History Curriculum Area

Curriculum Lead:                Mr S Hornby
Staff: Miss J Speakman
  Mrs B Walton

Curriculum Intent

In history, our core aim is to foster a greater understanding of the world our students live in today through exploring the people and events that have shaped it. History is an academic subject, rich in powerful knowledge. It provides coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. History helps students to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. Studying history will equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement

The history department aims to equip our students with both powerful knowledge and the skills required to become well-rounded individuals and Christians. Our curriculum is structured to nurture a love of history through the development of key historical skills and a depth of knowledge.

Students will understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses.

Students will become empowered by the knowledge they will gain, to see the links historical events have on today’s society and learn from the events of the past.

Curriculum Implementation

Teachers in the History curriculum are hugely experienced, with well-equipped and welcoming classrooms situated on the upper floor of the Main Block.  

KS3 History

We deliver a 2-year Key Stage 3 programme of study, incorporating key aspects of the National Curriculum. Students will have three one hour lessons every fortnight, mostly with the same teacher for all lessons. Throughout Key Stage 3, pupils will extend and deepen their chronologically secure knowledge and their understanding of British, local and world history. Within History, we also aim to develop student literacy by giving students access to various historical texts and novels to both widen their understanding and knowledge of a period, as well as improve their literacy through reading.

Students are taught key concepts about:

  • the study of an aspect or theme in British history that consolidates and extends pupils’ chronological knowledge from before 1066
  • a local history study
  • the development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509
  • the development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745
  • ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901
  • challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

The KS3 curriculum plans can be found via the links below. They set out the order and length of each topic, along with the focus question for each lesson.  

The pupil’s knowledge is assessed regularly throughout Key Stage 3 with the use of assessments after each topic. The assessments incorporate knowledge-based questions which are based around the command words used at GCSE level.

KS4 History

History is a Humanities options subject and students must choose to study either History or geography at GCSE. A growing number of academic students are opting to study both subjects at GCSE.  

In year 9, students will study an introductory topic to the history of the USA, from its discovery and independence to the system of government and development of cultures. This will lay the foundations to build upon in the study of the depth study of the USA 1920-73, which is part of the GCSE course. 

In line with all subjects, History assessment is linear to ensure that all GCSE examinations are taken at the end of the course in the summer of Year 11. The two exams taken are:

Paper 1 - Section A - USA 1920 – 1973: Opportunity and inequality

Topics include:

  • 1920s – Economic boom; Roaring 20s; Prohibition; Immigration; Ku Klux Klan; Wall St Crash
  • 1930s – The Depression; The New Deal; Impact of Second World War
  • Post-war America – McCarthyism; Civil Rights movement including segregation, Martin Luther King, Black Power, and progress of Civil Rights
  • The ‘Great Society’ – policies of JFK and Johnson, feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s

Paper 1 - Section B – Conflict and Tension – 1918 - 1939

Topics include:

  • The Treaty of Versailles – aims, terms and impact of the Treaty.
  • The League of Nations – aims and organisation; success and failures; collapse of the League
  • Causes of the Second World War – Hitler’s aims; actions taken by Hitler in the 1930s; appeasement; outbreak of war



Paper 1 - How it's assessed

Paper 1 - Questions

Written Exam: 2 hours

Section A - six compulsory questions (40 marks)

84 marks (including 4 marks for SPaG)

Section B - four compulsory questions (40 marks)

50% of GCSE

Plus 4 marks for SPaG


Paper 2 – Section A – Britain: Power and the People – 1170 to present day

Topics include:

  • Magna Carta; the origins of Parliament; Peasants revolt
  • Uprisings against the crown e.g. Pilgrimage of Grace and Henry VIII; Charles I and the English Civil War; causes of and impact of American Revolution.
  • Reform of Britain – including the Anti-Slavery movement
  • Women’s rights and role of Suffragettes; worker’s rights; development of multi-racial society after WW2

Paper 2 – Section B – Elizabethan England – 1568 – 1603

Topics include:

  • Background of Elizabeth and difficulties faced; life in Elizabethan England
  • Problems faced by Elizabeth - religion; Mary Queen of Scots; war with Spain (Spanish Armada)
  • This topic will also include a study of a specific historical site linked to Elizabeth I.


Paper 2 - How it's assessed

Paper 2 - Questions

Written Exam: 2 hours

Section A - four compulsory questions (40 marks)

84 marks (including 4 marks for SPaG)

Section B - four compulsory questions (40 marks)

50% of GCSE

Plus 4 marks for SPaG


For more details on the GCSE we offer including specification (knowledge and skills needed) and final assessment details, please use the links below.


The KS4 curriculum plans can be found via the link below. They set out the order and length of each unit of work.  Formal assessments take place mid topic, through the use of knowledge based questions, and full written assessments take place at the end of each sub-unit within each unit of study. 

Curriculum Impact

The History curriculum area has a strong academic track record. In 2019, 79% of all pupils achieved a standard grade 4 pass or above at GCSE (national average 63.5%), whilst 68% of students achieved a strong pass grade 5 or above (national average 51.4%). In 2019, a fantastic 38.2% of our students gained the top 7-9 grades (national average 24.6).  

Attendance at History enrichment and revision activities is good. Regular learning walks, work scrutiny and pupil voice surveys provide on-going evidence of the quality of teaching and learning and inform further development of our teaching. Student feedback shows they enjoy their History lessons, feel supported by their teacher and look forward to their lessons. 


All pupils at both key staged have regular assessments of their knowledge and skills as indicated in the curriculum plans above. This information is used to inform planning and intervention where necessary. At KS3, all assessed work will be found in exercise books, whilst at KS4, all assessed work is kept in folders for each of the units of study. It is the History curriculum area policy to provide written feedback to pupils on their assessments and formal tests. 
At KS3, students will be given a homework task once a fortnight or twice a topic. At KS4, this frequency increases to once a week/once every third lesson. Some homework tasks will include the creation of revision resources, which must be presented to their teachers, in preparation for assessments.


In History, we offer a range of enrichment trips to give students the chance to immerse themselves into the stories of the past.

Imperial War Museum, Manchester: For Year 8

We spend a day looking at different artefacts from the wars of the 20th Century and take part in a class activity session looking into the First World War.

Paris/Ypres: for Year 9 and 10

This trip takes place every two years and is a cultural excursion to Paris, seeing sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, and famous historical sites such as the execution place of Louis XVI and the Palace of Versailles. The trip also includes a visit to numerous First World War battle sites, such as Lochnager Crater, Thiepval Memorial, Tyne Cot cemetery, as well as taking part in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.

London: for Year 10

We aim to run a visit to coincide with the study of the historic environment section of the Paper 2 GCSE exam. The destination of this trip will change year on year as it is dependent on the exam board’s choice of historic environment students will study. If a trip is able to run, the students will visit the site, followed by a trip to London if suitable. Here they will visit key sites related to the story of Elizabeth I, including the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Globe theatre and her burial place at Westminster Abbey.

Krakow, Poland: for Year 11

This trip takes place in December and visits numerous sites related to the Holocaust and Nazi occupation of Poland. The trip includes a visit to Auschwitz concentration camp, where over 1.5 million people were killed, a tour of the Jewish district of Krakow, including the area where the Jewish ghetto was situated, a tour of Oskar Schindler’s factory and a visit to the Jewish museum where students are fortunate enough to meet and hear the first hand story of a Holocaust and Auschwitz survivor. We hope in the future to visit the salt mines as well as the Krakow Christmas markets.


History homework support

  • Drop in sessions.
  • 1 : 1 support with homework
  • Support via Teams/email

Revision classes

•    GCSE revision classes will start after the Christmas holidays in January. Details will be given to pupils and published via Teams
•    Available for all pupils
•    After school 3.15 - 4.15pm
•    Pupils may be specifically requested to attend revision classes if the classroom teacher feels extra intervention is needed. Parents will be informed by letter or telephone if this is the case.

Online revision

There are vast amounts of resources written by staff available to students via their Office 365 login at the Microsoft Teams app on their individual History class Team. Resources include lesson PowerPoints, revision PowerPoints, videos, quizzes, practice questions, revision resource templates, revision checklists and exam technique guidance. Hard copies will also be provided if requested.

Revision Guides

All students receive a copy of all the revision resources they need from their teacher, however, if students wish to purchase any revision guides the following are the best recommendations:

  • My revision notes: AQA GCSE (9-1) History, Tim Jenner & others. Hodder Education (ISBN: 9781510404045)
  • GCSE AQA History, The Revision Guide, CGP (ISBN - 9781782946045) *not all topics included in this
  • Individual ‘Revision guide and Workbook’ for each topic published by Pearson. ISBNs:

Paper 1 - USA - I9781292242910;     
    Conflict & Tension - 9781292204772

Paper 2 - Elizabeth I - 9781292204802;     
    Britain: Power & the People - 9781292242941

All members of the History department are happy to support their students and will offer their time to pupils at lunchtime and breaks by arrangement. If you require additional information please feel free to contact me at shornby@bishopr.co.uk or Tel: 01772 600 349

Careers and Progression

Our History curriculum is designed to give students a broad and coherent knowledge of the periods of study, which allows students to be successful at GCSE and looking forward to A levels. Universities and employers also value History – History helps develop the skills required in work and future study:

  • Use information and evidence effectively
  • Weigh up factors and reach a decision
  • Understand why and how people have behaved
  • Take part in debate and express opinions

These skills help prepare for life in a rapidly changing world and future career path. History students have gone on to reach the top in a range of careers…

  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Entertainment
  • Archaeology