Studying history helps us develop an appreciation for our roots and what came before us, along with what sacrifices were made to get there. History helps us understand characters (ie. human beings) over time and in contrast and see how decisions played out over periods of time. Furthermore, studying history is important because it allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows us to understand our present. It can provide us with insight into our cultures of origin as well as cultures with which we might be less familiar, thereby increasing cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

At Ruislip High School we make history engaging and interesting and encourage our students to think like historians. We want students to gain a broad understanding of the world around them and focus on periods or eras of history that can help students gain insight into our current situation and our development as a global community. 

Key Stage 3

During Key Stage 3 students learn about significant individuals and events in the history of Britain from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. They also learn about key aspects of European and world history. Students compare both the structure and development of different societies economically, culturally and politically. Students will evaluate and use sources of information, using their historical knowledge to analyse the past and explain how it can be represented and interpreted in different ways.

Year 7

Students learn historical concepts such as an understanding of bias and chronology. They study the Roman Empire, focusing on the key questions "Were the Romans Civilised?" and "Why did the Roman Empire Collapse?". Year 7 students also study Britain in the Middle Ages, including the Battle of Hastings and the Black Death. Throughout these topics students develop skills in extended writing and historical skills of enquiry and causation. They will also start to examine how and why there are several different interpretations of events. 

Year 8

Students study Britain 1500-1750, including how the Tudor Monarchy changed England, the English Civil War and what life was like in Britain at this time. In the summer term, students carry out an in-depth investigation of slavery, leading on to a study of the Civil Rights movement with a focus on the roles of Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders. Students develop the historical skills of interpretation, evaluation and enquiry. 

Year 9

In Year 9 history students continue to build on their historical skills learnt throughout KS3 and apply these to the study of the Industrial Revolution and modern 20th century history. Throughout KS3 history, students will have laid the foundations for the historical skills, examination skills, and subject content for the GCSE, and as such our KS3 curriculum provides students with a sense of what is to be expected at GCSE. Students begin Year 9 by using their skills of significance to determine why the police were unable to catch the Whitechapel murderer. Following this the students examine the causes and events of World War One, the short lived peace between World War One and Two, and question how inevitable the Second World War was. Students study the Holocaust and frame their own historical enquiry. 

Key Stage 4

Students will follow the Edexcel (9­‐1) GCSE history course that includes a thematic study and a study of a historical environment, a period study, a British depth study and a modern depth study. 

A variety of individual and group work tasks will be used to deliver the curriculum, using audio‐visual evidence alongside traditional written documentation. There may be an opportunity to take part in a residential trip to Germany to visit major sites associated with Nazi Germany, including a visit to a concentration camp. 

Over the two-year GCSE, students will follow a range of topics. The first unit traces the history of migration in Britain from c800 through to the present day. The unit begins with the arrival of Viking settlements in England. The study then follows the impact of the Reformation and expansion of trade in the early modern period. Students learn the impact of Britain’s industrialisation and its growing empire during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and how this led to the arrival of migrants from its colonies and elsewhere. The unit looks at how this movement continued into the twentieth century and was encouraged by the creation of the Commonwealth, government legislation following the Second World War and global events in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The significance of these migratory episodes and the experiences of migrant groups are learnt about. As part of this unit students will also investigate the locality of Notting Hill after the Second World War, showing how it became a centre for migration from the Caribbean, and about the influence of migrants in the development of the area, as well as the wider impact of events and activism that occurred in the region.

The second unit will incorporate the British depth study and the period study. For the British depth study students will look at Anglo-­Saxon and Norman England c1060-­1088. They will assess the Norman invasion, The Battle of Hastings and the subsequent victory of William. They will then go on to look at how William secured his power and how he changed the nature of Britain.

The period students study will allow students to examine superpower relations and the cold war between 1941 and 1991. They will investigate the increasing tension between the USA and The Soviet Union after WWII and the change in international relations brought about as a result. 

The final unit is the modern depth study and will focus on Weimar and Nazi Germany between 1918 and 1939. It will look at the peace settlement in Germany at the end of WWI and the subsequent rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. 

Assessment Method 

All three units are assessed through written examinations. They will test the students’ knowledge and understanding of the course and their ability to interpret source material. Students will be required to show evidence of description, explanation, analysis and evaluation. 

Paper 1 – British Thematic Study with Historical Environment = 1 hour 15 minutes (30%) 

Paper 2 – Period Study and British Depth Study = 1 hour 45 minutes (40%)

Paper 3 – Modern Depth Study = 1 hour 20 minutes (30%) 

Future Careers 

A history GCSE will serve as a good foundation for a number of careers, particularly those that require skills of evaluation and analysis, such as research, journalism, law and the media. History qualifications are also held in high regard by institutes of further and higher education. 

Key Stage 5

At A Level students will study two very different but equally fascinating periods of the past. The breadth study will look at ‘The Tudors: England 1485 – 1603. This option allows students to study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the use of key questions including: 

How effectively did the Tudors restore and develop the powers of the monarchy? 

How did English society and economy change and with what effects? 

For the depth study they will follow the unit ‘Revolution and dictatorship: Russia, 1917–1953’. This option provides for the study in depth of the coming and practice of communism in Russia. It explores concepts such as Marxism, communism, Leninism, and Stalinism, ideological control and dictatorship. It also enables students to consider issues of political authority, the power of individuals and the inter-relationship of governmental and economic and social change. 

The two courses above will run throughout the two years and will be examined as follows: 

Component 1: Breadth study 

written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes 

three questions (one compulsory) 

80 marks

40% of A Level  

Component 2: Depth study

written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

three questions (one compulsory)

80 marks

40% of A Level

Component 3: Personal Study

3000–3500 words

40 marks

20% of A Level

marked by teachers

moderated by AQA

The Personal Study will focus on the civil rights movement in America between 1865 and 1980 and will cover the degree of change achieved by various different groups in US society. 

The aim of all of these units is for students to use historical knowledge appropriately and in a clear and effective manner. Students also demonstrate their ability to explain, analyse and reach a conclusion to a wide range of historical issues. They will develop skills in evaluation using contrasting source material and will understand how aspects of the past have been interpreted and represented in different ways.