History is an academic subject rich in powerful knowledge. It provides coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. History helps learners to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.   

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana.


  • Miss L.Gray – Head of department
  • Mrs L.Gilmore – Second in department
  • Ms S.Ingram – History teacher
  • Miss L. Comer – History teacher
  • Mr D. Kelly – History Teacher, Achievement Leader Y10


We aim to build on the foundations set in our student’s primary education to develop further student’s understanding of the study of History. Through their study of History at King Edward VI School, our students should come to understand their place in the world, and in the long story of human development. The study of history challenges pupils to make sense of the striking similarities and vast differences in human experiences across time and place. It also asks them to consider how the past and changing accounts of the past have shaped the identities of diverse people, groups, and nations. It fits into our broader school vision of collaboration and aspiration as our curriculum ensures that students have the values and skills to enter a dialogue with the past to question how and why historical accounts have been constructed.


  • To understand our place in the world, and in the long story of human development
  • To challenge ourselves to make sense of the striking similarities and vast differences in human experiences across time and place.
  • To consider how the past and changing accounts of the past have shaped the identities of diverse people, groups, and nations
  • To develop the values and to enter a dialogue with the past to question how and why historical accounts have been constructed.


Our curriculum fulfils our ambition by focusing on the experiences of various groups of people through time, allowing students to respect diversity of experience and use evidence to honestly construct accounts of the past. Our focus on the power and control exercised by the monarchy and the state as well as how that might impact subjects and citizens alike, affords students the opportunity to consider the issue of accountability in the past and the consequences of people’s decisions and actions. Moreover, our students are exposed to issues surrounding conflict and tolerance in relation to Britain’s association with the rest of the world, which allows our students to study people from the past who have shown tremendous resilience and who have acted with integrity in the face of adversity.

Our focus on the above themes demonstrates our ambition to our students to equip them with the skills and knowledge to question the past, illuminate the present and prepare them for the future.

The conceptual basis of our history curriculum revolves around substantive concepts, concerned with the subject matter of history as well as the core disciplinary concepts that shape the key questions that are asked and organise the study of the subject. Substantive concepts such as propaganda are first looked at in relation to portraits of Elizabeth I in our study of the Tudors in Year 7 and are revisited in our study of Empire in Year 8, before being studied again through our World War One enquiry and our focus on the Holocaust in Year 9. It is through revisiting substantive concepts in this way that we believe students will be able to properly interpret and find fluency in key abstract nouns that crop up again and again in history. The big picture of our curriculum then focuses on bringing students disciplinary knowledge together by using the second order concepts (causation, chronology, significance, interpretations, change and continuity and diversity) to shape our historical enquires.


To further develop cultural capital in our students at King Edward VI School, History offers learners a range of experiences outside of the classroom environment. These opportunities are designed to enhance their understanding of the world around them. Experiences have included a trip to the Battlefields of France to complement their study of the First World War, as well as a visit to Auschwitz as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz educational programme, where learners explored the rich and powerful history of the Holocaust.  Learners have also had the opportunity to visit the National Memorial Arboretum, RAF Cosford, and the Imperial War Museum North.


The impact of our curriculum is under constant review and development to ensure that it appropriately meets the needs of our children, supporting and challenging pupils to achieve their full potential. The success of our curriculum will be realised in our students knowing more and remembering more. Their conceptual understanding of first order concepts and their ability to critically apply disciplinary concepts will grow. Practically, this will be demonstrated in their assessment responses, work in their exercise books and ability to articulate what they have learnt.
































Students are assessed formatively in lessons through key objectives and enquiry questions that seek to guide learning and act as a criterion by which students can see their progress in the short term and assess to what extent they know more. Over sequences of lessons this is developed through regular retrieval practice where students can revisit prior learning and assess to what extent they remember more.

Summative teacher assessment occurs at the end of each topic and more formally at three assessment points during the academic year. Assessments will be synoptic in nature testing key factual knowledge, conceptual understanding, and the application of disciplinary concepts in history: change and continuity, significance, cause and consequence, evidence, similarity and difference, and interpretation.



Home Learning is shown on average to improve the rate of learning by 15%, which is about an additional year of learning throughout school. (John Hattie) or an additional 5 months of progress (Educational Endowment Foundation). In addition, independent work develops student’s self-management and independent skills alongside their core curriculum. In History homework is designed to supplement the curriculum to encourage students to develop their literacy, historical knowledge, and independence.

Homework set is reflective of the point in the curriculum the students are at. On average students are set between 4-6 pieces of homework a term dependent on the type of activity. For example, a modelling homework is more demanding on time and therefore students will have less homework that term. Some of the types of homework students may be asked to complete:

  • Revision of a topic or topics to encourage regular retrieval.
  • Wider reading or vocab tasks to develop their subject literacy.
  • Research of alternative narratives linked to those studied in class.

Key stage 4

We live in a volatile, dynamic, and interconnected world. Knowledge of the past is essential in understanding and trying to make sense of what’s happening now. GCSE History helps us to do both, through studying key events and individuals from the past and the ways in which they have shaped our present. Employers are always looking for young people who can think critically and analytically, both key attributes of the historian, and studying GCSE History can help students take the first steps on a variety of career paths, including law, journalism, marketing, human resources, and management.

GCSE History also serves as a platform for further study at A level and undergraduate level, either in history itself or in a wide range of alternative disciplines. It can act as the foundation stone for education of all kinds and helps develop academic skills crucial in a range of fields. These include the ability to absorb large quantities of information, sift content, analyse sources and interpretations, shape arguments and reach balanced conclusions.

The Edexcel specification has been chosen because the subject content at GCSE enables students to investigate a broad range of options drawn from different periods and diverse societies. Learners can investigate, analyse, and evaluate historical figures and events from the broad range of options on offer. These include British History in depth e.g., Elizabethan England; Non-British History in depth e.g., Weimar and Nazi Germany; Broader national and international studies e.g., superpower relations in the twentieth century; Longer thematic studies exploring change and continuity over time e.g., changes in medicine over time; and studies based on nominated historic sites e.g., The Western Front.




















At KS4 students undergo two mock examinations, one at the beginning of the summer term in April in year 10 and in year 11 at the end of the Autumn term in December. These will be past exam papers and the truest likeness to the exams the students will undergo in the summer of year 11. To prepare students to answer these, there will be end of unit tests of a similar style and the end of each topic (illustrated above). In addition, students will continually be assessed using practise questions throughout the topic and various self and peer assessment used to help students to understand how to attain the highest possible level in answers.


Students will be set work depending on the part of the course that is being taught. Most often homework will either be revision for a practise question in class, revision for an end of unit test or for the mocks. However, in addition to this, students will be asked to carry out independent research or other smaller tasks based on classwork. They should have at least three pieces of homework a half term of varying length. If they are revising for an end of unit test, they should spend at least 3-4 hours doing this, therefore revising for a mock should be reflective of the number of units covered e.g. 3 units in year 10 therefore 9-12 hours. A practise question would only require 30 minutes of revision on average.

Key Stage 5

Currently students follow the AQA History specification as a linear A-Level. Two members of staff teach units simultaneously.

Year 12:

Tudors: Henry VII-Henry VIII-Edward VI

American Dream: Truman-Kennedy

NEA: Women’s Rights (Summer Term)

Year 13

Tudors: Mary I- Elizabeth I

American Dream: Johnson- Reagan

NEA: February Submission

Assessment and homework

Students are expected to complete various tasks on a weekly basis. Quite often these will be practise source and essay questions, or at least to plan and revise for those being timed in lessons. In addition, they will be given reading and research to do to enhance their understanding. Each unit will be assessed once or twice a half term, which would roughly be 6-8 assessments a half term over the entire specification. Students will sit a mock exam in the summer term of Year 12.