Curriculum Intent

The History department aims to offer all students the opportunity to engage with the subject in ways that have meaning to them.  We draw strongly on the local history of Canterbury and Kent exploring its national and international significance.  Our aim is to build knowledge, understanding and skills progressively as students move through the curriculum. 

Our curriculum aligns with the whole school values (compassion, hope, perseverance, forgiveness, and wisdom) particularly in terms of preparing students as future citizens.  The curriculum includes global issues such as slavery, civil rights and women’s rights and supports the exploration of different political systems and forms of governance. The history department believes, with the educationalist Gert Biesta, that: “from an educational point of view, we still live in the shadow of Auschwitz” and that “the premier demand upon all education is that Auschwitz not happen again.” (1) For that reason, every year two of our sixth formers take part in the lessons from Auschwitz course. In the next academic year, we will take part in a sixth form conference on Etty Hillesum, who was transported from Westerbork transit camp and murdered at Auschwitz.

Learning outside the classroom is central to our approach and we offer a history film club and learning visits for different year groups. Achievement for all is our priority.  We promote literacy across all year groups through the “read for victory scheme”. We agree with the historian Peter Frankopan that: “History should be about broadening horizons, widening perspectives, giving greater context to help us understand others, and to better understand ourselves.” (2)

(1) Gert Biesta, p6, “World-Centred Education, a View for the Present.”

(2) Peter Frankopan, p33, Chapter 1: “why global history matters,” in “What is History Now? How the past and present speak to each other.” Edited by Helen Carr and Suzannah Lipscomb.


Curriculum Implementation

Student achievement is supported in a number of ways.  Resources are adapted to support students with additional learning needs.  We are engaging in a process of de-colonising the curriculum to support the learning experience of students from a range of ethnic backgrounds and to ensure that resources and content are relevant and meaningful.  Additional support is available through regular history revision sessions. 

Prior knowledge is revisited in end of topic tests and in regular starter and plenary quizzes.  Students are encouraged to memorise key knowledge using mnemonics and end of unit assessments.  We recognise that our students come with diverse experiences and knowledge and aim to draw upon these funds of knowledge in class discussions.  We also aim to extend cultural capital through a rich programme of visits and co-curricular activities including through links with UKC and CCCU.

Curriculum Impact

Regular formative and summative assessments allow close monitoring and tracking of student performance over the academic year.  Additional revision and support sessions are offered when appropriate.  We are in the process of introducing a series of progressive targets against which students can self-assess thus giving them an additional sense of ownership over their learning journeys. 

Regular department meetings offer an opportunity to review student progress across the year groups and to identify any areas for immediate attention or longer-term planning.  Our curriculum offer has evolved over recent years, and we anticipate it will continue to do so as part of our commitment to continuous improvement. In 2022-23 we aim to include more diverse voices in our curriculum (role of women in the Peasants’ Revolt, LGBTQ+ suffragettes and role of Black African soldiers in the Civil War) to give students a sense that all voices need to be heard. In addition, we plan to look at introducing more thematic approaches in KS3. 

History Learning Journey

History Curriculum Audit

Examination Board: AQA Specification: History 8145

History is no longer a simple memory test of dates, battles and political events; it is the never-ending study of human lives through centuries and across continents. The process of historical enquiry encourages our students to critically analyse information, develop a questioning and inquisitive nature and to evaluate and interpret sources and opinions.

Paper 1: Understanding the Modern World, is a 2 hour exam which will assess the period study and the wider world depth study:

Period study Germany, 1890–1945: Democracy and Dictatorship.

This period 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.

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 as 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.

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation, is a 2 hour exam which assesses the thematic study and the British depth study including the historic environment.

Thematic study - Britain: Health and the People: c1000 to the present day

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of how medicine and 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 on wider world developments that impacted on the core themes.

British depth study, including the historic environment – Elizabethan England 1568-1603

This British depth study allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last
35 years of Elizabeth I's reign. The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies. Students will also study the historic environment of Elizabethan England.  Students will be examined on a specific site in depth.


History remains a highly regarded academic qualification. It teaches transferable skills such as handling a variety of evidence and using it to form and present persuasive arguments. Such qualities are desired in all areas of study and further employment. It is excellent preparation for A level History. A level History is a facilitating subject in all university applications.

For further information, please contact Mr A. Kemp - Head of History:  akemp@archbishops.kent.sch.uk