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Curriculum Intent

The study of History – to understand, analyse and interpret the past – is important both because of its own inherent value and also to help understand, analyse and interpret the present.

To elaborate, we aim to encourage a love of History in our students though the study of the stories, controversies and events of the past, because the development of such rich and entertaining knowledge is valuable in itself. Such study also allows students to place themselves and the UK in the rich tapestry of global human history. Moreover, History develops skills that are vital in the modern world, such as the ability to create and deliver logical arguments, view information with academic scepticism and to debate and evaluate issues in depth. 

Intended curriculum outcomes:

At Holcombe we aim to deliver the following ambitious outcomes for our students through our curriculum. Students will:

  • Be aspirational and ready for the next step in life
  • Achieve high quality academic outcomes
  • Develop as effective, efficient, resilient learners who can work independently towards ambitious goals
  • Develop an awareness of their own strengths and acquire effective habits to be successful at school and beyond
  • Develop long term knowledge and skills which can be effectively deployed in new circumstances
  • Develop the cultural capital to be able to successfully engage with a wide variety of social situations
  • Develop an awareness of their place as a citizen in the school, wider community and the world beyond
  • Become curious to ask questions and know more about Britain’s past and that of other countries and cultures
  • Develop a chronological framework of British history that will enable them to make sense of the new knowledge they acquire
  • Understand the process of change, to see how we arrived ‘here’ and help them to make sense of the present
  • Realise that the past is gone and history is constructed and contested
  • Can see and use History’s unique second-order concepts to construct arguments and support them to become analytical citizens who can question human motivation and society with skill and confidence
  • Know and understand significant aspects of the wider world
  • Gain and deploy historically grounded understanding of terms such as peasantry, empire and parliament
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims
  • Can view history from multiple perspectives
  • See the connections between social, political, religious, cultural and religious history; and view history on different time scales

Key Stage 3

All students study History at KS3.  Their study of history helps to develop literacy skills whilst developing an understanding of the past and their place in the current world.  Students will be able to consider a range of different historical interpretations and to develop their own views on a range of topics and individuals, through the use of contemporary source material.  They will be encouraged to engage in structured historical research and develop core skills of benefit to them, not only in History, but across the wider curriculum.

Four main themes link the Key Stage 3 curriculum together: 

  • Beliefs 
  • Power 
  • Ordinary Lives 
  • Cultural Encounters 

This curriculum is then taught chronologically via these four recurring themes and a thematic focus. This allows us to gradually paint the big picture of the past, build the different narratives and provide pupils with a real historical sense of each period covered. These big stories are the threads that we weave through the curriculum. Teachers will link back to the prior knowledge before introducing each new unit.

Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 will study a diverse range of topics, following a chronological story of history, which allows them to develop a picture of the diverse cultures, nations and key events that have shaped world history and not just a British / European view of the historical narrative.

The year 9 curriculum begins to prepare students for the study of GCSE from term 3 by increasing the challenge of understanding the complexities of history through investing the Migration Through Time unit, delivered at a level more akin to what students would expect on a GCSE course but also focusing on understanding the rich and diverse heritage that Migrant communities have contributed to modern British life and values.

Year 7

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6

Cultural Encounters: Early settlers and invaders.

Power: Was the Norman Conquest the most significant event in British History?

Ideas & Beliefs: Why was the medieval church so powerful?

Ordinary life: Was medieval life really all muck and misery?

Power: Who was the greatest Plantagenet Monarch?

Cultural Encounter: Did England get on with its neighbours in the Middle Ages?

Ordinary Life: How different was the Early Modern period.
Ideas & Beliefs: How did the Reformation affect ideas and beliefs?

Cultural Encounters: Who were the Explorers of the 15th and 16th Centuries? 

Power: Did the English Civil War see the greatest change in political power?
Local History study: Why has Dover Castle been a significant location in our island story.



Year 8

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6

Cultural Encounters: Why was the slave Trade abolished?

Was there a Benin Golden Age?
Ordinary Life: Did the Industrial Revolution improve the lives of the VictoriansCultural Encounters: Why have interpretations of the British Empire changed over time?Power: How did women's roles change over time?Power & Conflict: Why did European rivalry lead to a First World War in 1914? 

Power & Conflict: Was Hitler entirely to blame for World War Two?

Ordinary Life: How were civilians affected by war?



Year 9

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6

Power & Conflict: Was Hitler entirely to blame for World War Two?

Ordinary Life: How were civilians affected by war?

Cultural Encounters: How and why did Britain lose its Empire?

Ideas & Beliefs How close did the Cold War bring the world to Nuclear War?

Power: How did Black Americans and South African’s win their Civil Rights?

Cultural Encounters: What impact did Migrants have on Medieval Britain?

Ideas & Beliefs: How did Migration change British life during the Early Modern era?

Ordinary Life: How did Migrant communities contribute to the industrial Revolution?Ideas and Beliefs: Was Britain a welcome home for Migrants in the 20th Century?

Edexcel GCSE Course: Medicine Through Time.

Key Topic 1: Medieval Medicine

KS3 Learning Journey

Please see attached Key Stage 3 Learning Journey for History.

Key Stage 4

GCSE History is a successful and popular subject at Holcombe Grammar School, with a clear path of progression to A Level study.  It is taught by fully qualified and experienced teachers.

Aims of the Course

The Department aims to provide an engaging and interesting syllabus that teaches pupils a range of thematic issues and historical skills.   Pupils will develop a range of historical skills such as the use of source work, comparison, validity and interpretation that will support the development of high levels of literacy.


Assessment will be entirely exam based, with all exams at the end of the course.

Paper 1: Medicine Through Time and Historic Environment (Surgery on the Western Front) – 1 hour 15 minutes.

Paper 2: ‘Elizabethan England’ and ‘Superpower Relations: The Cold War’ – 1 hour 40 minutes.

Paper 3: ‘Germany 1919-1939’ – 1 hour 20 minutes.

Topics: Students will study a diverse range of topics following the Edexcel history syllabus: including Unit 1: ‘Medicine through time’ & ‘Surgery on the Western Front’, Unit 2: ‘Elizabethan England 1558-1603’, and ‘The Cold War 1945-1991’, and Unit 3: ‘Germany 1919-1945’.


Year 10

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
GCSE Unit 1: Medieval and Early Modern Medicine.GCSE Unit 1: Medicine in the Industrial era and the Twentieth century.GCSE Unit 1: HistoricEnvironmentstudy – Surgery on the Western Front.Edexcel GCSE Unit 2a: Elizabethan England 1558-1603.Edexcel GCSE unit 2a: Elizabethan England 1558-1603.Edexcel GCSE Unit 3: Germany 1919-1945



Year 11

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Edexcel GCSE Unit 3: Germany 1919-1945Edexcel GCSE Unit 3: Germany 1919-1945Edexcel GCSE Unit 2b: The Cold War 1945-91.Edexcel GCSE Unit 2b: The Cold War 1945-91.GCSE Revision and Exam SkillsGCSE Exams

KS4 Learning Journey

Please see attached Key Stage 4 Learning Journey for History.

Years 12 and 13

The study of History will provide a sound basis for both further education and entering the world of work.   History provides vital forensic and literary skills and is a sound basis for professions where concise, accurate reporting is important.  Students will develop a range of skills which will be of significant use to them both in further education and future employment.  The study of History helps students to improve as effective and individual learners, and as critical and reflective thinkers.  Students will learn to question the world around them rather than to simply accept the views and beliefs of others.


Year 12

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Britain 1625-1701: Conflict …   Russia in Revolution:1894-1924Britain 1625-1701: Conflict …   Russia in Revolution:1894-1924Britain 1625-1701: Conflict …   Russia in Revolution:1894-1924Britain 1625-1701: Conflict …   Russia in Revolution:1894-1924Britain 1625-1701: Conflict …   Russia in Revolution:1894-1924Revision, Recap and Exam Skills, GCE Coursework



Year 13

Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Civil Rights and Race Relations in the USA: 1950-2009, GCE CourseworkCivil Rights and Race Relations in the USA: 1850-2009, GCE CourseworkCivil Rights and Race Relations in the USA: 1850-2009, GCE CourseworkCivil Rights and Race Relations in the USA: 1850-2009, GCE CourseworkRevision, Recap and Exam SkillsExams

KS5 Learning Journey

Please see attached Key Stage 5 Learning Journey for History.

Online Learning Support

Home learning is supported and greatly encouraged by the History Department. This is enabled through blended learning opportunities and the availability of a wide range of resources, many of which are available online and some of which can be borrowed from department members. Both whole class and one to one support, where appropriate, can be delivered through a range of ways including the use of Microsoft Teams, SMHW and email.


The study of history offers clear preparation for a wide range of university courses.  It also prepares students for the world of work by developing a wide range of transferable skills such as investigation, organisation and communication.  Students will prepare for university study by developing as effective and independent learners, and as critical and thinking learners with lively, curious and enquiring minds.

British Values

British Values are at the very core of History at Holcombe Grammar School. During students’ time studying History, they will be given the opportunity to understand why Britain is the way it is for them. Throughout our curriculum we look explicitly at all of the fundamental British Values., with the curriculum providing a wide and varied range of examples allowing students to consider British Values and the role they play in shaping our diverse and tolerant society. Some of these opportunities are identified below:

  • Democracy is revisited from its earliest moments in British history with the Saxons all the way to the making of modern democracy in Britain today.
  • Rule of Law is considered across a number of topics including, Protest: The Power of the Church and The End of Slavery.
  • Tolerance of different Cultures and Religions is an area which the History department has given particular attention to, and can be seen in topics such as immigration through time, Reformation and Counter Reformation, Black Tudors and The East India Company. The catastrophic consequences of a lack of tolerance are featured when considering the impact of dictatorship and examples of genocide.
  • Individual liberty is explored through consideration of increasing rights for women and the ending of the slave trade.
  • Mutual Respect has a light shone on it through topics such as British Civil Rights, the role of women during the First World War and Windrush.
  • Individual Liberty is considered not only through the topics we teach but also through the way we talk about the past and its relationship to the present.