Curriculum Subjects



See our History Curriculum below at Bentley Wood for KS3, KS4 and KS5

KS3 | History

Course Aims:

“The function of the historian is neither to love the past nor to emancipate himself from the past, but to master and understand it as the key to the understanding of the present.”

E. H. Carr (Historian and Writer)

History is one of the most commonplace subjects: it is all around us. Its popularity in books, films and television testifies to its instant appeal, reflecting our enjoyment in a good story, a hunger for knowledge of the past and a desire to develop our understanding of where we have come from.

The study of History not only provides the opportunity to understand the past but also valuable training in the skills of significance, diversity, interpretations, chronology, cause and consequence and change and continuity as well as an analysis of a wide range of source material, to reach a reasoned judgement.

At Bentley Wood we aim to provide an experience that will stimulate our students and develop a life-long interest in the subject. Employers and academic institutions place a high value on skills developed through the study of History. Above all, History helps us to think logically and put forward reasoned arguments.

History is a well-established subject which can serve as an appropriate academic springboard into a wide variety of courses in higher education and a diverse range of jobs. History graduates are recruited successfully into a considerable range of occupations, which include the law, civil service and international relations, administration and management, as well as teaching, archival work, and journalism. Discerning political leaders and employers have always valued the training history provides.

Year 7

In Year 7 we immerse students in academic historical study through enquiry from their first few lessons. They start in line with the National curriculum in 1066 studying William the Conqueror and the Norman invasion of England. They study themes of power and control and learn skills of analysis and evaluation through studying contemporary source material from the period.

Then, Year 7 move through a journey of medieval cultures across the world including the impact of religion in medieval England, and a study of medieval Arabic and Chinese Empires. They also look at the experience of different cultural groups in England, focusing on Jewish and Black history. Towards the later part of year 7, students study the transformation of power from Monarchy to the people in England, the Reformation and the Renaissance, and they finish by looking at 17th and 18th century Revolutions in the age of Enlightenment.

Year 8

Students in Year 8 consider the development of Empire with a key focus on how the British Empire affected the rest of the world. They study the trans-Atlantic slave trade, India and Africa with a focus on the Empire from the perspective of both Imperialists and Colonists. They move on to look at the outbreak of War in the early 20th century and the international relations of the interwar years.  As part of this study students visit Bentley Priory and investigate the role of local men and women in winning the Battle of Britain. Year 8 concludes with an investigation into genocide in the 20th century.


KS4 | History

Aim of the Course:

At Bentley Wood we believe in the importance of not just learning history, but learning from history. Understanding past events, people and their significance gives us all a better insight into the world around us. The History curriculum at Bentley Wood ensures student-centred learning that inspires them to discover, question and evaluate the past. We have a joint vision to plan and deliver an ambitious, demanding curriculum that challenges and enables all groups of students to make progress and achieve their best.

  • Learning opportunities beyond the classroom are available to all students through external visits to historical sites, internal visits from guest speakers, enrichment passports, further suggested reading for students based on individual lessons and the History Ambassadors programme. Teachers and students often explore these broader aspects of the curriculum through sharing knowledge in class and student led discussion.
  • Students focus on developing key skills, which can be transferred to any subject and can be studied in the Sixth Form and utilised to a future career path in any profession. Skills such as the ability to be an independent thinker; to critically evaluate; and to be a good problem solver with the ability to pick out relevant information and make appropriate use of it when discussing ideas and opinions.
  • Students develop written and oral communication through analysis, research, logical thinking and debate. Students learn how a series of events interact, decide between relevant and irrelevant information, evaluate interpretations, identify change over time and reach a well thought out conclusion.


 Paper 1 Wider World History:

  • America: Opportunity and Inequality 1920-1973
  • Conflict and Tension Between East and West 1945-1972

Paper 2 British History:

  • Elizabethan England 1568-1603
  • Migration, Empires and the People 790-Present Day

GCSE Topics to be studied from Year 9-11:

  1. British Depth Studies: Elizabethan England, c1568–1603
    This option allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last 35 years of Elizabeth I’s reign. The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies. A new feature of the GCSE course is the introduction of the historic environment of Elizabethan England. The study of the historic environment will focus on a particular site in its historical context and examine the relationship between a specific place and associated historical events and developments.
  2. British Thematic Study: Britain: Migration, empires and the people: c790 to the present day
    This thematic study enables students to gain an understanding of how the identity of the people of Britain has been shaped by their interaction with the wider world. It considers the invasions and conquests. It study’s the country’s relationship with Europe and the wider world. It considers the ebb and flow of peoples into and out of Britain and evaluate their motives and achievements. It considers the causes, impact and legacy of Empire upon the ruled and the ruling in the context of Britain’s acquisition and retreat from Empire.
  3. Wider World Period Study: America, 1920–1973: Opportunity and Inequality
    This period study focuses on the development of the USA during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of opportunity and inequality – when some Americans lived the ‘American Dream’ whilst others grappled with the nightmare of poverty, discrimination and prejudice. Students study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in bringing about change. Students also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.
  4. Wider World Depth Study: Conflict and tension between East and West, 1945–1972
    This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of different states and individuals and the ideologies they represented. It considers revolutionary movements during this time. It focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions that arose during the Cold War. This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and how they were affected by and influenced international relations.


This course is 100% examination. There are two written papers at the end of Year 11. Both of these are 2 hours.

Career Prospects

This course gives students a good grounding in all the skills that are needed to progress to A level History, Politics and Classics.

History is a highly respected traditionally academic subject and can lead to a career in law, journalism, the civil service, economist, archivist, researcher, police officer, publisher, social worker, teacher and any career where you need to investigate, weigh up evidence and reach a substantiated conclusion.

Employers of top business firms and graduate schemes value History highly as a degree subject and many top universities offer exciting courses.

Why should you choose GCSE History?

At Bentley Wood there is a team of highly experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated History teachers who run an interesting and dynamic course covering interesting and thought-provoking topics.

GCSE History is challenging but extremely rewarding and many of our students are vocal about how they are inspired through learning stories from the past.

The department provides a comprehensive revision programme throughout KS4 in addition to extra support that helps all students prepare for their examinations, ensuring that they reach their full potential.

Recommended Reading:

  • The Cold War John Lewis Gaddis
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
  • Women and Power – Mary Beard
  • Elizabeth the Queen – Alison Weir
  • Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck


  • Hampton Court Palace (Year 9)
  • Holocaust survivor testimony (Year 9)
  • IWM Duxford (Year 10)
  • International trip to Berlin (Year 10-13)
  • History Club/Ambassadors (Y9-11)

Revision Guides:



KS5 | History

Is History the subject for you?

If you like to think critically, to argue differing viewpoints and to know that there isn’t always a right answer then History is for you.  All we ask is that you are enthusiastic with a positive approach to learning. The current pass rate is 100% and our A2 students last year gained 100% pass grades A-C grades, while our AS students gained 100% pass grades and  90% A—C grades.  History is for you if you enjoy learning about the past.  To understand the past you will come to a far better understanding of the present.

Course content

The focus will be on Early Modern and Modern History. Component 1 is a Breadth Study and students will investigate The Tudors in England from 1485-1603. Component 2 is a Depth Study and students will investigate Democracy and Nazism: Germany 1918-1945 . These will be examined in May/June by completing two papers each of two hours and thirty minutes.

Methods of study

You will learn how to write clear, well-argued essays and how to organize, present and research. Skills of evaluating historical academia and analysing primary data will be developed throughout the course. You will learn through a variety of teaching methods including role play, online interactive content, student presentations, enrichment visits and debates in lesson.

How will it be examined?

  • AS qualification will not count towards the final grade of an A Level and be a separate qualification in its own right (Linear).
  • AS exam 2 x paper 1 hour 30 minutes
  • A Level exam 2 x papers 2 hours 30 minutes.

Career opportunities

History also offers students the opportunity to acquire and improve on many of the key skills which have been identified as a priority for Higher Education after consultation with employers.  It may surprise you to learn that historians do, in fact, provide more directors of Britain’s leading companies in proportion to the number of graduates than any other subject, outperforming law, science and engineering.  History can open doors to a whole range of careers but in particular it suites; research, law, public services, social work, leisure and tourism, marketing, journalism and all forms of media, theatre and film.  There are a number of websites and television channels dedicated to History. You may even want to become a History teacher and inspire the next generation!