History is a vital subject in the curriculum of the school: it significantly helps the students to become mature, responsible and thinking adult citizens by acquiring a sound appreciation of the history and heritage of this and of other countries and by developing those skills that foster an enquiring and critical mind.

As a department we aim to provide all students with an excellent standard of teaching leading to the development of historical knowledge skills that will also contribute to their learning across the whole curriculum. We ensure that students of all abilities have access to appropriate challenge, and that a variety of approaches are used in our lessons. We have high expectations of our students and make sure that they fulfil and in many cases exceed their potential. History forms part of the National Curriculum and is offered to all Key Stage 3. It is an ‘option’ subject at Key Stages 4 and 5.

In Year 7 students are taught in mixed ability groups for two hours a week. Year 8 students have 1 hour week. Our current policy is to set pupils for History, in partnership with the Geography department, for Year 9. Year 9 follow a two week timetable which see them have 1.5 hours a week on average for History and Geography.

We follow the Edexcel GCSE 9-1 syllabus

Thematic Study: Crime and Punishment in Britain 30% of overall grade

Students learn about the continuities and changes in the history of crime and punishment.  The course ranges from the medieval period to the present day.

The unit focuses on a list of key questions:

  • That different type of crimes were committed in different periods?
  • How was the nature of punishment changed over the period?
  • Who determined the laws and punishments?
  • How have the ideas about the nature of crime, the causes of crime and the nature of punishment changed?
  • How effective were law enforcement and punishments in preventing crime?

British Depth Study: Early Elizabethan England 20% of overall grade

This topic largely focuses on the early reign of Elizabeth. This unit covers government and religion in Elizabethan England. Students will also look challenges to Elizabeth; plots, revolts at home and abroad and also rivalry, war and the Spanish Armada. Students also study Elizabethan society. This cover looks at leisure and the impact of exploration and the role it played during the reign of Elizabeth.

Period Study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91 20% of overall grade

This unit gives students the opportunity to investigate the origins, events and outcomes of the Cold War.  Students will focus on the causes of increasing tensions between East and West and the development and intensification of the Cold War before focusing on particular flashpoints such as the Prague Spring, construction of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The impact and influence of key individuals with regard to both increasing and limiting tensions is also a key focus.

Modern Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39 30% of the overall grade

This topic focuses on the causes of Hitler's rise to power and its impact in Germany during the period 1918-1939.  Students learn about the developments and conditions of Weimar Germany in order to understand the reasons why the Nazis gained power.  They study the reactions of individual people and groups to developments within Germany, and learn about a variety of aspects of life in Germany under Nazi rule, including youth groups, propaganda, terror and the Holocaust.

At Key Stage 5 we follow the Edexcel A-level History syllabus. Exam board information can be found here.

We believe that the following units compliment GCSE History.  Many students have studied Weimar and Nazi Germany.  Units 1 and 2 allow you to study other dictatorships in Europe, albeit Communist.  Units 3 and 4 allow you to develop your ability to work as a historian though engaging with sources and interpretations.

Unit 1: Russia, 1917-91 from Lenin to Yeltsin 30% of overall grade

Communist government of 1917-45; How did the Communist Party come to power and how did it keep that power?

Industrial and agricultural change; War Communism, New Economic Policy, how did Stalin try to catch up with the western world through his Five Year Plans?  You will examine reasons for stagnation in the USSR's economy after 1964.

Control of the people; media propaganda and religion, cult of personality of Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev, the secret police and the monitoring of dissidents and how the state managed and reacted to social change.

Social developments 1917-85; social security, employment, housing and social benefits and the promotion of a stable society.  Attitudes and how they changed, towards women, children and the family unit.

What explains the fall of the USSR, c1985-91?

The last section of the exam requires students to evaluate historians opinions regarding the collapse of the USSR in 1991. This one section is 10% of the overall grade.

Unit 2: Mao’s China 20% of overall grade

In this part of the course you will look at the impact Mao had on China during his time in power. You will study his rise to power, his economic policies such as the Great Leap Forward and his role in the Great Famine. You will also look at how Chinese society was affected by his policies considering the Cultural Revolution, how his policies impacted on women and children as well as religious groups.

Unit 3: Britain: losing and gaining an empire, 1763-1914 30% of overall grade

Students consider two breadth studies, the role of British trade and the British Royal Navy in Britain’s rise to power on the global stage. We also study the loss of the American colonies, the birth of British Australia and Britain’s changing relationships with Canada, India and the Nile Valley.

This exam combines source skills and essay questions and allows students to appreciate how Britain’s role in the world changed over the period studied.

Unit 4: Coursework 20% of overall grade

This element of the course will let you engage with the work of historians regarding the Cold War.

Useful Links



Key Stage 4


History of Medicine




Germany 191-45



Please see a History teacher for the username and password.


Key Stage 5