth – written examination (1hr)
Period study – written examination (45min)
Thematic study – written examination (1hr 15min)

Course outcomes

1 x GCSE (grades 9-1)

What careers could I pursue?

History provides a platform for a number of career opportunities as the skills you learn are really transferable. It has enabled:

  • Gordon Brown to become Prime Minister
  • Michael Briggs to become a top lawyer (a QC)
  • Sir Stringer to become the CEO of Sony
  • Sacha Baron Cohen to become a comedian
  • Jonathan Ross to become a presenter and journalist

GCSE Religious Education

Exam board: Eduqas
Course code: 601/8879/0
Contact: Mr M James |

Religious Education encourages students to reflect on current ethical issues and philosophical questions such as what happens when we die?, why are we here? and are miracles real? The lessons are engaging and varied but primarily evolve around classroom discussion of the key ethical and moral issues.

What will I study?

Religion, philosophy and ethical studies in the modern world

  • Issues of relationships: family relationships; sexual relationships; marriage; changes in relationships; and issues of equality
  • Issues of life and death: the world, including religious and scientific beliefs; the value of life (humans/animals); beliefs about death and the afterlife; issues of sanctity and quality of life; medical ethics (abortion/euthanasia)
  • Issues of good and evil: good (morality, conscience); evil (natural, moral evil); suffering (causes and type of suffering, work of a charity to alleviate suffering); crime and punishment (aims of punishment, death penalty, work of prison chaplains); forgiveness
  • Issues of human rights: human rights; racial prejudice and discrimination; issues of wealth and poverty; issues of social justice (issues about freedom of beliefs, censorship, extremism, freedom of speech)
  • Religion in 21st century Britain (role of Christianity, diversity of beliefs in the UK, interfaith dialogue)

Study of Christianity

  • Beliefs and teachings: nature of God; creation; Jesus Christ; salvation; the afterlife
  • Practices: forms of worship; sacraments; pilgrimage; the church in the local community; the worldwide church
  • Study of a world faith: Islam
  • Beliefs: Allah; prophethood; angels; the afterlife; the foundations of faith
  • Practices: the five pillars of Sunni Islam; the ten obligatory acts of Shi’a Islam; Muslim practices (declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, giving to charity and pilgrimage); Jihad (greater and lesser); festivals (Id Ul Adha, Id Ul Fitr and Ashura)

How will I be assessed?

Internally by end of module past examination paper questions for each module. External examinations at the end of year 11.

Course outcomes

1 x GCSE (grades 9-1)

What careers could I pursue?

Religious Education provides a platform and skills base for a number of career pathways. The key components of discussions and development of reasoning are valued by many careers and organisations.

Retford Oaks Academy