Our vision for our Humanities curriculum



  • We want to create enthusiastic historians who can think critically and who have a curiosity to learn about the past.
  • We want students to broaden their minds, to learn about the experiences of different people, different places and different ideas.
  • We want students to explore key events and investigate themes through history and consider change, continuity, similarity and difference.
  • All of this understanding of the past should enable students to make sense of Britain, Europe and the world today.



It is our intention to have a consistent approach to the delivery of the History curriculum. Students’ learning starts with a firm grasp of chronology to introduce them to the past and how and when things happened.  They learn about history across a range of periods and places from ancient to modern times which makes connections with prior learning at KS2 and develops this further.  They study topics both chronologically and thematically as they progress through KS3.  For example, they study Medieval history in Year 7 but 20th century history in Year 9.  The theme of power is studied in Year 7 with the Norman Conquest and Medieval Church, built on in Year 8 with a study of how political power changed in Britain over 1,000 years and in Year 9 they study the turning-points of the French and Russian Revolutions.  They are encouraged to identify connections between historical periods, as well as between the past and today.  

Themes, for example, power, rights and beliefs are revisited at different times in the same year of teaching as well as in subsequent years to help develop chronological understanding and identify change, continuity, similarity and difference.    Connections are also made between the topics studied and local history so students develop an understanding of how the local area has changed over time.  As students progress through KS3 they also extend their knowledge and understanding of how different groups of people have been affected by history, for example, they learn about slavery and empire and how this has connections with their own country and the wider world in the past and today.  Connections are made with KS2 and developed further with, for example, immigration and its impact on Britain.

As students progress through KS3 they learn to use and question an increasing range of evidence starting with more basic skills such as identifying source details to more complex skills such as source evaluation.  They also learn to develop skills of thinking analytically and critically so they can understand the past but also apply these skills to their lives today.  These skills, together with progression in written communication, are developed throughout the curriculum.  Students begin, for example, with a focus on skills such as describing, then move to developing analytic skills and the structure of their paragraphs.  As they progress through KS3 they learn how to write more developed responses with increasing complexity such as detailed comparisons, analysis and evaluation as well as supported conclusions.

At KS4, students build on the foundations laid in KS3 and further develop their knowledge and understanding of history.  Connections are made between the KS4 and KS3 programmes of study, for example, between Elizabethan England and religious changes, the Russian Revolution and Superpower Relations and the First World War and Germany.  Students also develop their history skills with increasing complexity in areas such as analysis, evaluation, explanation, substantiating conclusions and formulating arguments based on evidence.  An additional significant focus is on chronology so students develop their understanding of historical narratives and an overview of the topics studied.  This is particularly important regarding their understanding of change, continuity and turning-points.  By the end of the 5 years, they have become more independent and have been prepared for further study.

It is our intention to support the learning of all abilities through effective differentiation and challenge.  It is also our intention to support students who may be socially disadvantaged through providing access to our resources, for example, our topic booklets and revision resources for KS4.




Year 7

Term 1: 

  • Students will learn about how the past is organised into different time periods and understand chronology and chronological order.  This will be followed by an introduction to sources and how evidence is used to learn about the past.  The chronological understanding will then be developed through a focus on different civilisations.
  • Depth study: the importance of the Battle of Hastings and its effects on England.

Term 2:

  • Medieval life depth study
  • Medieval beliefs depth study, including power and conflict between Church and Crown
  • Development study of castles: how and why they changed

Term 3:

  • Depth study: beliefs in the 16th and 17th centuries: change and continuity and the extent of change


Year 8

Term 1: 

  • Depth study: the causes of the English Civil War and creation of the United Kingdom
  • Development study: political power c.1000-present

Term 2:

  • Depth study: causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution, including the growth of the British Empire
  • Development study: slavery and civil rights


  • Who are the British?: Immigration and its impact
  • Depth study: the impact of the Second World War on civilians, including Devon


Year 9

  • Depth study on the era of the First World War, including causes and effects
  • Comparison of two turning-points: the French and Russian Revolutions
  • The Holocaust
  • Development study on Medicine and Health in Britain:
  • Introduction to the chronological development of Medicine and Health in Britain c.1250-present.
  • In depth focus on the Medieval and Renaissance periods and how and why medicine changed, including an evaluation of the extent of change.
  • In depth focus on turning-points c.1500-1900.


This is based on the Edexcel GCSE Modern World History syllabus.


Year 10

Term 1:

  • Development study on Medicine and Health in Britain:
  • In depth focus on modern medicine.
  • Thematic overviews including surgery, understanding of illness, treatment and prevention.
  • First World War: Medicine on the Western Front case study.

Early Elizabethan England:

  • Elizabethan society and government
  • Causes of, and attitudes towards, poverty
  • Elizabeth’s accession
  • Problems of religion, Elizabeth’s Religious Settlement and its short-term impact


Term 2:

  • Problems of religion in the longer term, including Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Elizabeth’s foreign policy and in particular the deteriorating relations with Spain
  • Spanish Armada
  • Voyages of exploration and attempts at colonisation


Depth study on Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39:

  • Introduction to the overview of the period.
  • Problems facing the Weimar Republic 1918-23
  • The extent of recovery 1924-29


Term 3:

  • The NSDAP: early years, Hitler’s influence and growing popularity 1919-32
  • Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor 1932
  • Creation of the dictatorship 1933-34
  • Nazi domestic policies 1933-39


Year 11:

Term 1:

Superpower Relations in the era of the Cold War 1941-91:


  • Origins of the Cold War
  • Increasing tension in Europe 1945-49 and the creation of alliances
  • Cold War flashpoints in Europe and Cuba
  • Detente
  • The collapse of detente and Reagan’s ‘Second Cold War’
  • The impact of Gorbachev on Eastern Europe and US-Soviet relations
  • The end of the Cold War and the collapse of Communist control in Eastern Europe and the USSR


Term 2:

  • Revision



Assessment is continuous in lessons and uses strategies such as questioning, factual recall, mini whiteboards, writing skills practice, use of language for effective speaking and writing skills.  A baseline assessment is used at the start of Year 7 to identify strengths and areas for development from KS2 which will inform planning in the autumn term. Throughout KS3, there are regular factual tests to develop and embed learning of historical terminology and chronological understanding.  Regular short tasks are used to assess the development of skills such as analysis and use of evidence as well as extended formal assessments each term that focus on skills such as analysis, evaluation and use of evidence as well as assessing knowledge and understanding.  The assessments are progressively more complex and have increasing levels of challenge in order to develop students’ skills and also to lay the foundations for further development at KS4.

During KS4, assessment continues to be similar to the above.  However, there is also increasing focus on recall based tests during lessons and some of the extended assessments require revision and therefore assess the effectiveness of home learning.  Assessments are continuous and develop all the skills necessary for success at GCSE but also to develop the techniques for a better understanding of history.