Head of Department - Mrs Julie Cooper

Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact in History


Introduction to subject

Through our History Curriculum at Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 we provide all students with a coherent and largely chronological (in Key Stage 3) knowledge and understanding of Britain and the wider world which follows the national curriculum.  By studying a broad range of historical time periods, students are allowed to actively engage with the narratives of those in the past, whilst at the same time appreciating their own place in the world.  Our schemes of work (SOWs) are designed to offer the opportunity to study the past, both in breadth and depth, and aim to reflect the increasing diversity of our school intake and life beyond.

Why is the study of History important?

‘The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there’ (LP Hartley)

In many ways this is true, we learn about events in the past, some 100s of years ago, and try to make sense of them, but we see that people in the past were also like us, similar mistakes are made.

By understanding the struggles of people in the past, we can make sense of our present and our futures.

The study of history at school also equips students with essential transferable skills, allowing young people to think critically about the world around them.

How does the study of History develop your skills, knowledge and understanding?

The study of history will equip students with the necessary skills to enable them to think independently and critically about the world around them, encouraging them to maintain open minds, challenge prejudice and promote tolerance.  It aims to challenge students of all abilities and is academically rigorous.

At all key stages, students will develop the following skills:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • The evaluation of historical sources and interpretation
  • The development of key historical concepts such as change and continuity, similarity and difference and cause and consequence

The study of history also actively supports the development of students’ literacy skills.

How are students assessed in History?

Assessment at Key Stage 3 is predominantly through GCSE style questions; students use their contextual knowledge to develop their skills of analysis, evaluation and account writing which allows them to progress through the grades from simple to complex answers.

Key Stage 4 builds on Key Stage 3 in terms of the development of skills.  Students will be familiar with GCSE style questions, their Key Stage 3 assessment having been built around the questions stems and mark schemes.

Exam questions are embedded into most lessons.  We also use frequent knowledge retrieval tests and full exam papers at the end of each module, by way of further assessment.  The emphasis is on quality feedback, with time given over to the use of example answers and follow up DIRT tasks, to ensure that students know what to do to progress.

At Key Stage 5, students are assessed through regular timed questions (essays and source/interpretation evaluations), full exam papers and knowledge retrieval tests.  They are provided with detailed feedback and DIRT tasks which are linked to their progress.

What does the curriculum plan for History look like?

The curriculum at Key Stage 3 broadly follows the National Curriculum, is largely chronological knowledge and topics allow for an understanding of Britain and the wider world.

The curriculum at Key Stage 4 follows the AQA History specification over a two-year period, with modules on Germany 1890-1945, International Relations 1918-39, the History of Health and Medicine and the Reign of Elizabeth I.

The curriculum at Key Stage 5 follows the AQA A-level course over a two-year period, components IC – the Tudors and 2R – The Cold War are studied, with an independent investigation.

How does History support learning in other areas of the curriculum?

History supports many areas of the curriculum in terms of both skills learnt and knowledge acquired.  For example, reading for understanding and the production of extended writing clearly supports both English language and literature.  Learning about German History at GCSE helps the understanding of German language and literature.  Similarly, the study of trench warfare in Year 9 allows students to have a greater understanding of the War Poets, studied in Key Stage 3 English lessons.  The History of Health and Medicine at GCSE has explicit links to science.

How can students extend and deepen their knowledge in History?

Students are given many opportunities for independent research which allows them to delve deeper into subjects that are related to the topics we cover.  To this end, we encourage the reading of newspapers, watching media events/documentaries, films and podcasts to further their knowledge on subjects.

At A-level we constantly provide further reading to extend and challenge all students.

Outside of lessons, the history department provides several extracurricular activities including debates for Year 12 and 13 and history club for Key Stage 3.

How does History link to the world of work?

The skills learnt in history classes will equip students outside of the school environment.

Skills such as debating, putting forward a persuasive argument, examining source material in a critical way and developing excellent writing skills will help students not only in further education and the world of work, but also in life.

The study of history could help in a number of careers, including law, civil service, teaching, management, publishing, journalism and PR.

How does History link to the three strands of our core values?

Traditional values

In all lessons, students show respect and politeness to others and understand why punctuality and attendance are important.

Through our studies of, for example, the First and Second World Wars, we encourage students to empathise with the suffering of others and understand the impact of this on Britain as a nation.

In addition, British values of democracy, celebrating diversity and tolerance are at the very core of our history curriculum.

Learning for the Future

In our lessons, we aim to reflect the increasing diversity of our school intake and life beyond.  We want students to have the necessary skills to enable them to think independently and critically about the world around them, encouraging them to maintain open minds, challenge prejudice and promote tolerance.

Outstanding Personal achievement

Students will have high expectations for themselves regardless of starting points.  They are encouraged to challenge themselves at all levels and we provide opportunities for personal development, through our meaningful feedback and linked activities.

Traditional Values
Learning for the Future
Outstanding Personal Achievement

Students are polite, considerate and respectful of others during lessons including in debates and discussions. Students demonstrate honesty and empathy in classroom discussion.

Students are punctual to lessons and all lessons are well attended.

Students develop empathy when analysing a diverse range of historical sources from various time periods.

British values are embedded within the History curriculum and in particular in areas such as the representation of diverse groups in history.

Students take pride in their presentation and work is well presented.

Students demonstrate independence and take personal responsibility for their learning by completing individualised DIRT tasks and personalised targets from assessment feedback.


Cultural capital is emphasised - Students are engaged with lessons and extracurricular activities including revision sessions, KS3 history club and debate club which runs every week.

Students are aware of how the past links to events in the world today. 

Students can communicate effectively using key historical concepts and terms in both their written work and classroom discussions.

Students show resilience through improving their skills of evaluation and analysis when completing increasingly complex questions.

Students develop effective teamwork skills through collaborative tasks in lessons including group presentations.

Students understand the opportunities that an A-level in History can present and are keen to study History and related subjects such as international relations beyond A-level.

Students are constantly striving to improve and achieve the best grade possible. Student attendance at after school revision sessions is high.

Students feel confident in applying key historical concepts and terms to their written work and classroom discussions. Students can apply their historical knowledge, at all key stages, to related academic subjects such as geography and English.

Students demonstrate independence by completing their own research projects, both in class tasks and at A-level by producing the NEA.

Students are able to demonstrate self- management and resilience by responding effectively to personalised feedback and targets.

Students are able to recall important historical contextual knowledge.

High levels of motivation and enjoyment of History is demonstrated through involvement in extra- curricular activities such as debate club, KS3 History club and through wider reading at KS5.


In history we foster the shared language for learning in a number of ways.  Retrieval practice is used in all key stages to recall prior learning related to the curriculum.  It is often based on key terms, specific contextual knowledge and links to the bigger picture, particularly in relation to causation.  Students are given learning intentions at the beginning of each lesson.  Often, these take the form of a leading question or can be based around an area of historical debate.  They are then reviewed at the end of each lesson. In addition, we use both mini plenaries and plenaries to assess the learning that has taken place.  These can be based on exam questions, verbal responses, or paired discussion.  To further monitor the progress made in lessons, questioning for understanding is used.  Often, in History, we give students a source stimulus or a question that allows students to reflect on an issue in the present, that will then link to a key area of learning in the past.  Similarly, strategies like “think > pair > share” and “cold calling” are used, with questions bounced back to add depth and address misconceptions where necessary.  This approach will support the development of students’ verbal communication skills.

Written feedback is a strength in History.  During DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time), students have the opportunity to reflect on their progress, review individualised feedback from the teacher, set themselves targets, and then respond to the feedback by completing their personal EBI question or task.  This forms part of the wider feedback loop.  Students are encouraged to use this feedback and their responses when approaching a similar assessment in the future.  This approach involves the teacher going through the assessment with students.  Those students who achieve the highest level are given stretch and challenge targets, for example, tasking a student with researching another element of a particular line of enquiry.

Finally, THRIVE skills are referred to in History lessons and feature as part of our DIRT time reflections.  This makes up part of our commitment to supporting the personal development of our students.  As a subject, History provides students with the opportunity to ask questions about the past, present and future.  Empathy is a key part of the learning process in History.  Students are constantly asked to reflect on the actions of those in the past, and by doing so, also reflect on their own actions.  We are committed, as a department, to creating an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance.  Students are also encouraged to work independently both in lessons and outside of the classroom and are taught that mistakes are part of learning.  This enables young people to develop their resilience and to use their mistakes as a platform for progress.  The History department encourages students to give back.  Several students in year 12 are mentors to younger students or support KS3 classes in their learning.


By the end of Year 9, all students have had a taste of the History GCSE content and it remains one of the most popular option choices at both GCSE and A-level.  Those who do choose to study history at KS4 and 5 will continue to develop transferable skills such as the construction of effective arguments, the presentation, interpretation and analysis of a wide range of material and the ability to work both independently and collaboratively.  In addition, a number of students choose to study History at post 18, including at Russell Group Universities and Oxbridge.  A significant number also go on to study or have careers in related subjects, such as Law, International Relations or Politics.