Staff Quote

Subject Leader

Louise Jones



Katy Woodhouse
Sophie Murray

"We cannot escape history and neither can we escape a desire to understand it."
- Anonymous

"If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree."
- Michael Crichton


"‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours."
- Alan Bennett

Why Study History?

History is an intellectually demanding subject that develops students’ knowledge and understanding of the past. History is not about mindless memorisation of dates, events, kings and queens, but about understanding the behaviour and workings of people and societies and thus, ultimately, ourselves.
History helps us to discover how the society we live in came to be as it is: only through history can we understand how and why societies have changed, only through history can we identify continuities with the past.
A knowledge of history helps us understand how and why people in the past behaved as they did, whether they are Henry VIII, Hitler, Hirohito or Hawking. It makes us appreciate that people in the past were not simply 'good' or 'bad', but acted in complex and inconsistent ways, just like us.
The ability to look beyond the obvious, to ask questions that matter and to formulate and express an informed view; to research, infer, interpret, analyse, evaluate and debate are just some of the skills that students acquire through the study of history.


Our goal is to inspire students to actively engage in the process of historical enquiry, to develop the ability to think critically and reflectively. We strive to ensure that students recognise that their historical knowledge and the habits of thinking a study of history develops can help them make sense of the present, develop their moral sense and sense of identity and equip them for their role as responsible and critically-aware citizens.
We aim to develop students’ historical knowledge of local, national and world history through a combination of depth studies and overview, and to deepen their awareness of how and why the past has been interpreted and represented in different ways. Fundamental to our practice as a department is the development of students’ ability to organise and communicate in writing their historical knowledge and understanding.


All students study a programme that includes:

Year 7

Roman Pompeii
The Vikings
The Norman Conquest
Medieval kingship
The Black Death

Year 8

The Reformation
Henry VIII and the Break with Rome
Religious change under the Tudors
The Gunpowder Plot
The English Civil War
The East Anglian witch crazes
The British Empire
The Industrial Revolution

Year 9

The First World War
The inter-war years
The Second World War
The Holocaust

During Year 9 students undertake a range of taught and independent study topics embracing significant world events during the years 1939-1991 in preparation for further, optional study in KS4.



Students selecting to study History to GCSE level will follow the OCR Modern World B specification, which consists of three elements:

Unit A010: Historical Enquiry

Students will study Germany during the period 1918 to 1945 with a particular focus on:
The origins of the Weimar Republic; the recovery of the Weimar Republic; the rise of the Nazis and the fall of the Weimar Republic; Nazi control of Germany and living in Nazi Germany.

Students will consider social, economic, political, cultural and religious issues; different features of the society, its diversity, the values and beliefs of different groups and relationships between these groups; students will review change and continuity over time, the role of key individuals and the causation, motivation, consequence and significance of events and people.

This unit is assessed through a single essay (in the region of 2000 words) written under controlled conditions over the course of eight hours. The unit represents 25% of the total marks available.

A012: Aspects of International Relations, and Russia 1905−1941
Core content: The Cold War, 1945–1975

Key Question: Who was to blame for the Cold War?

Students will explore the reasons why the USA-USSR alliance began to break down in 1945 and how the USSR gained control of Eastern Europe by 1948; they will assess American reactions to Soviet expansionism and seek to explain why tensions escalated during the period.

Key Question: Who won the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Students will explore how the USA reacted to the Cuban Revolution; why Khrushchev put missiles on Cuba; how the crisis was resolved; and who benefited most from it.

Key Question: Why did the USA fail in Vietnam?

Students will explore the reasons why the USA became increasingly involved in Vietnam from the 1950s onwards; they will evaluate the effectiveness of the tactics used by the Vietcong and the USA; and seek to explain why the USA withdrew from Vietnam.

Depth study: Russia 1905−1941

The study in depth is designed to enable students to develop and enrich their understanding of people and problems in the past through the study of social, economic, political, cultural and religious aspects of a country’s history.

Key Question: Why did the Tsarist regime collapse in 1917?

Students will explore how the Tsar survived the 1905 revolution; how well his regime dealt with the difficulties of ruling Russia up to 1917; how far the Tsar was weakened by the First World War and the reasons why the March 1917 revolution was successful.

Key Question: How did the Bolsheviks gain power, and how did they consolidate their rule?

Students will investigate the extent to which the Provisional Government effectively ruled Russia in 1917 and consider why the Bolsheviks were able to seize power in November 1917. They will explore the reasons for the success of the Bolsheviks in the Civil War and the extent to which the New Economic Policy was a success.

Key Question: How did Stalin gain and hold on to power?

Students will investigate why Stalin, not Trotsky, emerged as Lenin’s successor. They will seek to explain why Stalin launched the ‘Purges’ and the methods used by Stalin to control the Soviet Union and discover how complete was his control by 1941.

Key Question: What was the impact of Stalin’s economic policies?

Students will seek to explain why Stalin introduced the Five Year Plans and Collectivisation; they will evaluate the success of Stalin’s economic policies and investigate how the Soviet people were affected by the changes they wrought.

This unit is assessed through a two-hour, written examination paper in two parts: Part 1 is the core content and Part 2 is the depth study. This assessment will represent 45% of the total marks available.

Unit A021: How was British society changed, 1890−1918?

This unit gives students the opportunity to investigate specific historical questions, problems and issues through contemporary source materials. Students will be expected to use their contextual knowledge to help them comprehend, interpret, evaluate and use sources in order to reach reasoned, substantiated conclusions.

The unit is comprised of three main topics:

The Liberal Reforms: this topic focuses on the working and living conditions of the poor and the response of social reformers to the social problems. Students will explore the reasons the Liberal government introduced reforms to help the young, old and unemployed and how effective the reforms actually were.

Votes for Women: this topic focuses on the social, political and legal position of women in the 1890s, the arguments for and against female suffrage and the effectiveness of the activities of the suffragists and the suffragettes. Students will explore women’s contribution to the war effort and seek to explain why some women were given the vote in 1918.

The Home Front: this topic focus on the home front during the years of the First World War, in particular how the government recruited men to fight, how civilians were affected by the war and the use and effectiveness of government propaganda.

This unit is assessed through a 90-minute, written examination paper and will represent 30% of the total marks available.