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Queen Elizabeth School



History is a strong and oversubscribed subject at Queen Elizabeth School. The History department believes a broad and challenging curriculum forms the foundation of both academic and personal progress and success.

It is known outside of the school environment that a good history curriculum is key to assisting students' development of the many skills they will need in their life both inside and outside of school, especially in the context of Britain’s changing place in the world in the light of the Brexit vote. History’s curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4 is linked, with Key Stage 3 providing the basis for more in depth study in Years 9 – 11. This provides students with the opportunities to develop both personally and academically. 

The importance of a growth mindset is emphasised when students are confronted with challenging topics, such as the analysis of differing interpretations. History challenges students to know more about the world around them and encourages them to become global citizens. We have designed a curriculum at Key Stage 3 and follow an examination curriculum at Key Stage 4 that references relevant British values. Our choice of modules is deliberate in meeting this aim – Weimar and Nazi Germany, Early Elizabethan England, Superpower Relations and Medicine through Time. In turn, this will help students to be critical of the societies they study and hopefully of the one in which they live. This is of prime importance in the sadly divided nation that our students are growing up in.

The principal aim of history is to explore the relevance of the past to the present day, and how the events and people of the past inform life in the 21st century. History intends to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and the skills needed to handle historical questions. They are expected to be able to develop opinions about the subject content, regarding reliability and usefulness, and need to be able to appreciate why different historians can have different views. 

Students also need to master a broad range of factual information in order to write informed essays and exam questions for their final exam. Students will also be expected to be able to justify an opinion they hold, using specific historical knowledge.  It is our aim that students, through the study of history, are then able to make informed choices as adults when they eventually partake in the albeit flawed democratic processes of the UK. We also want students to question why, if democracy is flawed, it is still the best model for any society to base itself upon.

Key Stage 3:

Year 7 Topics:

  • Local History
  • The Norman invasion and the Middle Ages
  • Medieval Medicine
  • The Tudors
  • The Age of Discovery
  • The Development of Science and Technology over time

Year 8 Topics:

  • The Abolition of the Slave Trade
  • The Suffragettes and why women got the vote
  • The Causes of World War I
  • World War I
  • The Rise of Hitler and the Nazis
  • Independence for India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the African continent and Ireland

Year 9 Topics:

  • The Causes of World War I
  • World War II
  • The Holocaust
  • Medieval Medicine (the following three topics lead onto GCSE)
  • Medicine from the Renaissance until the 18th Century
  • Medicine from the 19th Century until the present day


Assessments are modelled upon GCSE style questions, building in difficulty from Years 7 to 9. Students will be assessed upon their factual knowledge, their ability to make judgements and make inferences and their ability to ask questions about different historical sources.

Topics that were not fully covered due to lockdown have been reorganised to ensure all key historical concepts and subject knowledge are covered in Key Stage 3. All lesson PowerPoints are adapted and differentiated to year groups and abilities to ensure that students are both challenged and intrigued by the study of history.

Key Stage 4:

We deliver the Edexcel History 9 – 1 Specification (Pearson) to our Key Stage 4 students. 

Paper 1

Paper 2

Paper 3

Name of the paper

Medicine through Time c. 1250 – the present day

Early Elizabethan England 1558 - 88/Superpower Relations 1941 - 91

Weimar and Nazi Germany 1919 - 39

Length of paper

1 hour and 15 minutes

1 hour and 50 minutes

1 hour and 20 minutes

Type of questions

Contains a range of short answer questions, extended writing calling for explanation and judgement (12 and 16 marks), and source questions.

Contains one short answer question, extended questions that examine narrative, importance, explanation, judgement.  Marks range from 8 to 16 marks.

Contains a range of inference, explanation, utility of sources, comparing viewpoints and interpretations and making judgements.  Marks range from 4 – 20 marks 

Amount of GCSE the paper is worth




Topics in the paper

Medicine through Time 1250 – the present day:

Medieval Medicine

The Medical Renaissance

Medicine in the 18th and 19th century

Medicine in Modern Britain

Historical environment – The development of medicine on the Western Front in WW1

Early Elizabethan England 1558 – 88:

Queen, government and religion

Challenges to Elizabeth

Elizabethan society in the age of exploration

Superpower Relations 1941 – 91:

The start of the Cold War

Three Cold War Crises

Détente and the end of the Cold War

Weimar and Nazi Germany 1919 – 39:

The Weimar Republic

Hitler’s rise to power

Nazi control and dictatorship

Life in Nazi Germany

To prepare students for their final GCSEs, we ensure that we practice all skills and knowledge required, in class and for homework, and make sure students practise the different formats of questions that they could be faced with in the exams.


  • Fieldwork opportunities e.g. trip to Berlin in Year 11
  • National competitions
  • Reading lists and history in the news and media
  • Online conferences and personal investigation

Key Skills you will learn:

  • Wide ranging breadth of subject knowledge, encompassing various historical eras
  • Skills of analysis and evaluation
  • Applying subject knowledge accurately to be able to make judgements
  • Literacy and numeracy development through analysis of text and  data, such as election results
  • Critical thinking and arriving at substantiated conclusions.

Historical thinking skills are important because they allow historians and researchers to develop unique accounts of past events or time periods within a particular culture. Further, historical thinking skills help historians determine the cause and effect of particular historical events on the present day. This influences a culture's identity with the past and the way they live their lives to keep from repeating negative events from throughout history. 
Indeed.com career advice

Next Steps:

Those who cannot learn from History are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana


Further and higher education establishments such as colleges, sixth forms and universities make a point of valuing the diverse and relevant skills and knowledge gained from studying history at GCSE and/or A Level.  Future study routes where history is relevant include;

  • A Levels e.g. history, politics, English, sociology, psychology, ethics and philosophy
  • University courses such as: history, ancient history, politics, economics, archaeology, law, English, international relations, anthropology


Studying history will be of benefit where an ability to process, understand and deploy complex information is a necessity:

  • Teaching
  • Law
  • The Civil Service
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • The corporate and business world

Recommended Websites:


 Head of Department: Mr S McBride - smcbride@qesluton.co.uk