History is a very popular subject at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Our students gain valuable knowledge and understanding of the past as well as a range of skills which they can develop across the curriculum.

Source analysis is encouraged through interesting and evocative sources at every stage of their learning and our students are able to evaluate the reliability of evidence. Chronological understanding is a key part of our teaching. All students have an opportunity to explore the cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of the past and how it affects the current society. Here, students get a sense of continuity and change throughout the past. Finally, we allow the students to question various interpretations of the past and some students will be allowed to form their own interpretations of the past.

We teach in mixed ability teaching groups and offer a broad curriculum to suit a range of abilities.


All students in Key Stage 3 are assessed every half term on one of the above skills. Our students are given time to develop and reflect on their assessment work to enable them to set challenging but realistic targets for the future. A Key Stage 4, students will practice examination skills which will develop their understanding of the exam process. GCSE students will be aware from a very early stage, of their potential grades and they will be able to monitor their own progress throughout the GCSE course.

Year 7
Students study the beginnings of Rome and analyse reasons for the Roman Army’s great success in gaining an empire. They will then look at various aspects of Roman everyday life. This includes in depth study of the volcanic eruption at Pompeii, the significance of the coliseum in Rome and an evidence study of Julius Caesar.

Students will also study Medieval England. This will include an in depth study of castle building, where students will get to build their own castle. Students will also analyse historical sources to get an objective picture of what life was like in this very fascinating period in history.

Year 8
Year 8 students will study the Tudor and Stuart Monarchies. The theme for this unit is continuity and change. Focus will be on religion and exploration during both these times. Assessment will be through an essay based on the question, “Did Mary I really deserve her name ‘Bloody Mary’?”. Students will also have a chance to explore artefacts from the time of the English Civil War during a project run with the Royal Cornwall Museum. Towards the end of the course, students will complete a project based around local Cornish beliefs in Witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Year 9
Year 9 students have the opportunity to study many more recent historical events which still have far reaching affects today. For example, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, industrial change, and the First World War. Recently, an in depth source analysis project has been created revolving around the mystery of Jack the Ripper’s identity. Towards the end of the course, students will gain an empathy with the lives of the many who suffered during the Second World War. The most notable events being the Blitz, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb and the Holocaust. Once again, the Royal Cornwall Museum will support your child with their study about local evacuees during the Second World War.

Key Stage 4

GCSE History (Edexcel)

GCSE History is a qualification that will engage students with a broad and diverse study of the history of Britain and the wider world and give them skills that will support progression to further study of history and a wide range of other subjects.

Paper 1: 1 hour 15 minutes (30%) Crime and Punishment in Britain 1000 – present day with a focus on Whitechapel c.1870-1900: crime, policing and the inner city.

A fascinating topic of how crime and punishment has changed from Medieval Britain to the modern day.  Students will carry out an in-depth study of the Whitechapel murders of ‘Jack the Ripper’ including an investigation into British society in the 1800s.  Following this, they will examine themes of continuity and change, such as police methods, crimes, laws and punishments over this time.  Within this, students will investigate the witch-hunts of 1645-47, the work of the Fielding Brothers, prison reformers such as Elizabeth Fry, the treatment of conscientious objectors during the First and Second World War as well as the development of modern policing methods such as Neighbourhood Watch.

Skills needed

Students in this exam will be questioned on their accurate knowledge and understanding of the topics, analysing similarities and differences, continuity and change and being able to assess the significance of historical events using sources.

Paper 2: 1 hour 45 minutes (40%) This exam paper will be divided into two sections: Early Elizabethan England and The American West.

Early Elizabethan England

  1. Queen Government and religion. Students will explore the threat from the Catholics and Puritan movements, the threat of Mary Queen of Scots and the significance of the plots against Elizabeth such as the Babington Plot.
  2. Challenges to Elizabeth from abroad. For example, the Spanish Armada, the actions of Francis Drake, the role of Robert Dudley and the significance of privateering in the so called ‘New World’.
  3. Elizabethan Society in the age of Exploration. This will include a look into education and leisure, the problem of the poor, exploration and voyages of discovery and the significance of Walter Raleigh and the colonisation of Virginia.

The American West

  1. The early settlement of the Great Plains, Native American culture, what motivated further migration to the West and the problems they faced.
  2. The development of settlement, problems with law and order, the impact of the American Civil War and the development of the cattle industry on the life of the Plains Indians.
  3. Conflict and tension in the American West, the Battle of Little Bighorn, Wounded Knee Massacre, the significance of Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp, the range wars and Plains Indian life on the reservations.

Paper 3: 1 hour 20 minutes (30%) Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39 This has always been a popular and fascinating subject for our students.  The unit will be broken up into four sections.

Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39

  1. Weimar Germany. The consequences of the First World War and its impact on German society in the 1920s.
  2. Hitler’s Rise to power. How an ex-World War One soldier managed to reach the power of Chancellor in Germany and why the Nazi Party gained so much support by 1933.
  3. Nazi Control and dictatorship. How the Nazi Party succeeded in maintaining control of Germany until the outbreak of war.  This will focus on the role of the Gestapo, propaganda, the Enabling Act, control of the media and the weakness of opposition groups.
  4. Life in Nazi Germany. Students will use a variety of sources to see how various groups of people changed under Nazi control.  For example, women and the family, the youth and education, workers and employment and Nazi treatment of minority groups.

Skills needed

As well as needing subject knowledge, students in this paper will be expected to analyse source evidence.  For example, students will be asked to evaluate the usefulness of sources, give reasons why interpretations of the past are different, and be able to show a clear understanding of what sources are proving to them.  This paper will finish with an essay question worth 16 marks where students will be expected to use a variety of sources to argue for or against a statement about the past.