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“History is a driving motivation to understand the facts of the world, and to comprehend the forces and purpose of human behaviour. History is a robust, rational framework in which to explore events – but also to uncover our irrational, unreasonable or seemingly inexplicable motivations for action; our sentient understanding of, and engagement with, the world.”  – Bettany Hughes, What is History, Now? 

Our curriculum is designed to provide students with a coherent, chronological narrative of significant events in Britain and the wider world from 1066 to the present day. The chronological nature of the curriculum allows students to understand how the past has influenced the present, and will the future. Students will gain an overview of History which will demonstrate how different themes are interwoven throughout time and they will make links between the units throughout all 5 years. The curriculum content aims to represent all students and their heritage, so that they are able to see how their past has contributed to our collective present.

Our curriculum seeks to enable our students to understand how to speak, analyse and write like an historian. They will be able to carry out historical enquiries using second order concepts of change and continuity, significance, cause and consequence and inference. This understanding of how our world has been shaped by the past will allow our students to go forward with appreciation and empathy, and the ability to form their own opinions and conclusions about the modern world.

History lessons engage students in enquiries about important individuals and significant events. Students are taught to use primary and secondary sources, and engage with current historical scholarship to use the work of historians to support their own conclusions. They will be able to use primary sources to identify not only what they tell us about the past, but also how they identify which histories remain unwritten and why. Students are provided with the opportunity to engage in historical debate and reflect on their own historical thinking in the classroom.

Key Concepts

First order concepts:

Empire Communism Capitalism Reform Dictatorship
Revolution Democracy Persecution Monarchy Terror
Propaganda Civil Rights Protest Class Battles
Constitution Power Trade Conquest Exploration

Second order concepts:

Change and Continuity Cause and consequence Similarity and difference Significance
Chronology Inference Interpretation Source analysis


Year 7

Autumn term 1 – Were women a part of the Norman Conquest?
this unit will explore the part women played in the Norman Conquest and why they had been previously written out of its history.

Autumn term 2 – Why was the power of Kings challenged in 1215?
this unit will look into the power of Kings in the medieval period and the enforcement of the Magna Carta in 1215.

Spring term 1 – How did Mansa Musa develop an Empire?
this unit will provide students with an understanding of global links in the medieval world, including the fabulous African empire of Mansa Musa.

Spring term 2 – How did ‘rats and rebels’ change the power and status of people and Kings England in the 14th Century?
this unit will cover the Black Death outbreak of 1348 and how it led to the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.

Summer term 1 – How was South America impacted by the voyages of discovery?
this unit will explore the conquest of South America and the consequences on the world.

Summer term 2 – What were the experiences of Black people in Tudor England?
this unit will explore Tudor England, England’s growing global contacts and the lives of some of the black people who lived in Tudor England.

Year 8

Autumn term 1 – What can witchcraft show us about English culture and society?
this unit will focus on the reasons for and methods of the persecution of women who were accused of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Autumn term 2 – What led to the removal of the monarchy in 1649?
this unit will focus on the downfall of Charles I and the origins and experience of the English Civil War.

Spring term 1 – Would there have been a British Empire without India?
this unit will explore the complex relationship between Britain and India and the impact of each upon the other.

Spring term 2 – Why do Historians disagree about the slave trade?
this unit will analyse the transatlantic save trade and why Historians have differing views on the abolition of slavery.

Summer term 1 – How significant was Bolton to the Industrial Revolution?
this is a local study of the impact of the Industrial Revolution on Bolton, and Bolton’s contribution to it.

Summer term 2 – Were the Suffragettes heroes or terrorists?
this unit will look into the organisation and motives of the Suffrage movement, and the effectiveness of their protests.

Year 9

Autumn term 1 – Why was the First World War so costly of life?
this unit will link the causes of the first world-wide war with the experience of those who fought it and the part played by the town of Bolton.

Autumn term 2 – How did the Russian revolution in 1917 change the lives of the citizens?
this unit will examine the 1917 communist revolution in Russia and its impact on the Russian people.

Spring term 1 – How did Hitler and the Nazis take over and control Germany and its people?
this is an examination of the impact of popular extremism and the methods of a brutal dictatorship.

Spring term 2 –  How did the Nazis persecute homosexuality? Who were the interfaith rescuers of the holocaust?
this will be a case study of the treatment of ‘Pink Triangle’ prisoners, along with an exploration of the life of Jews before and during the Holocaust and of how different faiths responded.

Summer term 1 – How did the Cold War develop?
this unit will explore the origins and development of the cold war, and how it has influenced conflicts today.

Summer term 2 – How have two millennia of migration shaped Britain and its place in the world?
this unit is a breadth study of the significance of both emigration and immigration from and to Britain.

Key Stage 4 Overview

The KS4 curriculum provides students with opportunities to build on their learning experiences gained during Key Stage 3.

Understanding the modern world.

  • a period study – America 1920-1973: Opportunity and Inequality
  • a wider world depth study – Conflict and Tension: The inter-war years

The unit about America enables students to investigate the contributions of key individuals and groups. Students will develop a secure understanding of chronology, acquire knowledge and understanding of important events and engage with different types of evidence and a range of interpretations. The Conflict and Tension course focuses on international conflict. Students gain a coherent understanding of how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the immediate issues which resulted from it. Students consider how societies were affected by and influenced international relations.

  • a thematic study – Health and the people: 1000 to the present day
  • a British depth study – Elizabethan England 1568-1603

The unit on Health and the people enables students to gain an understanding of how medicine and public health developed in Britain. It considers the causes and consequences of short and long term developments, their impact on British society and how they were related to the key features and characteristics of the periods during which they took place. Students study the importance of the following factors: war, superstition and religion, chance, government, communication, science and technology and the role of the individual in encouraging or inhibiting change. The Elizabethan England course allows students to study in depth the last 35 years of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. The study focuses on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies. For example, students will study the difficulty of Elizabethan being a female ruler, the impact of Raleigh and Drake’s voyages, Elizabeth’s religious settlement and the Spanish Armada. The historic environment is embedded within this depth study and the relationship between the historic environment and the historical events and developments are explored. Students are expected to make connections and evaluate how specified sites have shaped or have been shaped by the historical events and developments of the time.

Read like an Historian

There is no History if there are no books. Reading is one of the main ways in which historians access the past, whether through books, articles, letters, diaries, newspapers, etc and therefore it is a vital part of our curriculum and why we spend so much time doing it in our lessons. Literature in History comes in a variety of forms, both fiction and nonfiction; both teach us to analyse the past in different ways and open our eyes to the world around us, and why society is the way it is today.

Click here to view the suggested reads poster.
Please note: the images of the book covers are clickable hyperlinks to the book.

Home Learning

Learning beyond the classroom will provide students with the opportunity to engage with wider world History using our ‘Meanwhile, elsewhere’ enquiries. Students will research other historical events which are happening at the same time as the events they are studying in the classroom. In addition to this, our ‘Story, sources, scholarship’ sheets will allow students to delve further into the topics that have been delivered in lessons, and explore different historian’s interpretations of them.


Enrichment and other extracurricular activities

A wide range of History related enrichment options are available, including History club, a visit to Quarry Bank mill, and a visit to the Elizabethan England historic environment site.



Mrs Solomons, Director of History