History Department Information

History is increasingly becoming a popular option at GCSE with approximately half the cohort of the current Year 10 and 11 picking the subject and a very high percentage choosing it for 2016-17.

We put our high level of recruitment down to an exciting, engaging and challenging Key Stage Three curriculum, which opens up our pupils’ young minds to the curiosity of the past and encourages them to study it further at GCSE and A-Level. Our history teachers pride themselves on their subject mastery and of instilling a love of studying the past. We have also worked on projects with English Heritage and made trips to Ypres in Belgium to the First World War battle sites and to Auschwitz. 

Year 7 pupils begin their history course with the core basics of how to use sources as evidence, which we do with our first unit: What is History? The Mystery of the skeletons. Here, our pupils explore what happened to the Durotridges by examining a series of sources, in which they test their initial hypothesis before writing an essay. Year 7 then focus on Medieval England with a focus on: 

  • The Battle of Hastings & The Norman consolidation of power 
  • King John and Magna Carta, 1215 
  • Consequences of the Black Death of 1348-50 
  •  Peasants Revolt, 1381 

Homework & Assessment: Pupils complete projects and specific assessments based on the key skills associated with each unit. 

Year 8 learn about the development of Britain as a unitary state, starting with the reign of the Tudors, with a focus on how the Tudor monarchs dealt with the political, religious, economic and external threats to the kingdom. Then, pupils study: 

  • Why did the English kill their king in 1649? 
  • The Industrial Revolution 
  • Britain’s transatlantic slave trade & abolition in the British Empire 
  • British Empire 

Homework & Assessment: Pupils complete projects and specific assessments based on the key skills associated with each unit. 
Year 9 learn about the 20th century beginning with Europe’s decent into the First World War, in which pupils learn how to evaluate a variety of historical interpretations based on evidence. Then, pupils study: 

  • The Battle of the Somme - as a depth study 
  • Why did democracies fail in Europe in the interwar years? 
  • Britain and the Second World War – experience of the Blitz 
  • The Holocaust 


  • Year 10 (current): Pupils study the Cold War, 1945-75 (including origins, Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam) and Germany, 1918-45. (Total value 45%) 
  • Year 11 (current): Pupils complete their Controlled Assessment (worth 25%) on American Society in Change, 1945-75 and British Depth Study, 1939-75 (worth 30%). 

From September 2016: 

  • Paper 1: Thematic study & the historical environment: Crime & punishment in Britain, c.1000 to present and Whitechapel, c.1870-1900, crime & punishment in the inner city. 
  • Paper 2: Period study & British Depth Study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91 and Tudor Depth Options (Henry VIII and his ministers). 
  • Paper 3: Modern Depth Study: The USA, 1954-75: conflict at home and abroad. 


  • Current Year 12: paper 1: Breadth Study Germany, 1918-89 and paper 2: Italy 1911-45 
  • Current Year 13: (A2 old specification) 

History has been a very popular choice for our Sixth form students. We follow the Edexcel specification. In Year 12 students study Unit One, Option D: A World Divided: Communism and Democracy in the Twentieth Century and Unit 2, Option C: Conflict and Change in 19th and 20th Century Britain. In Year 13, we study Unit 3: Unit 3 

Option D: The Challenge of Fascism, in which students study Germany 1900–45 from Kaiser to Führer. Unit 4 is the coursework unit in which students write a two part essay, 2,000 words each, which we do on the Russian Civil War of the 1920s and on key turning points in Russia’s history from the Emancipation of the Serfs to Khrushchev. We aim to make the learning of all our students a fun, challenging and engaging experience, which will equip them with skills for university.