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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

Exam board: Edexcel History GCSE History (9-1) 1HI0

Term/Time Unit/Paper Weighting Assessment
Year 10 Paper 1:Thematic and historic environment:
Crime and Punishment through time
C1000 to present day
30%  AO1 – Substantive Knowledge
AO2 – Change and continuity, similarity / difference, significance (turning points), cause and consequence
AO3 Source Analysis
Year 10 Paper 2: Period Study and British Depth Study:
Period Study – superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941-91
20% each study
 AO1 Substantive knowledge

AO2 Cause and consequence
AO2 Significance

Year 11 Paper 2: Period Study and British Depth Study:
British Depth Study-Henry VIII and his Ministers 1509-40
20% AO1 Substantive knowledge

AO2 cause and consequence, change and continuity, similarity / difference, significance  

Year 11 Paper 3: Modern Depth Study: Weimar & Nazi Germany, 1918-39 – 30% 30% AO1 Substantive knowledge

AO2 cause and consequence, change and continuity, similarity / difference, significance

AO3 Analyse and evaluate sources to make substantiated judgements

AO4 Analyse, evaluate and make substantive judgements about interpretations 


Key Stage 5

In Year 12

  • England 1547 – 1603: The Later 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


Exam Board:  OCR History A H505

  • Unit group 1- England 1547–1603: the Later Tudors (Enquiry topic: Mid Tudor Crises 1547–1558)  –  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.