Curriculum Information

Subject rationale – Why study the subject? What benefits does it bring?

Pupils find out about the history of their community, Britain, Europe and the world. They develop a chronological overview that enables them to make connections within and across different periods and societies. They investigate Britain's relationships with the wider world and relate past events to the present day.

As they develop their understanding of the nature of historical study, pupils ask and answer important questions, evaluate evidence, identify and analyse different interpretations of the past, and learn to substantiate any arguments and judgements they make. They appreciate why they are learning what they are learning and can debate its significance.

History prepares pupils for the future, equipping them with knowledge and skills that are prized in adult life, enhancing employability and developing an ability to take part in a democratic society.

It encourages mutual understanding of the historic origins of our ethnic and cultural diversity, and helps pupils become confident and questioning individuals.


KS3 curriculum overview

Year 7

Key theme: From Norman invasion to industrialisation: how powerful were English monarchs?

  • Why was England a target for invaders in 1066?
  • Why did the Normans win the Battle of Hastings?
  • How did the Normans change England?
  • Why was the Christian Church so important in Medieval England?
  • Why were 60,000 Christians willing to die in the fight for Jerusalem?
  • How powerful were Medieval Monarchs?
  • Why is Elizabeth I remembered as one of England’s greatest monarchs?
  • Why did the English kill their King?
  • Was the English monarchy fit to take Britain into the Industrial Age?


Year 8

Key theme: From industrialization to wars of destruction: was this an era of progress?

  • Why might the Vindolanda ‘Treasure Trove’ surprise a history student?
  • Why did Britain become the ‘Workshop of the World’?
  • Was the Industrial Revolution a time of progress?
  • Why did the First World War become known as the ‘war to end all wars’?
  • Did anything good come from the First World War?

Year 9

Key theme: From wars of destruction to near extinction: how ideologies shape the modern world

  • How did a man from 19th century London shape the Modern World? (The story of Karl Marx)
  • How could the Holocaust have happened?
  • ‘Continuous acts of the same drama?’ Why did the world go to war again in 1939?
  • Why were two 'Superpowers' involved in Vietnam?
  • What was the impact of the Modern World on Birmingham?


KS4 curriculum overview – GCSE History

We want our GCSE students to be able to engage with the past as effective and independent learners, to develop their understanding of historical events and themes, to be able to, and want to, ask questions about the past and to recognise that the skills, knowledge and understanding developed in History also prepare them for their role as a responsible citizen.

With this in mind the History Department has chosen to follow the Edexcel 9-1 GCSE specification.


Assessment overview

Paper 1 - Thematic study and historic environment, 30% of GCSE

  • Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present.
  • Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing and the inner city.

Paper 2 - Period study and British depth study, 40% of GCSE

  • Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–1991.
  • Early Elizabethan England, 1558-1588.

Paper 3 - Modern depth study, 30% of GCSE

Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939


KS5 curriculum overview

At A level we want to continue to nurture independent learning in our students, whilst also forging them into knowledgeable and inquisitive citizens. We want them to enter adulthood having an excellent understanding of the social, political, economic successes and challenges of the past both in Britain and the wider world. We encourage debate and students to exercise their ‘voice’ in their history lessons.

Therefore, the History Department has chosen to follow the AQA A Level History specification: 

“Our AS and A-level History qualifications have been designed to help students understand the significance of historical events, the role of individuals in history and the nature of change over time. Our qualifications will help them to gain a deeper understanding of the past through political, social, economic and cultural perspectives. The engaging topics available to them throughout the course will provide them with the knowledge and skills they require to succeed as AS and A-level historians.” From the AQA website.


Assessment overview

Exam board: AQA

  • Paper 1K: Making of a Superpower, USA 1865-1975, 40% of A Level
  • Paper 2S: The Making of Modern Britain, 1951-2007, 40% of A Level
  • Non Examined Component: A personal study on a topic of the student’s choice in the context of 100 years; 3500-4500 words, 20% of A Level.

Revision Guidance

Year Group




Middle Ages


Tudors and Stuarts


Problems faced by monarchs


Industrial and Victorian Era


World War One


The Holocaust


Inter-War Years


Causes of World War Two


Key revision materials for all Papers


Pearson Revision Guides


CGP Revision Guides


How to answer exam questions


Revise using podcasts


Career opportunities

There are a wide range of careers, including:

  • Archaeological Specialist
  • Cultural Heritage Conservator
  • Historic Environment Advice Assistant
  • Cultural Learning and Participation Officer
  • Solicitor
  • Journalist
  • Museums & Galleries Technician
  • Library
  • Information and Archive Services

A degree in history can take you to careers in…

  • Civil Service
  • Politics
  • Archaeology
  • Journalism
  • Consultancy
  • Banking
  • PR
  • Retail
  • Accountancy
  • Teaching



Attachments/links/further information

Key Stage 4 Edexcel Specification

Key Stage 5 AQA Specification

Why study GCSE History?