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Principles for the curriculum 

Our carefully designed KS3 History curriculum aims to give all students a broad understanding of key aspects of British and World History. It enables our students to understand the processes and events that have helped to shape the world in which we live, encompassing international, national and local dimensions. Finally, our engaging KS3 curriculum supports the successful further study of the discipline at KS4 (and beyond) by developing key skills and nurturing curiosity about the past. 

Research evidence 

Much of the recent debate about secondary history teaching has focused on maintaining the status and academic rigour of the subject. In terms of KS3 structure, most secondary schools still opt for a broadly chronological approach to the arrangement of their history units.  Developing a sense of chronology is a core skill that we seek to develop within our historians, so this makes sense. Within this structure, however, many other schools provide opportunities for students to explore specific themes over time, e.g. medicine, warfare, the development of democracy and civil liberties, and this is an element that we are keen to extend further in terms of our KS3 provision. Naturally, most schools prioritise British history and, whilst we do too, it is recognised that events and developments in world history must not be overlooked as a consequence of this. Balance is important. 

Frameworks/guidance within which we must work 

The National Curriculum suggests history content that primary and secondary schools might teach, and we have always used this as a starting point with our KS3 curriculum. We continue to do this, although we recognise that, as an academy, we have considerable freedom in the shaping of our curriculum. The Holocaust is the only historical event whose study is deemed compulsory in the National Curriculum. While academy schools do not have to follow this, it is assumed that they will deliver Holocaust education as part of a “balanced and broadly based” curriculum. We will continue to teach this most important of historical topics. 

What does KS2 liaison work tells us the students’ starting points are? 

Experience demonstrates that the students who come to us have had very different experiences of learning history. The key focus of Year 6 is on literacy and numeracy, and when history is covered, the topics that are studied are very varied. Popular project-based topics include discreet topics such as the Great Fire of London and the experience of British civilians during the Second World War. 

Assessment objectives at KS4 and how we can support this in KS3 

AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key features and characteristics of the periods studied. 

AO2: Explain and analyse historical events and periods studied using second-order historical concepts (causation, consequence, similarity, difference, change, continuity and significance).  

AO3: Analyse, evaluate and use sources (contemporary to the period) to make substantiated judgements in the context of historical events studied.  

AO4: Analyse, evaluate and make substantiated judgements about interpretations (including how and why interpretations may differ) in the context of historical events studied. 

Evidently, we need to ensure that each KS3 teaching block enables students to demonstrate these four skills and to build upon them as they progress through the key stage. This will involve students, for example, handling more complex sources in Year 8 than they do in Year 7. 

What broader knowledge will support their continued learning in this subject? 

There are four units of study in our GCSE course: 

  • PAPER 1: Medicine in Britain, c1250 – present and Historic Environment: The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–1918. It is beneficial for students to have a broad, chronological understanding of British History from c1250 to the present, a familiarity with terms like “Medieval”, the “Renaissance”, and the “Industrial Revolution”, an appreciation of some elements of change and continuity across the period of British history such as technology, religion and the impact of warfare. It is also important for students to have a grounding in the First World War as a history topic in itself, in particular, the experience of soldiers fighting in the trenches. 
  • PAPER 2: Period study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–1991. It is beneficial for students to have a clear understanding of the differences between capitalism and communism (in theory and in practice) and an appreciation of some of the features of, and main events within, the Cold War.
  • PAPER 2: British depth study: Early Elizabethan England, 1558 – 1588. It is beneficial for students to have a clear understanding of the differences and tensions between Catholics and Protestants in Tudor England and a broad appreciation of some of the key features of Elizabethan England, e.g. politics, society, European rivalry and early colonialism. 
  • PAPER 3: Modern depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918 – 1939. As with paper 1, it is beneficial for students to have an understanding of the significance of the First World War with a focus, in this case, on the impact upon Germany. Students will also benefit from their study in Year 8 of the causes of World War Two and the Holocaust. 

How do we provide opportunities for students to show progress?  

We will ensure that the key assessment skills (see assessment objectives above) feature in each teaching block. Students will frequently have opportunities to explore concepts such as “significance” and “consequence” whilst developing their skill at handling primary source evidence and historical interpretations.  

Use the page navigation on the left to navigate between year groups.

Year 7

Autumn Term

The Norman Conquest c1066 – 1087

Conquest and control

Life in Medieval England c1087 – 1485

Village Life, the Black Death

Spring Term

Tudor England 1485 – 1603

Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I

Stuart period 1603 – 1714

Gunpowder Plot, Civil War

Summer Term

British Empire c1550 – c1900

Where, why, how?


Britain’s role in the Transatlantic slave trade c1560 – c1830


Year 8

Autumn Term

The Industrial Revolution c1760 – c1840

Economic transformation

Life in Victorian England 1837 – 1901

Social consequences of industrialisation

Spring Term

The Era of the First World War c1900 – 1918

Causes of war and impact

Inter-war years 1918 – 1939

Rise of dictatorships, backdrop to World War 2

Summer Term

Second World War 1939 – 1945

Impact of war, key turning points

The Jewish Experience and the Holocaust 1933 – 1945

Escalation of persecution

Year 9

Autumn Term

Protest in the Twentieth Century:

Britain – the struggle for the right to vote

Protest in the Twentieth Century:

US – Black Civil Rights Movement

Spring Term

Protest in the Twentieth Century:

South Africa: the campaign against Apartheid

Protest in the Twentieth Century:

Britain – the campaign for LGBT Rights

Summer Term

Protest in the Twentieth Century:

County Durham – the Miners’ Strike of 1984

Protest in the Twentieth Century:

People Power and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe

Year 10

Autumn Term

Thematic Study (Medicine in Britain c1250 – present)

Spring Term

Thematic Study & Historic Environment (Medicine on the Western Front, 1914 – 1918)

British Depth Study: Early Elizabethan England 1558 – 1588

Summer Term

British Depth Study: Early Elizabethan England 1558 – 1588

Modern Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 – 1939

Year 11

Autumn Term

Modern Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 – 1939

Spring Term

Period Study: Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941 – 1991

Summer Term


GCSE Examinations

Year 12

Autumn Term

Britain: 1900-1951 including in-depth enquiry on 1900-1918 period

Spring Term

The Crusades and the Crusader states

Summer Term

Year 13

Autumn Term

Russia in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Tsars and communists

Spring Term


Summer Term


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Name Position

Amanda is Chair of the Excel Academy Trust Board. Amanda became a parent governor in 2009 and has enjoyed several responsibilities across this time including being Chair of the Achievement and Standards committee, a member of the Excel Academy Audit committee, and most recently has been appointed as a Member of the Excel Academy Partnership. Her career started out with the Halifax Building Society where she worked as a mortgage advisor for 20 years, before entering the political arena. Amanda is a County Councillor for Durham County Council, representing Framwellgate and Newton Hall ward. Amanda was formerly a student at Framwellgate School Durham, where she met her husband and many other friends, as well as taking on the responsibility of being Deputy Head Girl. Amanda is passionate about the school and local area and is actively involved in the school at every opportunity.

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