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A high-quality History education should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. It should help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.  

Our History curriculum helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. We aim for pupils to engage in historical enquiry to develop themselves as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers. We endeavour for the pupils to develop the ability to not only interpret and understand the past, but to reflect on how this shapes our world today. 

Our History curriculum enables pupils to question the world in which they live. We teach pupils to use and understand key skills such as…

  • Cause & Consequence: Events do not happen in silos. How does one event effect another, what are the connections?
  • Chronology: When did things happen? How does one society in a different century, shape our society?
  • Inference/Interpretation/Usefulness: What does the evidence of the past show us? How do we interpret it? Can we use it?

big ideas final e21c history.pdf

 Coopers Values: Trust, RESPECT AND RESILIENCE

 In History we develop trust by:

  • Developing the ability to ask relevant questions about the past, to investigate issues critically and to make valid historical claims by using a range of sources in their historical context  
  • Creating opportunities for pupils to work together in pairs and groups to deepen their knowledge and skills.

 In History we develop respect by:

  • Enabling pupils to question the past and examine how events are caused and the consequences for all different groups involved
  • Allowing pupils to develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of specified key events, periods and societies in local, British, and wider world history; and of the wide diversity of human experience  

 In History we develop resilience by:

  • Enabling pupils to understand and unpick challenging content
  • Developing their abilities to write in an extended way in order to develop their literacy and independence
  • Having high expectations of all pupils regardless of their starting points


Our curriculum is inclusive and gives pupils the opportunity to access complex historical texts and sources through scaffolding.  Pupils are given the chance to use high level vocabulary in almost every lesson.  Our curriculum is diverse. It ensures that we cover key topics, that have a range of contexts. For instance, looking at female power in the medieval period, to looking at Black American protest in the 1950’s. This ensures representation across the curriculum. 


In History we identify powerful knowledge and that having a good understanding of it is a prerequisite for understanding other related content. 

By clearly identifying the powerful knowledge in each unit, teachers can ensure that their teaching and assessment is focused on the content that makes the biggest difference. 

We share this with pupils and their families using Knowledge Organisers. These are valuable tools for revision and retrieval practice


In History we sequence our curriculum using spaced practice. This means large areas of knowledge are broken into smaller chunks, with intervals of time between them, to improve pupil learning and recall.


In History we ensure our curriculum is coherent by the use of 5 Big Ideas that underpin all the learning in our subject. Each lesson is linked to a Big Idea, shared with the pupils at the start of the lesson, so they can call on prior learning and understand where each lesson fits within our curriculum. 

 Our Big Ideas are: 

  • People and Power – To allow pupils to understand the link between different forms of power and the people that may have held it. This ranges from Kings & Queens, to Influential Women, To the people who fight for their freedom and rights. 
  • Humankind and Conflict – To allow pupils to understand different types of conflict that have happened in the past and how this shapes the world around it, both at the time and after. This ranges from The English Civil War, to WWI, to the Cold war. 
  • Order and Disorder – To allow pupils to understand the way that different periods have created different types of change, through different means. This ranges from the Industrial period in Medicine to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s & 60s. 
  • Belief and Action – To allow pupils to understand the role that ideology plays in the past. This could be religion or philosophical ideas. This ranges from the control of the Catholic Church on medicine to the ideological differences of the cold war. 
  • Moving and Making – To allow the pupils to understand the role that trade, and production have played in various time period. This ranges from the production of books on the first printing press, to the trade of enslaved people, to the mass production of penicillin. 


The GCSE content in History is divided between 3 exam papers: 

Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment

  • Written examination: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • 30% of the qualification (52 marks) 

Topic: Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches. 

  • Section A: historic environment - Pupils answer a question that assesses knowledge plus a two-part question based on two provided sources.  
  • Section B: thematic study - Pupils answer three questions that assess their knowledge and understanding. The first two questions are compulsory. For the third question, pupils answer one from a choice of two. 


Paper 2: Period study and British depth study

  • Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes 
  • 40% of the qualification (64 marks - 32 for the period study and 32 for the British depth study)  

Topic: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88

  • Assessment overview Booklet P: Period study - Pupils answer three questions that assess their knowledge and understanding. The first two questions are compulsory. For the third question, pupils select two out of three parts. 

Topic: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91

  • Booklet B British depth study - Pupils answer a single three-part question that assesses their knowledge and understanding. The first two parts are compulsory. For the third part, pupils select one from a choice of two. 


Paper 3: Modern depth study

  • Written examination: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • 30% of the qualification (52 marks)  

Topic: The USA, 1954–75: conflict at home and abroad.

  • Section A - Pupils answer a question based on a provided source and a question that assesses their knowledge and understanding.
  • Section B - Pupils answer a single four-part question, based on two provided sources and two provided interpretations. 


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