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History staff

Mrs S Bowland, Head of Faculty
Mrs R Lingard, Head of Faculty
Mr A Baybutt
Mr B Longworth


“Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.”

– Winston Churchill

Curriculum intent

Millthorpe’s History curriculum has been designed to interleave knowledge of local, national and international historical events into thought-provoking enquiry questions. These questions encourage our students to think like historians about the complex stories of the past. Students are made aware that there is not just one History, and are taught how to grapple with the complex, messy and contested reality of studying past events. 

What does progress through Key Stage 3 look like for a student in History?

Through high quality teaching and thoughtful homework tasks we develop the following characteristics of students:

  • A deepening understanding of the chronology of local, British and World history.
  • Increasing depth of analysis as they consider the 4 key reflection points:  Who has power? How do people live? What do they believe? How do we know?
  • Working with more complex sources of evidence to answer historical enquiry questions
  • Drawing on detailed knowledge to test historical interpretations and understand how contrasting arguments have been constructed

What do students learn in Year 7? 

In Year 7 we begin our study with a focus on The History of York. This gives students a sense of the chronology of the Roman occupation of York, The Dark Ages and the period of Anglo-Scandinavian rule in the 10th Century and we ask the question: Why was York so important to the History of England?  We then focus in more detail on the Norman occupation of England in The Events of 1066, in which we try to understand why William was able to win at the Battle of Hastings.  The subsequent enquiry The Norman Conquest of England wrestles with the question: when did William really conquer England? We then build on the students’ concepts of Medieval Kingship in The Power of Medieval Kings by asking, how much power did medieval Kings have? In the unit Medieval Life, we try to understand what everyday life was like in towns and villages. We end Year 7 with a unit based on The Reformation. Here we look at the big ideas that began to shake the Medieval world in the 15th and 16th Centuries and try to understand why this mattered to people. 

What do students learn in Year 8? 

In Year 8 students continue their study of the 16th century, this time exploring The Problems faced by Elizabeth I and her struggles with The Armada. Our study of 17th Century Britain encourages students to consider what mattered to people during this century – was it only the English Civil War? In the 17th Century unit students have been introduced to the Caribbean slave trade. They then develop this knowledge in The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, asking why did the slave trade flourish and should only Wilberforce take the credit for ending it? The focus of the next unit returns to Britain and the Agrarian and Industrial Revolution. Here we explore the consequences of such dramatic changes on the people living in Manchester in the 19th century. We then focus on the experience of Women in the 19th Century  debating whether all  Victorian women  were victims at this time. Finally, we explore the growth of democratic freedom in Power to the People with a study of Peterloo and the Sufragettes.

What do students learn in Year 9? 

In Year 9 students begin their study of the 20th Century by exploring The Causes of the First World War. Here they consider if Europe really did ‘sleepwalk’ into a World War as suggested by one historian. They then study the diverse experiences of soldiers in The Events of The First World War and analyse the case for soldiers being portrayed as ‘lions led by donkeys’.  In their third unit of study we explore the Causes of World War II and examine the interpretation that Hitler intended WWII from 1933. We study The Events of WWII what was the most significant turning point in the war.  Students then explore the Local history of York by comparing life on the Home Front in World War I and II. The British Empire unit asks students to weigh up the benefits of Empire and analyse the reasons for its decline. In a study of The US Civil Rights Movement students analyse the role of Martin Luther King and other individuals and movements in the fight for Civil rights. Students finish their study of Year 9 with a unit on The Cold War and Meanwhile Right Now, a series of lessons that explain the historical context behind the current situations in China, Europe and Russia.

What do students learn in Year 10? 

We follow AQA History GCSE specification.

In Paper 1 we focus on Germany between 1890 and 1945: Democracy and Dictatorship covering the key developments in this country’s history over a 50 year period. These include the growth of democracy, The Depression and the experiences of Germans under the Nazis.

Students then study Conflict and Tension in Asia 1950-1975. This topic looks at conflict in both Korea and Vietnam exploring how and why conflict arose, what the consequences were and the role of the nations involved. 

What do students learn in Year11? 

In Year 11 we study a thematic unit called Britain: Health and the People. This unit enables students to study key developments over a long sweep of time from the year 1000 to the present day.

The option focuses on the following questions:

  • Why has there been progress in the health of the British people?
  • How and why has the pace and scale of the medical development varied at different times?
  • What impact has medical progress had on people and society?
  • How and why have different factors been more important than others for individual medical developments?
  • What is the significance of key individuals or events in the history of medical development?

Our depth study on Elizabethan England 1568-1603 allows students to study the last 35 years of Elizabeth I’s reign. The topic will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural perspectives. These include Elizabeth’s Court and Parliament, life in Elizabethan times and troubles at home and abroad, e.g. the challenge caused by Mary Queen of Scots. This unit also includes a study of a historic site that is linked to the Elizabethan Age.

Knowledge Organisers

Knowledge organisers for students in Key Stage 4 at Millthorpe School can be found here. All the key facts and essential knowledge you’ll need, right at your fingertips!

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