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Humanities is about people: how people create the world they live in and how the world they live in makes them the people that they are. The faculty incorporates the three subjects of Geography, History and Religious Education at Key Stages 3 and 4. We focus on the students' whole learning experience, encouraging them to learn about issues and to examine their own values and attitudes as individuals in a post-industrial, global and interdependent society. We encourage our students to play an active, well-informed role in the community and prepare them for further education and the world of work.

The three main subjects are taught as separate subjects. Having a Humanities Faculty allows us to share good practice across the subjects and draw on and emphasise the cross curricular links that already exist. All three subjects are popular with FHS students and we have a wealth of extra-curricular activities and trips which take place throughout the year.


Geography is taught as a single subject in all years for students from Year 7 – 11.  It is compulsory in Years 7, 8 and 9, and offered as an option at GCSE.

Year 7

  • Introduction to Geography, Maps & Bristol
  • Tectonic Hazards – Volcanoes
  • Water Issues
  • Flood Hazard UK

Year 8

  • Development, Health and Disease
  • Population Change
  • Africa
  • Amazing Landscapes of UK

Year 9

  • Ends of the Earth
  • Globalisation in The Fashion Industry
  • Sustainable Future
  • Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Key Stage 4: GCSE

At GCSE level students follow the AQA syllabus, which is examined through three written examinations at the end of Year 11. 

The three exams:

  1. Living with the Physical Environment (35% of Final Grade)
    • Theme 1: The Challenge of Natural Hazards
    • Theme 2: Physical Landscapes in the UK
    • Theme 3: The Living World
  1. Challenges in the Human Environment (35% of Final Grade)
  • Theme 1: The Changing Economic World
  • Theme 2: Urban Issues and Challenges
  • Theme 3: The Challenge of Resource Management
  1. Geographical Applications
    • Issue Evaluation
    • Field Work
    • Geographical Skills

The Geography Department is well resourced and, when appropriate, students participate in visits outside the classroom. Trips include Snowdonia National Park, The Eden Project and Bristol CBD.


History is an introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives;

Let us not neglect the opportunity.  ~ Dexter Perkins

History is an incredibly popular and successful subject at FHS. It is taught by teachers who are passionate about the subject and about delivering the curriculum in a fun, interactive and engaging way. We encourage debate between our students and support them to think critically and challenge historical stereotypes.

We largely follow the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3. Some of the topics we teach are:

  • A 1000 years of migration to Britain
  • The Norman Conquest and Medieval life
  • Islamic civilisation in the Middle Ages
  • The Crusades
  • Bristol’s involvement in the Slave Trade
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • The History of Terrorism
  • World War One and the History of Trench Warfare
  • The rise and fall of the British Empire
  • The American Civil War
  • Hitler’s rise to power, the Nazi regime and the Holocaust


A large proportion of FHS students continue studying History at GCSE level; we follow the new AQA History course. Topics include: USA boom and bust (1919-1941), Conflict and Tension in Asia (the Korean and Vietnam Wars), the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and Medicine through time. This is assessed in two exams at the end of Year 11 with each exam making up 50% of the final grade.

Every two years we take members of Year 10 and 11 to Berlin for four days which has always been enormously successful. We also take students to visit parliament in London, various museums and galleries and on various local trips. Our French department to run a very successful annual trip to the WW1 Battlefields in Year 7.

A lack of historical knowledge prevents people from truly understanding the world in which they live.


Religious Education is taught throughout the school from Year 7. There is a compulsory full GCSE course which is completed during Years 9, 10 and 11.

It is a successful department both in its results and growing popularity with the students. Our results have risen over the last four years with our students achieving above the National average in A*-A grades. Our aim is to promote knowledge and understanding of the world faiths together with respect and acceptance for differing life values and doctrines. We see learning outside of the classroom as vital to good R.E. In respect of this, students are given regular opportunities to visit places of worship, participate in various activities and meet representatives from different faith communities.  Religions studied at Fairfield include; Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and as a response to student voice, Rastafari.

At Key Stage 3 we offer trips to a Gurdwara, a Hindu Temple, plus various Places of Worship in London, including St Paul’s Cathedral. In Year 9 we visit the Imperial War Museum, and work closely with a team of experts when we study the Holocaust. Throughout the five years of R.E. at FHS we work with Redland Education Centre who come into school and provide workshops and specialist lessons for difficult or controversial topics.

Key Stage 3

 In Year 7, students study the following topics:

  • What is Identity, Spirituality and Belief?
  • Jewish Philosophy
  • What is it like to be a Muslim in Britain?
  • What is meant by Truth?
  • Why is the Gurdwara so special?
  • What is Hindu Philosophy?

In Year 8, students study the following topics:

  • What does Justice mean to a Christian?
  • How does Buddhism answer ‘Big Questions?’
  • Rastafari, History and Truth – Big Questions
  • Is religion Dangerous?
  • I say, You say, We say – Beliefs expressed through Art
  • Religion and the media

In Year 9, students study the following topics:

  • A History of Anti-Semitism
  • Tibetan Buddhism and Human Rights
  • Authority and scripture
  • Social Harmony - How can religion promote community cohesion
  • Religion and Science      
  • What is Humanism?

Year 10 students begin the full GCSE course in EDEXCEL SPEC B – Beliefs in Action.

The course which studies Christianity and Islam, includes the following topics:

50% Religion and Ethics in Islam

Beliefs in Islam

Living the Muslim Life

Marriage and the Family

Matters of Life and Death

50% Religion Peace and Conflict in Christianity

Beliefs in Christianity

Living the Christianity Life

Crime and Punishment

Peace and Conflict

In Year 11 students complete two 2 hour exams on each of the units.

What do the students think of R.E.?

“I like RE because I love learning about new religions and how they live their day to day life differently to us. For example, Rastafari, I had never heard of Rastafarianism before and it was really interesting learning about it. This is a great subject because it is fascinating and gives you life skills.”



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