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The topics studied in Key Stage 3 will give students a good grounding in the story of Britain from the Norman Invasion to present day.  We will focus on particular questions of cause and consequence, change and continuity and significance, building up analytical historical skills.  Students will also complete some wider-world studies to give them a broader perspective, as well as a local history study.

To prepare students for later, more in-depth study of history, the modules we study will be a mixture of development studies, which look at change and continuity over a long period of time, and depth studies, which focus on a particular question of causation or significance.  We will also develop skills of analysing primary source material and historical interpretations.

Year 7 

    Term 1

Why is the History of our city important?

In this introduction to the study of History, students will learn about key events in Birmingham’s history, including the first evidence of habitation in the West Midlands Area, Birmingham’s entry in the Domesday Book, the Lunar Society and the women from Birmingham that fought for the right to vote.  Through these topics, students will encounter the ways that historians find out about the past and the concepts such as significance and causation that are examined by historians.

What was life like in the Ancient World?

In this module, students will gain an overview of ancient societies and the ways in which ancient historians find out about the past, including archaeology.  They will study life and death in Ancient Egypt, different societies in Ancient Greece and life in Ancient Rome. 

Term 2

Why have people migrated to the UK over time?

In this development study, students will learn about the changes and continuities in the reasons that people have made their home in the UK from the Roman period to present.  They will learn about different reasons for migration, including economic factors and war, and the huge variety of groups that have made the UK their home in the last two millennia.  For example, there will be lessons on Black Tudors, Asian migrants in the Industrial Era and the Windrush Generation.

How was William I able to conquer England?

1066 is the most famous date in British History.  In this topic, students will learn about the famous Battle of Hastings as well as the events that came after the battle that cemented William the Conqueror’s control over England.  Students will evaluate the relative importance of different events in the conquest. 

Term 3

What was the most significant event in Medieval England?

In this topic, students will learn about key moments in Medieval history, from the First Crusade and the mysterious death of Thomas Becket, through sealing of Magna Carta to the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. These are some of the bloodiest and most interesting events of the Medieval Period and students will decide which was the most important, considering its impact at the time and its modern legacy.

Why was there so much religious tumult in the Early Modern Period?

In the 16th and 17th century, there was a huge change in religion in Britain as Protestantism was established as the state religion.  In this module, students will learn about the religious rollercoaster, as different monarchs changed the official religion back and forth from Catholicism to Protestantism with the disagreements contributing to a Civil War, regicide, restoration and the Glorious Revolution.

Year 8 

Term 1

How has power changed over time in China?

In this module, students will gain an insight into the history of a fascinating and very different country to Britain.  This module covers key aspects of China’s history, including its unification, the Han Dynasty, China’s first female ruler, Tang Sui, the Yuan Dynasty, the Cultural Revolution and the fall of the Qing Dynasty. 

How has political representation in the UK changed over time?

In this module, students will learn how Britain became the democracy it is today, evolving slowly over time from the absolute monarchy of the High Middle Ages.  Key events include Magna Carta, the Glorious Revolution, the Peterloo Massacre, the 19th century Reform Acts and the campaigns for women to get the vote.  Students will compare democratic rights across time.

Term 2

What was the experience of slaves in the Transatlantic Slave Trade?

Starting with culture Africa before the 15th century, students will examine the Transatlantic Slave Trade focusing on the experiences of the slaves, including slave activism and the eventual abolition of slavery in the early 19th century.  Students will focus on first-hand accounts and consider why some voices often come across more strongly in historical records than others.

What is the legacy of the British Empire?

The British Empire once covered a third of the world’s land, and included India, Ghana, Australia, Singapore, Canada and many other countries.  In this module, students will study the impact of empire and reach their own conclusions about the British Empire’s legacy.    

Term 3

What caused the huge changes in industrial Britain?

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, Britain underwent enormous changes in its economy and society. Factories opened and people moved to cities in their droves.  This brought about huge consequences for public health and working conditions.  In this module, students will learn about these changes and consider the different factors that led to them.

How did one gunshot lead to over sixteen million?

The First World War had a death toll of over sixteen million people, and yet it was a single assassination that sparked this deadly conflict.  In this module students will examine how the world got to the state where a single murder could lead to a global conflict as well as why the war was quite so destructive.

 Key Stage 4 Curriculum




Exam board website

Course Content 

GCSE History enables students to build on the key Historical skills and processes learned during their Key Stage 3 study. There are five elements of study; a thematic study, a period of study, a British depth study, a wider world depth study and a study of the historic environment.

Students embark on a study of health and medicine in Britain for their thematic study: developments in health and medicine will be traced over a period of more than 1000 years.  The wider world depth study is Germany 1890-1945: this study takes Germany through three very different periods in history – monarchy, democracy, and dictatorship.

Next, students will study Elizabethan England for their British Depth study, along with a study of a historic site linked to the reign of Elizabeth.  Finally, students will study international relations in the period between the two World Wars.  This includes efforts to keep peace throughout the world and the eventual build-up of tension and outbreak of the Second World War.

Assessment Details 

The assessment for GCSE History takes place in two examinations at the end of Year 11. Different historical skills are tested in each paper.  Each paper is worth 50% of the GCSE.

Paper 1: Germany 1890-1945 and the Interwar Conflict and Tension 1918-1945

Paper 2: Health and the People c.1000-present and Elizabethan England 1568-1603

The assessments test the following assessment objectives:

AO1: ability to recall knowledge and understanding

AO2: ability to explain concepts like cause and consequence, change and continuity, and significance

AO3: ability to analyse sources

AO4: ability to analyse historical interpretations 

Why Study This Course? 

In History you will learn about people, countries, cultures, and societies – you will learn about a huge range of people and societies from medieval kings to 20th-century dictators and everything in between.  You will learn to sift through information and present what you’ve learned in a way that makes sense to other people.

Furthermore, History uses a number of key skills such as chronological thinking, comprehension, analysis and interpretation, research skills and decision making.  These skills will help you with other subjects, as well as leading on to a wide range of opportunities for your education and career options after your GCSEs.