Our vision for our Humanities curriculum


History: To foster an interest in, and enthusiasm for, learning about the past.  We would like students to know about different people in the past, for example, their lives and their beliefs.  They should know about key events in Britain, Europe and the wider world and why they are important; they should study themes of change and continuity and identify similarities and differences between the past and the world today.  They should understand why events and changes occurred and the impact of these events and changes. This should enable students to make sense of the world today based on an understanding of what happened in the past.

Students should start with a firm grasp of chronology to introduce them to the past and how and when things happened.  They should learn about history across a range of periods and places from ancient to modern times. 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 with the above. Students should develop their ability to use and question a range of evidence and develop their ability to use evidence from more simple skills such as identifying source details to more complex skills such as source evaluation.  They should also 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.

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. 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.


Year 7

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 on the importance of the Battle of Hastings and its effects on England.
  • Medieval life depth study
  • Medieval beliefs depth study
  • Development study on castles: how and why they changed.
  • Depth study on beliefs in the 16th and 17th centuries: change and continuity and the extent of change

Year 8

  • Depth study on the causes of the English Civil War and creation of the United Kingdom
  • Development study on political power c.1000-present
  • Depth study on causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution, including the growth of the British Empire
  • Development study on slavery and civil rights
  • Depth study on the causes and effects of the First World War
  • Depth study on the impact of the Second World War on Devon
  • The Holocaust

KS3   Years 7 and 8 Curriculum Overview

KS4 This is based on the Edexcel GCSE Modern World History syllabus.

Year 9

Students begin with a 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
  • 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.

Students begin the depth study on Early Elizabethan England 1558-88.

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

Year 10

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

Students begin the depth study on Weimar Germany 1918-39.

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

Students begin the final study unit on 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 

Year 11:

  • Cold War flashpoints
  • 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
  • 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.  During KS3, a baseline assessment is used at the start of Year 7 to identify strengths and areas for development which will inform planning in the autumn term. Regular short tasks are used to assess the development of skills such as analysis and use of evidence as well as two 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 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.

KS4 Curriculum Overview 2018-2019