You are here


Course description 

History is not just about the past, learning dates or about different Kings and Queens. History is mainly concerned with how the past helps us to understand the present, as well as possible future developments in human society. It gives us an insight into human action and motivation and increases our understanding of other people from other places, times and cultures.

The skills it develops are incredibly relevant to world around us:

  • Testing evidence
  • Asking questions and interrogating information
  • Enquiring
  • Building arguments
  • Presenting ideas
  • Writing in depth analysis and reports
  • Interpreting different viewpoints
  • Empathy and imagination

These skills are developed through the core historical skills of:

  • Chronology – ordering time
  • Sense of period – understanding the past
  • Diversity – recognizing the complexity of the past
  • Cause and consequence – looking at the reasons and results of events
  • Similarity and difference – comparing, contrasting and discovering trends
  • Significance – judging and analyzing why historical events are important
  • Interpretations – looking at how other people see historical events
  • Enquiry – asking questions and mounting your own investigation
  • Source analysis – analyzing complex texts and making deductions

Communication – sharing your ideas, questions and thoughts with others

Key Stage 3 

The department follows the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3. This is largely focused on Britain, with some international studies.

In Year 7 we begin by studying the Middle Ages covering topics such as The Battle of Hastings, the Feudal System and Black Death, ending with an in-depth study of Slavery and Black Civil Rights in America.

In Year 8 we first study the Tudors and Stuarts followed by the Industrial Revolution 1750-1900 looking in-depth at economic and social changes to Britain. Year 8 finishes with an overview of Crime and Punishment through the ages c.1000-present including witch-craft, smuggling and terrorism.

Key Stage 4 

GCSE History focuses on the issues arising between nations during the turbulent 20th century, as well as in-depth studies in US and British History. If you have enjoyed what you have studied so far in History, you will enjoy the GCSE course.

As well as giving you the opportunity to study fascinating periods of History; you will gain valuable and transferable skills. Many employers and colleges value History very highly as you will have developed a range of skills such as communication; the ability to question and the confidence to develop your own opinions.

Throughout the course students will study a number of units from different periods in history.

Below is a brief summary of the types of topics students can expect during the course:

  • Crime and punishment including the Gunpowder Plotters 1605 and developments in policing with a focus on Whitechapel and the crimes of ‘Jack the Ripper’.
  • Early Elizabethan England including changes to the church, Mary Queen of Scots’ and the Spanish Armada.
  • US-Soviet relations including events in Cuba and Berlin.
  • The development of civil rights in the USA including Martin Luther King and Malcom X as well as the US involvement in Vietnam.


In Key Stage 3, students will complete HLPs

In Key Stage 4, the majority of homework tasks are follow-up work, preparation or examination questions.

Books, Equipment, Materials and Resources Recommended/Needed: 

A good stationery set is required at Key Stage 3 and 4.

Opportunities for Study Beyond Key Stage 4 

A-Level History combines well with Maths and Science subjects to create an attractive portfolio of qualifications, enabling students to move on to a university science based course. Combined with English, Sociology, Geography, Drama or a Modern Foreign Language, it would provide a good basis for an arts or languages based degree.

Career Opportunities Supported by this Subject 

History is still an academically respected subject as well as being highly valued and respected by employers who demand History students for the unique combination of skills they have gained during their studies.

Historical skills provide an excellent foundation for a number of popular careers. A knowledge of current affairs is useful for careers such as Journalism, Broadcasting, and the Civil and Diplomatic Service; historical skills like research are useful for careers in Law, Publishing, Management, and Librarianship and of course, careers where a knowledge of the past is important include Architecture, Archive Work, Heritage jobs, TV/Radio programme research, Conservation/Natural History.