Our History curriculum enables students to broaden and deepen their knowledge about the past through the study of specific themes or units with meaningful examples and case studies. As students develop this knowledge they are also supported in developing their disciplinary awareness to confidently navigate chronology, causation, change and continuity, similarity and difference, significance and their ability to pursue historical enquiries of different depth and breadth. The analysis and evaluation of primary sources and historians’ interpretations are a key part of every topic that students study.
Our Foundation years give students a secure knowledge of changes within the UK and ways Britain has impacted on the world. Links are made with Art (First World War), Geography (colonialism, industrialisation, globalisation) and English (totalitarianism). The Keystone Year focuses on three case studies (the Holocaust, Whitechapel and Russia) through which students develop their skills of analysis and evaluation. This supports GCSE study where our four new topics build on prior knowledge and skills. At A-Level we have identified topics which challenge and engage learners as the three units cover diverse periods of History and the demands of the course are akin to those of undergraduate study. An outstanding Enrichment programme supplements History at OPGS by providing students with immersive learning opportunities.
foundation years: Year 7 and 8
In Year 7 our theme is ‘Power, Monarchy and Democracy’. Over the course of six lesson sequences, students discover how the role of monarchy has changed, how ‘people power’ and protest has increased over time and how the democracy we recognise today developed.
- the Battle of Hastings, Norman conquest, control and castles, Medieval kingship, Domesday Book
- Changing power of the monarch: Peasants’ Revolt, development of Parliament, Magna Carta, Wars of the Roses, Henry VII
- Religion transforming the English monarchy: Henry VIII, the Reformation, Elizabeth and the Armada, black Tudors, the Spanish Armada
- The abolition and restoration of the monarchy: Gunpowder Plot, Charles I, Cromwell, Restoration.
- People power and protest: Great Reform Act, Chartists, Suffragettes, Representation of the People Act.
- Britain’s reaction to migrants throughout the ages: Anglo-Saxons, Jewish migration, St. Bartholemew Day Massacre, Irish Famine
In Year 8 our theme is ‘the Pursuit and Impact of Empire’. Over the course of six lesson sequences, this moves students through British colonialism, slavery, industrialisation, independence movements, the World Wars and post-war world.
- From contact to colony: life before and during first contact with the British: the New World, India, Africa.
- How did industrialisation change Britain? Including: inventions, development of factories and towns, Public Health problems, Maidstone, local examples: Maidstone, Sheerness and Dover.
- How did the sugar trade lead to the slave trade? Including: early sugar trade, Transatlantic slave trade, the middle passage and life on plantations, abolition, changes in Britain.
- Resistance and rebellion: reactions to British colonial rule up to c.1918: Indian Mutiny, the British Raj, Irish Home Rule campaigning and the Easter Rising, Gandhi and Indian independence.
- Why did the world go to war in 1914? Including: causes, battles, weapons, the Western Front, conscientious objectors, trauma and shell-shock, affect on civilians.
- How did Britain fight WW2 and how did it change the country? Fascism, appeasement, dictators, developments including Dunkirk, impacts, peace, NHS, decolonisation, Windrush.
Keystone Year: year 9
Students study three units:
- Exploring the Holocaust- How and why were Jews persecuted in Nazi Germany? Including: early anti-Semitism, Jewish life c.1920s in Europe, changes under the Nazis including key events such as Kristallnacht, the 1935 Nuremburg Laws, the ‘Final Solution’, camps.
- Whitechapel 1870-1900: Crime and policing: social and economic conditions, Jack the Ripper, development of the police and investigations.
- Russia 1905-1930s: Russian revolution, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, the Civil War, Stalin’s repression and propaganda.
GCSE: years 10 and 11
Exam Board: Edexcel
- Early Elizabethan England 1555-1588: Social and economic conditions in England, the difficulties of being Queen, Religious Settlement and revolts, Mary Queen of Scots, Spain and the Armada, theatre, leisure, education, exploration inc. Drake.
- Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939: Post-war problems 1918-23, the Stresemann era, Weimar culture, Wall St Crash, rise of the Nazis, Hitler from Chancellor to Fuhrer, dictatorship and impact on workers, women, youth, minority groups.
- Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-1991: Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam Conferences, Soviet Sphere of Influence, Stalin, Khrushchev and Gorbachev’s leadership, the role of the USA and NATO, Berlin Wall, uprisings, propaganda through sport, Reagan, collapse of the Eastern bloc and USSR
- Warfare through time, c.1250-present: nature and experience of warfare including weapons, composition of the army, recruitment and the impact on civilian plus case studies such as the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Somme. Include the Historic Environment study of London during the Second World War: preparations, air raids, government response, role of the Royal Family, rationing, propaganda and conscription.
A Level: years 12 and 13
Exam Board: OCR
- The British topic is Y105 England 1445–1509: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII, which will cover Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII's rule in England, examining topics such as battles, patronage, opposition and the nobility. This also includes the sources Enquiry topic the Wars of the Roses 1445–1461 which examines the Outbreak of the Wars, the actions of Richard, Duke of York, war and his defeat. Students learn about the famous Princes in the Tower and about many aspects of government.
- The European topic is Y220 Italy 1896–1943: The development of the country from reunification to the collapse of the Fascist regime during the Second World War. Students also learn about the impact of the First World War and the peace treaties, the rise of Mussolini, his creation of a dictatorship, propaganda and Italian alliance with the Axis powers.
- Thematic Study Y318 Russia and its Rulers 1855–1964: This begins in the age of the Tsars, moving to the First World War's impact and the revolutions of 1917, the pursuit of Communism and the consequences for the Cold War. The nature of government, social and economic developments, role and impact of warfare and the treatment of nationalities are all included. This unit develops synthesis skills and develops students’ use of historical interpretations for the Alexander II, Provisional Government and Khrushchev in power elements.
- Students also complete the Topic based essay for their NEA. This is a 3000–4000 word essay on a topic of their choice, which may arise out of content studied elsewhere in the course except Unit 3. This is an internally assessed unit. Titles must be approved by OCR.