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History is the study of past events, people and places. Students study a variety of topics covering British, European and World history to ensure that they receive a balanced and coherent course of study, these include:

Year 7

Students begin Year 7 with a unit of work about history, developing key skills such as the ability to use primary and secondary sources. They then test these in a unit of study on medieval history which includes the Battle of Hastings, the Black Death and King John. In the spring and summer terms students study the Tudors and slavery. Assessments take place at the end of each topic as well as an end of year exam assessing their knowledge throughout the year.

Year 8

In Year 8 students will build upon the skills introduced in History in their first year here at Finham and will develop their understanding through an analysis of the events of the twentieth century. We deal with the themes of conflict, tension and genocide through a consideration of World War One, the inter-war years, World War Two and the Holocaust. Assessments will take place approximately each half term in which students are challenged to debate and reflect on what they have studied.


The History Department currently follows the AQA GCSE syllabus which is 100% exam based. The GCSE consists of 2 written exams lasting 2 hours each which are taken in the summer term of Year 11. One paper assesses knowledge of two British topics and the other paper assesses two wider world topics.

Year 9

For the first year of the GCSE course students complete a British depth study on Health and People, C. 1000 to the present day. This is a thematic study about how medicine has changed and progressed throughout time. We look at the fight against disease, public health and surgery in a range of different time periods including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, 1750-1900 and the 20th century. Part of the course also focuses on themes and how these have helped developments in medicine for instance, warfare, religion, science and technology and their effects. As part of this we also consider the role of individuals and different groups and how they influenced the fight to understand and treat illness.

Year 10 & 11

In years 10 and 11 students cover the other three exam topics which are America, 1840-1895: Expansion and Consolidation, Conflict and Tension, 1918-1939 and Norman England, c.1066-c.1100. For their study of America, 1840-1895, students will follow the expansion of the country into the west and learn about the development of its influence through the second half of the nineteenth century. The Conflict and Tension topic focusses on attempts at peacemaking following the First World War and seeks to find answers about the causes of the Second World War. As part of their study of the Norman Conquest, students draw conclusions about life under the Normans as they discover how William the Conqueror secured the English throne and consolidated the Norman’s position in England. As part of this unit, every year students are assigned a different historical site linked to the Norman Conquest which they must study in detail in order to answer a question on it in the exam.


AS and A Level students have two teachers in history, each teaching students a different section of the course. We teach the AQA syllabus.

The A Level course consists of 3 sections. One is a study of India which is an extended coursework essay worth 20% of the overall A Level grade. The other two are exam based and taken at the end of Year 13. One is based on a study of British history and the other European.

British History: The English Revolution 1625-1660
European History: Russian history covering the years 1855-1964 the three Tsar’s (Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II) and the three dictators (Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev)
India Coursework: 1847-1947 Indian Independence and Partition. This is assessed as an historical enquiry of 3500 words.


Throughout Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 students are assessed on a number of historical skills including: knowledge and understanding; use of source material, and understanding different interpretations. They are encouraged to develop their skills of analysis and judgement, which are essential for success at GCSE and A Level, and to draw conclusions on the following within the topics they study: change and continuity; cause and consequence, significance, and similarity and difference.

Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning through a variety of activities which are designed to meet the needs of all learning styles including takeaway homework projects, group work, role play, individual tasks and source based work. They are also encouraged to use the internet to research and broaden their knowledge. Some excellent websites include: On this day and The National Archives.

Enjoying History

In History we use a wide variety of stimuli to inspire and encourage our students to be active participants in our lessons. These include: pictures, cartoons, written sources, films, documentaries, newspapers and music. Students are offered a range of perspectives in the sources they are provided with to consider at all Key Stages.

We also like to bring history to life for the students by taking them out of the classroom and inviting external speakers in to offer an alternative perspective. Our trips have included visits to the Imperial War Museum, residential trips to Belgium to see the war graves, and trips to Krakow to visit sites that commemorate the Holocaust. Trips to relevant historical sites have also been offered as part of the GCSE course. We feel strongly that taking learning out of the classroom is a fantastic experience for both pupils and teachers.

Department Staff