At Hillcrest we have very high expectations of our students. Great emphasis is placed on hard work, achievement and high standards of behaviour.



The topics studied in Key Stage 3 will give students a good grounding in the story of Britain from the Norman Invasion to present day.  We will focus on particular questions of cause and consequence, change and continuity and significance, building up analytical historical skills.  Students will also complete some wider-world studies to give them a broader perspective, as well as a local history study.

To prepare students for later, more in-depth study of history, the modules we study will be a mixture of development studies, which look at change and continuity over a long period of time, and depth studies, which focus on a particular question of causation or significance.  We will also develop skills of analysing primary source material and historical interpretations.


Year 7
Year 7 (Autumn) Term 1How did Birmingham change from a small village to a multicultural city? This local history study will introduce students to important historical concepts and methods: primary sources, historical interpretations, change and continuity, cause and consequence and significance. The work done in this unit will form the basis of the Year 7 Baseline Assessment. It ties in with local studies in the other Humanities subjects – Religion in Birmingham and the Geography of Birmingham. What have been the changes and continuities in everyday life in the UK? This study will look at developments over a long period of time – more than 1000 years. Students will study changes and continuities over that time and will be asked to compare different time periods.
Year 7 (Spring) Term 2How did William conquer England? This unit will look at the epic tale of conquest that was the Norman Invasion. Students will analyse the different ways that William I conquered England, evaluating the importance of different methods. What was the most significant moment in Medieval England? In this unit, students will study different events in Medieval England, such as the Murder of Thomas Becket, Magna Carta, the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt, and will compare their significance. This will involve an analysis of how important they were at the time as well as their continuing importance in the modern day.
Year 7 (Summer) Term 3Why was religion a problem in Early Modern England? The Early Modern Period – c.1500-c.1750 – was a period of religious upheaval in Europe. The focus will be on England, but students will also put the religious changes in the context of Early Modern Europe. Ancient history study, focusing on Egyptology. For this unit, students will get to grips with some of the important aspects of ancient history, studying a fascinating society and power structure, and even deciphering some hieroglyphs.

Year 8
Year 8 (Autumn) Term 1How has political representation in the UK changed? This study will look at developments over a long period of time. Students will study changes and continuities over a long period of time and will be asked to compare different time periods. It will help them to understand the political system in modern Britain. How were slaves treated in the Transatlantic Slave Trade? This was one of the darkest moments in British history. Starting with a look at Africa before colonisation, students will focus on the first-hand testimonies of slaves and build up a picture of their brutal treatment and their struggle for freedom.
Year 8 (Spring) Term 2Was the British Empire a force for good? This is a question that has divided academic historians. Students will get to grips with the disagreements that historians have about the British Empire, and will weigh a lot of examples to decide which perspective is best supported by the evidence. What was the most important factor in causing the Industrial Revolution? Britain went through huge changes to industry and economy in the 19th century. In this unit, students will study the different reasons that Britain was able to industrialise – from individuals to natural resources – and reach a judgement about which factor was most important.
Year 8 (Summer) Term 3International relations: why was there so much conflict in the 20th century? Two World Wars occurred within 30 years in the 20th century. What contributed to this devastation? Students will look at important personalities as well as broader structural changes that caused this to happen, from the Naval Race between Britain and Germany to the Manchurian Crisis in China. Wider world depth study, focusing on Asian history In this unit, students will get to grips with a completely different culture. This will give them a broader historical perspective.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum




Exam board website: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/by-subject/history/

Course Content

GCSE History enables students to build on the key Historical skills and processes learned during their Key Stage 3 study. There are five elements of study; a thematic study, a period of study, a British depth study, a wider world depth study and a study of the historic environment.

Students embark on a study of health and medicine in Britain for their thematic study: developments in health and medicine will be traced over a period of more than 1000 years.  The wider world depth study is Germany 1890-1945: this study takes Germany through three very different periods in history – monarchy, democracy, and dictatorship.

Next, students will study the reign of King Edward I for their British depth study, along with a study of a historic site linked to Edward’s reign.  Finally, students will study international relations in the period between the two World Wars.  This includes efforts to keep peace throughout the world and the eventual build-up of tension and outbreak of the Second World War.


Assessment Details

The assessment for GCSE History takes place in two examinations at the end of Year 11. Different historical skills are tested in each paper.  Each paper is worth 50% of the GCSE.

Paper 1: Germany 1890-1945 and the Interwar Conflict and Tension 1918-1945

Paper 2: Health and the People c.1000-present and the Reign of Edward I 1272-1307

The assessments test the following assessment objectives:

AO1: ability to recall knowledge and understanding

AO2: ability to explain concepts like cause and consequence, change and continuity, and significance

AO3: ability to analyse sources

AO4: ability to analyse historical interpretations

Why Study This Course?

In History you will learn about people, countries, cultures, and societies – you will learn about a huge range of people and societies from medieval kings to 20th-century dictators and everything in between.  You will learn to sift through information and present what you’ve learned in a way that makes sense to other people.

Furthermore, History uses a number of key skills such as chronological thinking, comprehension, analysis and interpretation, research skills and decision making.  These skills will help you with other subjects, as well as leading on to a wide range of opportunities for your education and career options after your GCSEs.