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Studying history can be inspiring. When we discover what people have achieved against the odds and how things can change over time, it can give us the motivation we need to succeed.

History teaches us to ask two very important questions: why and how. This is key to sharpening your critical thinking abilities, which combine analysis, research, essay writing and communication skills to help you to solve problems and form arguments for debate.

At Ashlyns School, students have the opportunity to develop their historical skills through a broad, balanced curriculum. We offer a series of interlinked courses that build on National Curriculum requirements and provide the framework to naturally progress to GCSE and ultimately to AS- and A-level History.

Key Stage 3


Throughout KS3 students study a range of exciting and engaging topics to strengthen their understanding of key themes such as: cause and consequence, change and continuity, using evidence and interpretations. It also develops students’ knowledge through the use of historical vocabulary, chronology and structuring and organising information. The course structure is designed to progressively develop understanding of history’s ‘big concepts’, through a range of stimulating teaching and learning activities that bring history to life as part of progression to GCSE and A Level studies.

Year 7

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to History through Roman Britain
  • 1066 and the Norman conquest of England
  • Who held most power in Medieval England?
  • What was life like in medieval Britain?
  • Local study: How did castles develop? – Berkhamsted Castle
  • Islam, Christianity and the Crusades

Year 8

Topics covered include:

  • What was life like in Tudor and Stuart Britain?
  • Religious Quarrels – What was the nature of religious conflict in England in the 16th Centuries?
  • Political Quarrels – Why were English people fighting each other in the 17th century?
  • French Revolution – Impact of Revolution
  • Industrial Changes: How were people’s lives changed in Britain 1750-1900?

Year 9

Topics covered include:

  • Origins of Empire – beginnings and Impact of Empire
  • Slave Trade, Abolition and Civil rights
  • World War 1
  • Rise of Hitler and treatment of Jews: Holocaust generalisations
  • The Second World War to the present day


Assessment involves a variety of activities that develop key historical skills as well as numeracy and literacy. Assessment is carried out using a range of strategies including summative and formative techniques in the form of projects, independent enquiry, extended writing, unit assessments, peer assessment, self-assessment and assessment for learning. 

Home-learning may include independent research tasks, takeaway homework activities, competitions or assessment preparation tasks. For details of the topics and how to ‘take your learning further’ visit the Portal.

Key Stage 4

We currently follow the exam board Edexcel History The Making of the Modern World HAO1 (2013).

Course Structure

Year 10

Britain c. 1931-1951
Germany 1918-39

Year 11

Russia 1900 – 1940 Controlled Assessment
The Cold War 1945-1989


Britain 1931-1951

  • 25% of the total GCSE
  • Examined through one, 1 hour 15 minutes, sources-based exam

Germany 1918-1939

  • 25% of the total GCSE
  • Examined through one, 1 hour 15 minutes, knowledge-based exam

Russia 1900-1940

  • 25 % of the total GCSE
  • Three Controlled Assessment essays, two knowledge-based and one using representations

The Cold War 1945-1989

  • 25 % of the total GCSE
  • Examined through one, 1 hour 30 minutes, knowledge-based exam

Course Structure

Term/Time Unit / Paper
Year 10 – Weeks 1-19 Paper 3: Modern Depth Study: Weimar & Nazi Germany,


Year 10 – Weeks 20-33 Paper 2: Period Study and British Depth Study:

Period Study – superpower Relations and the Cold War


Year 10/11 – Weeks 34-47 British Depth Study-Henry VIII and his Ministers 1509-40
Year 11 – Weeks 48-65 Paper 1:Thematic and historic environment:

Crime and Punishment through time C1000 to present day


  • 3 exams – 100%
  • Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment – Crime and Punishment
    Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000 – present and Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing and the inner city.
    Exam: 1hr 15 mins 30%
  • Paper 2: Period study and British depth study
    Part A: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91
    Part B: Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509–40
    Exam: 1hr 45 mins 40%
  • Paper 3: Modern depth study
    Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39
    Exam: 1hr 20 mins 30%

The Department runs a trip to Berlin that supports student knowledge and understanding of Paper 3 on Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39.

Key Stage 5

In Year 12

  • England 1485 – 1558: The Early Tudors
    (Enquiry topic: Mid Tudor Crises 1547–1558)
  • The Cold War in Asia 1945–1993

In Year 13

  • Russia and its Rulers 1855–1964
  • Independent Enquiry – Topic based essay


  • Unit group 1- England 1485–1558: the Early Tudors (Period study) and Mid Tudor Crises 1547–1558 (Enquiry source based study)
    50 marks, 1 hour 30 minutes paper – 25% of total A level
  • Unit group 2 – The Cold War in Asia 1945–1993
    Essay based study
    30 marks, 1 hour paper – 15% of total A level
  • Unit group 3 – Russia and its Rulers 1855–1964
    Thematic study and historical interpretations
    80 marks, 2hour 30 mins paper  – 40% of total paper
  • Unit group 4 – Topic based essay
    Non exam assessment 40 marks – 20% of total paper

The Department runs a trip to Berlin that supports students’ independent research for Unit group 4, the topic based essay.