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In an ever changing world it is essential for society to study our past in order to understand the present. A study of History helps us to appreciate our roots, understand the decisions of our ancestors, and make sense of the complex society we live in today. Our curriculum aims to develop in-depth understanding of a range of significant periods of British, European, and World History.

Our curriculum aims to develop a detailed chronological understanding of the past and seeks to avoid the ‘patch-work’ understanding of the past. Through carefully selected modules and units, the department aims to develop our students’ knowledge and understanding of individual cultures, societies, and events, while also helping them to see how these disparate aspects of History are all part of a wider ‘story’.

Additionally we place great emphasis on the development of written expression and essay writing, while also developing the transferable skills of evaluation, analysis, and interpretation.

Key Stage 3

Students in Year 7 study British History including; The Norman Conquests, Medieval Kings, The Tudors and the English Civil War.

Students in Year 8 study Wider World History including; Slavery, WW1, Women’s Suffrage, WW2, the Holocaust and the Cold War.

Key Stage 4

At GCSE Students follow the AQA course.

The key focus of the first paper is understanding the modern world. As industry and technology rapidly modernised in the 19th Century this paper aims to consider how nations coped with this change and how they were affected by the two world wars which took place in the 20th Century. There are two topics within this paper, firstly we will focus on Germany and how it developed from a newly unified state into a democracy, how it coped after the defeat of WW1 and how it came to be ruled by the Nazi dictator; Adolf Hitler. Secondly, we will focus on international relations in the years 1919-1939; how the world re-built after the First World War, how peace was attempted to be kept and why this was ultimately unsuccessful.

The key focus of the second paper is shaping the British nation. We will carry out a thematic study of ‘power and the people’ from 1170 up to the present day. This will consider how factors such as war, religion, the economy and technology have shifted power within the nation and will explore the development of Britain as a democratic nation. We will then focus in on the Restoration Period (1660-1685) and explore why Britain wanted to restore the monarchy after the execution of Charles I and evaluate the reign of Charles II, considering his economic, religious, social and political standpoints.

We aim to stimulate an interest in, and enthusiasm for, the past, and allow you to understand the past events that have formed the background of the world we live in today.  You will learn about the nature of cause and consequence, continuity and change, and how individuals adopt different interpretations on key events.  A further aim of the course is to develop essential study skills that will give you the ability to use various sources of information such as books, discussions, documents and films. 

By the end of the course it is hoped that you will have developed your knowledge and that you will know major turning points in recent history as well as a deeper understanding of how Britain came to be the nation it is.

The best historians, though, will immerse themselves in the periods studied, having sympathy for the historical background but also recognising that history itself is made by humans who were no different from us.  They were biased, vulnerable and they exaggerated.  The study of history seeks to sift through their opinions to find the facts.  As such, skills in reading, writing, speaking and research are essential to the academic historian.

To summarise:

Paper One (Understanding the modern world)

A written examination lasting 1 hour 45 minutes.

Consists of 10 questions totalling 84 marks.

Worth 50% of the GCSE.

Topics: Germany 1890-1945 Democracy and Dictatorship

             International Relations 1919-1939: Peace and conflict

Paper Two (Shaping the nation)

A written examination lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Consists of 8 questions totalling 84 marks.

Worth 50% of the GCSE.

Topics: Britain: Power and the People 1170-Present day

             Restoration England 1660-1685


Key Stage 5

In this linear A-Level students will sit two exams at the end of their second year. These will be a breadth study on The Tudors: England, 1485-1603 and a depth study on The American Dream: Reality or Illusion 1945-1980

Year One

The Tudors – Students will cover the years 1485-1547 and explore the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Students will consider the political, economic and religious impacts of their reign.

The American Dream – Students will cover the years 1945-1963 and explore the presidencies of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. Students will consider the prosperity, inequality and superpower status of America, with a particular focus on the Cold War, Economy and Civil Rights.

In the summer term students will be introduced to the independent investigation unit. This is a 3500 essay where students will choose a 100 year period of history, formulate a question around a key theme from this period and conduct their own independent research.

Year Two

The Tudors – Students will cover the years 1485-1603 and explore the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Students will consider the change and continuity in society and the impact of economic, social and religious developments.

The American Dream – Students will cover the years 1963-1980 and will explore the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerard Ford and Jimmy Carter. Students will continue to consider the status of the USA as a superpower, examining the various Presidents’ policies regarding the Cold War, Economy and Civil Rights.

Students will continue to work on their independent investigation which they will have begun in the summer term of Year One.


Each examination unit is worth 40% of the overall A-Level. Whilst the exams will each take slightly different formats they will both last 2 1/2 hours and will be made up of 3 questions, totalling 80 marks.

The Independent investigation is worth 20% of the overall A-Level. It is marked internally and moderated externally.

 Extra-curricular and enrichment

To support and enhance the experience of our students the department offers a number of extra-curricular activities and trips including the WW1 battlefields and Hampton Court at KS3, alongside a range of local field trips for those who join the History club. At GCSE students have the opportunity to go to Berlin and at A-Level to go to New York and Washington DC.


Subject Leader: Simon Beale