foundation years: Year 7 and 8

Foundation Years

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. This thematic approach covers c.1066-present, covering major British history topics below.

Year 7

In Year 7, students will visit Battle Abbey and Bodiam Castle to build on their learning during their course. Students explore the Battle of Hastings site and explain why William built the Abbey which was then damaged under Henry VIII.

  • 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. Bartholomew 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 life in America and India before British contact, to early contact and the development of trade and empire. Students then explore the Industrial Revolution before examining the slave trade and its enormous impacts for those enslaved as well as the reasons for its abolition. Students next examine how people and nations tried to gain independence from Britain. The First and Second World Wars engage students with the stories of people involved in these conflicts as well as exploring the nation which emerged from them.

Year 8

In Year 8, students will visit either Dover Castle where they have the opportunity to explore Kent’s role in the Second World War, or Duxford IWM to learn about Cold War developments.

  • 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, effect 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

In Year 9, students study three units: Exploring the Holocaust- How and why were Jews persecuted in Nazi Germany, Whitechapel 1870-1900 and Russia and the USSR 1917-41. While modelling the GCSE approach, all topics are new and demand rigour in their subject knowledge. The Year 9 topics have been chosen to build on the Year 7 and Year 8 units while adding further diversity of experience and a more in-depth focus on the topics. The Holocaust unit explores the changes in life, status and safety for minority groups across Europe between the Wars. America and in the Whitechapel unit they consider issues of poverty and class. The study of Russia will enhance students’ understanding of the Cold War and links to our A-Level course, engaging and preparing them for future History study.

Year 9

In Year 9, students will visit Ypres for a day trip exploring the battlefields and trenches of this famous First World War location and examining the town of Ypres – its memorial, the Menin Gate, and the rebuilt architecture.

  • 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

Year 10

Units studied: Superpower relations and the Cold War 1941-1991 and Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939.

Students develop their historical skills of explaining, chronology, analysing importance and balanced judgements. In the Cold War Unit, they examine how the world moved from a period of alliance and outright war to the Cold War, how Europe was divided and how Communism affected Eastern Europe before its collapse.

Through the Germany unit, students develop their source analysis and evaluation skills and develop their ability to identify changes and continuities over time. They use a range of resources from posters, films, speeches and eyewitness accounts to develop their knowledge of the topics.

  • Cold War: 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
  • Germany: Post-War problems 1918-23, the Stresemann era, Weimar culture, Wall St Crash, rise of the Nazis, Hitler from Chancellor to Führer, dictatorship and impact on workers, women, youth, minority groups.

Year 11

Early Elizabeth England 1558-1588.

The English history unit examines how a female monarch led her country through religious change, religious conflict and oversaw an era known as the ‘Golden Age’.

  • Early Elizabethan England: 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

A Level: years 12 and 13

Exam Board: OCR

Year 12

Students will study one British period study for Unit 1 and one non-British period study for Unit 2.

The British topic is Y220 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 Y105 Italy 1896–1943 and allows students to track 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.

Year 13

Unit studied: Y318: Thematic Study: Russia and its Rulers 1855–1964. This unit develops synthesis skills and develops students’ use of historical interpretations.

Students also complete the Topic based essay: Coursework. 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.

Students will study a thematic and interpretations study for Unit 3, which is 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. Students also learn about the development of Communism and the USSR’s role in the Cold War.

There is also the non-exam assessment which is a coursework essay on a topic of the student’s own choice – 3000-4000 words written in Year 13.