The History Faculty: Vision Statement

Our aim is to encourage students to examine the past to understand the world in which they live with its complex relationships.

Although our teaching is predominantly chronological students are encouraged to make links and identify common themes across the time periods in order to analyse the long term impact of key historical events. Students are also encouraged to examine how life has changed for people throughout history considering the process of change itself, the role and responsibilities of the individuals and the diverse nature of British society.

A range of skills underpin the acquisition of subject knowledge with particular focus on historical enquiry including how evidence is used to make historical claims and how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.

Students are encouraged to ask perceptive questions and reach supported judgements drawing upon their historical knowledge to help them understand the interconnections between local, national and world history.

The History Faculty: Design Rationale

The history curriculum has been designed to encourage students to see the links across various time periods and to understand how the same themes and concepts can be identified throughout the past. The key themes are studied throughout History from Year 7 to Year 13 and events studied in previous years are often used for comparison to build a thorough understanding.

The key themes of war, society and power are used to achieve this with students gaining an insight into the political systems and world in which they live. They will examine the impact of the past and its legacy on Britain, the world and the relationships within it. By focusing on these key themes students are able to compare past events in detail to analyse and compare the reasons for, results of key developments.

Within the big three themes the focus will be:

  1. Society: To encourage students to be accepting of Britain’s multi-culturalism by understanding how and why Britain’s society has evolved over time.
  2. Power: To make students politically aware by assessing how decisions are made and how the political system we have today has evolved over time.
  3. War: To develop social responsibility by questioning the morality of war and conflict by assessing how the causes of war have changed over time and assessing its impact on society.


History classes have access to a fully equipped ICT classroom and a suite of three classrooms, each with a data projector and a modern sound system allowing for the projection of film clips, DVDs and archive sound material.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

As transition from Year 6, students begin with the topic of invaders and settlers before 1066. This allows them to build on the topics many of them have considered previously but with a renewed focus on how immigration affected Britain before 1066. Topics two to four then move onto Medieval society and power with a number of interesting questions as can be seen from the diagram below. The final topic of Year 7 is one that is then revisited from a number of different angles at the end of each year in Key Stage 3 to allow the students to experience an in-depth study. The focus of this is Native American society where students will be able to compare the lifestyle of the Native Americans with those of Medieval Britain.

Year 8

In Year 8 students start with the theme of power and society and will study the Tudor dynasty. Within this, students will be encouraged to question contemporary beliefs around the position of women as the big question focuses on whether Henry VIII’s daughters proved him wrong. Students are then given the opportunity to question how countries should be ruled and how those rulers should be chosen by focusing on the English Civil War. Topic three encourages students to question the role of the Industrial Revolution and the slave trade in changing Britain’s position in the world and the morality linked with both of these events. As in Year 7, the final topic revisits the Native Americans with a focus on how Native American society was governed.

Year 9

The focus of Year 9 history is dominantly 20th Century. Students will start with an overview of the Great War including the experience of the ordinary British soldier in the trenches leading to a thorough analysis of how different interpretations of the events have been created. The second topic allows students to question how the dictators of the 20th Century rose to power encouraging political awareness. A series of case studies make up topic 3 where students will study the Second World War and the questions can be seen on the diagram below. Towards the end of Year 9 students will study the Holocaust which is a compulsory part of the national curriculum. We study the Holocaust at this point in Year 9 so the students have the maturity to discuss the complexities of the topic and address the issue of why we should bear witness to such events. As in previous years students finish with a focus on the Native Americans and by linking this to the topic of the Holocaust in answering the question of whether the destruction of Native American society was a cultural genocide.

Key Stage 4

Year 10/Year 11

Students follow Edexcel history and the themes studied at KS3 focus largely within this allowing students to build and develop their knowledge base and skills.

Students will study the following options:

Thematic study and historic environment

Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches.

In the development study, students will look at medicine and public health in Britain from 1250AD to the present day. This involves ideas about the cause and treatment of disease and illness, approaches to public health and prevention of disease and illness and the influence of changes in society on medicine and public health. Students will also examine the British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18 to undertake a historical environment study focused on injuries, treatment and the trenches.

Students will have the opportunity to visit the Thackray Museum of Medicine to complement their study of Medicine in Britain.

Period and depth studies

Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509–40

This study focuses on Henry VIII’s foreign policy with Spain and France, the annulment of his first marriage and the break from the Roman Catholic church. Students will be able to build upon their knowledge of Henry VIII from Year 8 with a much deeper analysis into the role played by Henry’s key advisors Wolsey and Cromwell.

The American West, c1835–c1895

Students will study the inhabitants and settlers of the Plains, the development of the Plains and conflict on the Plains. This depth study allows students to follow the events of what happened to the Native Americans that they studied at the end of each year in KS3. With a secure foundation of understanding of the way of life and beliefs of the Plains Indians from KS3, students will be able to study in depth the consequences of competition for land and the results of migration.

Modern depth study

Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

This topic of study covers the formation and demise of the Weimar Republic, Hitler’s rise to power and how life changed for people in Germany including the persecution of minorities. As this unit focuses on Weimar Germany as well as that of Nazi Germany students are able to see what conditions in Germany allowed the Nazi party to come to power.

Detailed information and the exam board specification can be found here:

Key Stage 5

Year 12

Students follow the Edexcel exam board scheme of study. In Year 12, students will learn about the dramatic political, economic and social transformation of the USA in the twentieth century, an era that saw the USA challenged by the consequences of political, economic and social inequalities at home and of its involvement in international conflict. The focus of study is on developments and changes over a broad timescale and so the content is presented as themes spanning a significant duration: 1917-80. This option also contains a study in depth of historical interpretations on a broad question, which is contextualised by, and runs on from, the themes: what impact the Reagan presidency had on the USA in the years 1981–96. Specific topics studied include the black civil rights movement, the women’s movements, the causes of affluence in the 1920s and 1950s along with changing attitudes to immigration.

Students will also study the transition of the Indian sub-continent from a colony to independence. The gaining of Indian independence influenced both the nature of civil rights campaigning and the search for national self-determination throughout the world. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the changing relationship between Britain and India from the outbreak of the First World War to the achievement of independence for the Indian sub-continent, and of the reasons for this, with particular reference to Indian nationalism.

Year 13

In Year 13, students will study the changing nature and experience of warfare for Britain 1790-1918. This aspect of the course will give students an insight into how technological advancements have changed the way wars are fought and reported. This aspect of the course will allow students to consider how perceptions of war have changed over time through the use of government propaganda and increased communications from the frontline. The wars studied are:

  • Britain and the French Wars 1793-1815
  • The Crimean War 1854-56
  • The Second Boer War 1899-1902
  • The First World War (focusing on trench warfare and war in the air)

Students will have an opportunity to develop their independent study skills by undertaking a coursework activity assessing who was to blame for the start of The Great War 1914-18. This aspect of the course will give students the chance to develop their historiography skills and judge the viewpoints of a variety of historians. The coursework is 20% of the qualification and students are expected to undertake their own research into the different interpretations surrounding the blame for The Great War and assess which interpretations carry the most weight. This is excellent preparation for any keen historians who want to study further at university.

The full specification and detailed information can be accessed here:

Extra curricular activities

Students are typically offered the following opportunities:

Y11 Thackray Museum of Medicine.
This is usually offered as a revision trip in Year 11 where students can bring together their knowledge and see how medicine has changed over time. More information about the museum can be found:

Thackray Museum of Medicine

Y12 Auschwitz/Krakow Jewish quarter & castle
The purpose of the visit is to give students a better understanding of the horrors that took place during the Holocaust and contextual information to their learning by visiting a historical site and would also form part of their moral, religious and cultural education.

Y13 Great War Battle fields and Ypres
Students will visit the Great War battle fields and this will complement their study of the experience of warfare.

Teaching staff

Teaching is delivered by a team of dedicated History teachers supported by Teaching Assistants wherever possible.

  • Mrs M Brooks
  • Miss M Connell
  • Mr J Cooke
  • Mr P Wordsworth

Websites to help students learn about History

SAM Learning is encouraged for GCSE students.

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