The study of History is more than just listing dates and reciting the names of long forgotten kings. History is as much about the present and future as it is about the past.

“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”  Theodore Roosevelt

Linking current world events and politics underpins much of the History teaching and pupils are encouraged not to view historic events as isolated incidents, but as part of a wider worldview where one person’s actions can change the course of history. Therefore debate and analysis are encouraged in the History classroom with the aim of nurturing inquiring minds and pupils who are curious about the world around them.

By studying a range of time periods and a broad spectrum of topics, History enables pupils to better understand the world in which they live, and become more open minded and tolerant towards other cultures and perspectives. It also helps them to better understand themselves. Finding personal connections with the past and stories which resonate with pupils helps history to become a less remote place from which they may have felt totally disconnected.

“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”  Michael Crichton

My Learning at The Laurels

History lessons are an opportunity to actively engage with the past. Through role-plays, primary source analysis and watching historic footage, History is brought to life in a meaningful and exciting way.

You will develop both your written and verbal communication through a variety of tasks and by working independently, in pairs and in groups. Debate is strongly encouraged and you will have many opportunities to give presentations to the whole class and work on extended projects.

There are several co-curricular activities offered by the History Department, including the History Club and the History Action Group, which takes the lead in organizing events in school to commemorate historical events.

Course Content

Years 7 to 9

Across KS3 pupils study a broad range of time periods covering Medieval, Early Modern and Modern History encompassing British, European and World History. There is a focus on enquiry based learning whereby pupils investigate the past by answering challenging questions and closely examining source materials.

Pupils study exciting moments and pivotal turning points in History and examine key concepts including ‘change and continuity’, ‘cause and consequence’ and ‘significance’. Pupils are encouraged to develop empathy as they engage with stories from the past and to challenge the evidence which they examine, rather than simply accepting sources as fact.

This keen focus on developing pupils’ analytical skills is crucial in their progression throughout KS3 History and towards KS4. These transferable skills are also vital as they mature and increasingly engage with the world around them by watching the news and reading newspapers. Making links with current events and engaging in debate is a central part of the History classroom environment.

Years 10 and 11

The following AQA options are studied at The Laurels:

Paper 1: Understanding the modern world

Section A: Period Studies
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. They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

Section B: Wider world depth studies
Conflict and tension: the inter-war years, 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. This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change, as well as how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation

Section A: 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. Students will have the opportunity to see how some ideas and events in the wider world affected Britain and will promote the idea that key themes did not develop in isolation, but these ideas and events should be referenced in terms of their effects on the core theme for Britain and British people.

Section B: British depth studies (with the historic environment)

Norman England, c1066–c1100

This option allows students to study in depth the arrival of the Normans and the establishment of their rule. The depth study will focus on major aspects of Norman rule, considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints of this period and arising contemporary and historical controversies.

GCSE Examination Board

AQA History GCSE

Years LVI and UVI

The following Edexcel options are studied at The Laurels:

Paper 1: Breadth study with interpretations

Option 1B:

England, 1509-1603: authority, nation and religion

This option comprises a study in breadth in which students will learn about the key political, social and economic features of Tudor England from the accession of Henry VIII to the death of Elizabeth I, an era of decisive change for the English state and church. The focus of study is on developments and changes over a broad timescale and so the content is presented as themes spanning a significant duration: 1509–1588. This option also contains a study in depth of historical interpretations on a broad question that is contextualised by, and runs on from, the themes: whether there was a general crisis of government in the last years of Elizabeth I’s reign, 1589–1603.

Paper 2: Depth study

Option 2B.1:

Luther and the German Reformation, c1515-55

This option comprises a study in depth of Luther’s challenge to the Catholic Church, the development of a separate Lutheran Church within the German states, and the response of Empire and the papacy to this challenge to 1555. This would cause a fracture in the religious unity of western Christianity, which would, in time, spread through Europe and beyond. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of Luther’s religious protests and the involvement of secular and religious leaders in driving, and resisting, religious and political change in the German states in this period.

Paper 3: Themes in breadth with aspects in depth

Option 36.1:

Protest, agitation and parliamentary reform in Britain, c1780-1928

This option comprises two parts: the Aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the Aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes. Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the relationship between authority and mass agitation in England, the struggle for greater representation in England, and the ways in which the interests and concerns of individuals in society could make themselves known. Within the primarily political focus, this option also gives students the opportunity to explore the economic and social contexts and their influence on developments and on the pressures for change.


The purpose of this coursework is to enable students to develop skills in the analysis and evaluation of interpretations of history in a chosen question, problem or issue as part of an independently researched assignment.

The focus is on understanding the nature and purpose of the work of the historian. Students will be required to form a critical view based on relevant reading on the question, problem or issue. They will also be specifically required to analyse, explain and evaluate the interpretations of three historians.

Students will:

  • recognise that interpretations are representations and constructions of the past
  • recognise the relationships between interpretations and the questions that they seek to ask and answer
  • comprehend and analyse the defining elements of particular interpretations
  • explain why historians arrive at the interpretations they do and understand that differences in interpretation can be legitimate
  • be able to evaluate differing interpretations against appropriate and relevant criteria
  • organise and communicate their findings.
A Level Examination Board

Edexcel History A Level

Related Activities

Model United Nations
History Action Group
History Club – KS3
History Club – KS4
History Skills Lab – KS4
Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorations
Armistice Day Commemorations
Black History Month