Thursday 22 February 2018

History in Senior School

History is so much more than a list of names and dates learnt by heart - it is the fabric of our lives and essential in understanding our place in the world. At Westbourne, our historians are encouraged at all stages to have an enquiry-based approach to the topics they study. Pupils are taught to challenge interpretations of events they are presented with and they are taught a range of topics from all over the world, looking at everything from Ancient History right up to the 21st Century, a constant reminder that history is what happened yesterday as well as in the distant past.


What will I learn?

Year 7

Pupils in Year 7 investigate the key events of the Middle Ages to develop their understanding of how Britain was shaped as a nation in its early years. Through exploring the Norman Conquest, reigns of different Kings and the War of the Roses, Year 7 pupils learn how to explain cause and effect relationships in detail and begin to ask their own questions about History. A variety of different methods are used to bring the history to life such as source evidence, a range of media and trips to important local sites.

Year 8

Year 8 Pupils build on their historical skills through examining key moments and periods between 1509 and 1901. Pupils are encouraged to evaluate different interpretations and make judgements about the significance of events such as the religious roller coaster of The Tudors, The English Civil War, the industrial revolution and the expansion of the British Empire. In Year 8 pupils also develop their ability to effectively compare by considering the similarities and differences of Britain and the Mughal Empire.

Year 9

In Year 9 Pupils continue to prepare for their GCSE studies through critical and analytical investigation of events in the 20th Century. Events such as the World Wars, the campaign for women’s suffrage and the Holocaust are investigated and pupils are encouraged to pursue lines of enquiry independently and challenge popular theories and ideas through effective use of evidence.

GCSE History

Pupils follow the AQA syllabus, which is examined in 2 papers (each worth 50% of the overall grade). There is no coursework or Controlled Assessment.

Paper 1 looks at Understanding the Modern World, and Paper 2 looks at Britain. There is some flexibility of topics within the papers, but no element of choice when it comes to the questions. This year, pupils are studying America (Expansion and Consolidation) and Conflict and Tension between East and West (1945-72) for Paper 1, and they are studying Health and the People and Elizabethan England for Paper 2.

These topics might not always be the same every year, as we like to keep it fresh and exciting by teaching new and different topics!

Trips and visits

Local medieval castle

Quarry Bank Mill

The National Holocaust Centre, Nottingham

Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds

Elizabethan environmental sites (changes yearly)




Field Trip to Eyam

At Westbourne we aim to foster in pupils an interest in the past that enables them to enjoy all that history has to offer. We want to help pupils develop a sense of their cultural heritage and to develop their skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation.

We also aim to promote pupils' understanding of concepts involving attitudes, beliefs and values in different periods and events in history, and to foster the ability to have an 'open mind' because of the nature of historical truth.

In Year 7 pupils study the Middle Ages and there are visits to Conisbrough and Peveril Castles and to York. In Year 8 pupils study the Early Modern Age and visit Quarry Bank Mill and do a local history study of Eyam. In Year 9 pupils study events in the 20th century and visit the Beth Shalom Holocaust Museum at Laxton.