Foundation Years

In Year 7 our theme is Power, Monarchy and Democracy. Over the course of six smaller lesson series, 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:

  • the Battle of Hastings, Norman conquest, control and castles, Medieval kingship, Doomsday Book
  • Protest: Peasants’ Revolt, development of Parliament, Magna Carta, Wars of the Roses, Henry VII
  • Role of the monarch: Henry VIII, the Reformation, Elizabeth and the Armada, the Civil War
  • Cromwell, Restoration, Act of Union
  • Protest: Great Reform Act, Chartists, Suffragettes, Representation of the People Act.
  • Democracy: General strikes, Fascism, post-War, inc. Labour Party and Brexit

In Year 7 all students 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.

In Year 8 our theme is War, Empire and the impact on people. Over the course of six smaller lesson series, this moves from why people fought in Medieval times, the Crusades, links with India and America, the development of the British Empire, industrialisation, decolonisation and individuals including Ghandi. The events and impact of the First and Second World Wars, the Holocaust, and British society in the second half of the Twentieth Century from the founding of the NHS to Britain’s role on the world through the UN and the EU are then learned.

  • Crusades, Angevine Empire, Edward I – Wales and Scotland, Hundred Years War inc. Joan of Arc
  • New World, India, Africa, Industrial Revolution, colonies, American Independence, British Empire c.1900
  • Maintaining Empires: Slave trade, Indian Mutiny, Irish nationalism in C19th to Easter Rising, Gandhi, Kenya and Hong King studies
  • First World War: causes, trench warfare, conscientious objectors, weapons, British Empire, battles, outcomes, Treaty of Versailles
  • Second World War: Appeasement, Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, major developments, The Holocaust.
  • Post-War world: Cold War, the NHS, the UN, the EU, terrorism

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

Keystone Year

In Year 9, students study three units Spain and the New World, 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 are more global and diverse: in the Spain topic students explore the indigenous culture of South 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.

  • Spain and the New World: discovery of the New World, the Conquistadors, Conquest of Mexico, the Aztecs
  • 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

In Year 9 all students 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.


Exam Board: Edexcel

Year 10

Units studied: Superpower relations and the Cold War 1941-1991 and Early Elizabeth England 1558-1588.

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.

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’.

  • 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
  • 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.


Year 11:

Units studied: Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939 and Warfare 1250-Present

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 eye-witness accounts to develop their knowledge of the topics.

  • Germany: 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.
  • Warfare: nature and experience of warfare across time – 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. Historic environment: London during the Second World War: preparations, air raids, government response, role of the Royal Family, rationing, propaganda and conscription.

All students also attend a school-based Blitz Study Day in Year 10, to research and explore issues around London during the Second World War, as part of the Section A component of the Warfare Through Time unit. This includes family and local history elements as well as researching the use of propaganda and the role of the royal family.

A Level

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.