Welcome to the History Department

“History is a burp. We can taste again the raw onion sandwich which was swallowed centuries ago”.


Departmental Teaching Team:

Mr A Kemp (Head of History)

Miss S Martin  (Head of Humanities Faculty)

Mr R Davies (Deputy Headteacher/ Curriculum)

Mrs J McCoy

Mrs T Shillito


Our Vision:

E.H. Carr wrote ‘past, present and future are linked together in the endless chain of history’ and no matter how hard we try, we cannot escape from the past. Far from being a ‘dead’ subject, we believe that the study of history should enable all students to embark upon a chronological or thematic journey through time enabling them to make connections between different periods, societies and individuals. Whether it is Hippocrates and his Theory of the Four Humours, Matthew Hopkins the Witch-Finder General or Josef Stalin we try to transport our students back to the individuals and events that have shaped the world in which we live.

History has the capability to fire pupil’s imagination and curiosity providing them with a fascinating window into different cultures and civilisations as well as an opportunity to question and examine their own values and beliefs. Through the study of History our students are encouraged to examine change and continuity, cause and consequence and to celebrate difference and diversity.

Additionally, the process of historical inquiry encourages our students to think critically, and helps students to develop the ability to evaluate and interpret sources and opinions. History lessons at the Archbishop’s School provide a forum for debate and discussion on central issues which have changed and continue to impact upon the world around us. History underpins our individual and collective identities through the study of History we hope to inform students’ choices about the future as citizens of communities, nations and in a wider global context.

Please scroll down to find out more about the History Department.


Key Stage 3

The department is very well resourced and uses a range of textbooks, audio/visual material and ICT to help deliver lessons. All teachers within the department adopt a variety of teaching strategies within their lessons including role play, ICT investigations, peer and self-assessment, simulations and hot seating. Lessons are delivered as key enquiries to focus pupils and to engage them with the challenge and enjoyment of studying History. The department aims to provide students with a coherent, chronological narrative throughout KS3.

Year 7:

The Year 7 curriculum enables students to understand how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. Students begin by focusing on ‘What is History’; examining key concepts such as chronology, evidence, primary and secondary sources and interpretations. Students then focus upon the development of Britain; their journey begins with the Roman invasion of Britain in AD43. Students then move onto the Norman Conquest, castle development, the murder of Thomas Becket, the Crusades, King John and the Magna Carta, life in a medieval village, the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. This is followed by work on the Tudors with a focus on Henry VII and Henry VIII.

Year 8:

Year 8 students study a range of historical events and individuals including Elizabeth and the problems she faced, the reign of Charles I and the impact of the English Civil War, the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. Students also explore the significance of the Industrial Revolution, the development of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Rise and Fall of the British Empire, together with social changes such as the introduction of votes for women.

Year 9:

In Year 9, Students examine the impact of World I, the outbreak of World War II, the significance of the Holocaust and the breaking up of the British Empire. Students then focus on Britain post-1945 with the battle of the super powers and the challenges of terrorism.


Key Stage 4

Years 10 & 11:

We follow the AQA History Course 8145 at GCSE which includes four units:

  • One period study
  • One thematic study
  • One wider world depth study
  • One British depth study including the historic environment

Paper 1: Understanding the modern world, 1 hour 45 minute exam which will assess the period study and the wider world depth study.

Period Study - Unit 1B: Germany, 1890–1945 : Democracy and dictatorship comprising of a written exam at the end of Year 11 lasting 1 hour 45 minutes marks making up 40% of students’ overall grade.

This period of  study focuses on the development of Germany during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of democracy and dictatorship – the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism. Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in influencing change. They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

A wider world depth study - Conflict and tension, 1918-1939

This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of different individuals and states including the Great Powers.  It looks at concepts such a national self-determination, ideas of internationalism and the challenges of revising the peace settlement.  It focuses on the causes of the Second World War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the issues which caused it.  This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change, as well as how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

Paper 2: Shaping the nation,  1 hour 45 minute exam which assesses the thematic study and the ~British depth study including historic environment

Thematic study - 2A Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of how medicine public health developed in Britain over a long period of time.  it considers the causes, scale, nature 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.  Although the focus of this study is the development of medicine and public health in Britain, it will draw ton wider world developments that impacted on the core themes.  Students will have the opportunity to see how some ideas and events in isolation, but these ideas and events should be referenced in terms of their effects on the core theme of Britain and British people.

British depth study, including the historic environment - Elizabeth England, c1585-1603

This option allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last 35 years of Elizabeth's 1's reign.  The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth 1's reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies.


Key Stage 5

Year 12 and 13:

We currently follow the OCR specification A. 

In year 12, students will study early modern History with the British period study and enquiry unit: the Early Tudors 1485-1553, assessed with a 1 hour 30 minute paper at the end of year 13, worth 25% of the total A Level.  They will also study a more modern non British period study, the French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon, 1775-1815, assessed by a 1 hour paper taken at the end of year 13, worth 15% of the total A Level.

In year 13, students take a thematic study focusing on historical interpretations: Russia and its rulers, 1855-1964, which is assessed by a 2 hour and 30 minutes exam worth 40% of the total A Level.  They will also complete a 3000-4000 word essay (coursework) on a topic of their choice, which may arise out of content studied elsewhere in the course.  This is worth 20% of their total A Level.



Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday lunchtime

Year 11 revision and homework catch-up

Tuesday lunchtime 

Come and watch a historically based film from War Horse to Invictus and Elizabeth to Downfall.  Play historical games such as Chronology or engage in Historical debates.


Some films will be restricted to certain years based on certificates

Friday lunchtime 

Family History club: Come and research your family history



Within the History Department we believe that extending provision for students beyond the classroom is vital in developing their understanding and appreciation of the wider world.

Belgian Battlefields:

Every year, the History Department provides Year 9 History students with the opportunity to participate in a one day tour of the First World War battlefields in Belgium. We visit some very thought provoking and emotional sites including 'In Flanders Fields' museum, Hill 60, the Tyne Cot British and Langemarck German cemeteries, and students also witness the very special Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.

Year 10:

Year 10 students visit a historical site associated with Elizabeth England.  Last year they spent the day at Penshurst Place.  In 2017 they spent the day at Penshurst Place. In 2018 they visited the Globe Theatre.