History at Our Lady of Sion focuses on giving students greater knowledge and understanding of key historical figures, events and developments in Britain and the wider world. These are covered both in breadth and depth.

We work with students to develop their key skills in:

  • Understanding chronology
  • Causation and consequence
  • Understanding historical significance
  • Source analysis and evaluation skills
  • Constructing historical arguments

Key Stage 3 – Year 7 to 9

Year 7 students complete a unit entitled ‘What is history?’ and then go on to study range of topics from Medieval history. Students also complete an independent project in which they examine the historical significance of a chosen individual or event.

In Year 8 students examine the Tudor and Stuart periods, focusing on religious changes and the Civil War. They follow this up with a study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its abolition, and the Industrial Revolution.

Year 9 students focus on the Twentieth Century with studies on the Great War, rise of dictatorships and Nazism, life in Nazi Germany, the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 & 11

Students who continue with History at KS4 complete the AQA GCSE History (8145). At the end of Year 11 they are examined in two exams, each 1 hour 45 minutes long.

Paper 1 – Understanding the Modern World. Students study Russia during the period 1894-1945 (Tsardom and Communism) and will also look at Conflict & Tension between East and West 1945-72

Paper 2 – Shaping the Nation enables students to understand key developments and events in the history of Britain and comprises a thematic study and a depth study with a focus on a particular historic site that changes each year.

Key Stage 5 – Year 12 & 13

Students who continue with History at KS5 complete the AQA A Level History (7041 7042). At the end of Year 13 they are examined in two exams, each 2 hours 30 minutes long, plus a non-examined assessment (coursework) of 3,500 words.

Paper 1 – The Tudors: 1485-1603 This unit is taught and assessed as a breadth study of Tudor England, coving 118-years of history from Henry VII’s consolidation of power, right through to the so-called ‘golden age’ of Elizabeth’s I’s reign and her eventual death without a Tudor heir.

Paper 2 – Democracy and Nazism: Germany 1918-1945 This unit is a study in depth of a period of German history during which a newly developed democratic form of government gave way to a dictatorial Nazi regime.

Component 3 – Historical Investigation (coursework): To what extent did America conduct an imperialist foreign policy, 1890-2004? This unit is an historical investigation of American foreign policy over a 114-year period, spanning three very different centuries. Students will learn about how America has changed from a rapidly growing industrial – yet relatively minor international power, to the world’s only superpower with more military might than all its nearest rivals combined.

Trips and Enrichment

The History Department runs a number of trips throughout the year that consolidate and enrich students’ learning. Recent trips have included:

  • Year 7 to Portchester Castle and the Mary Rose Museum
  • Year 8 to an artefact handling session on Slavery and Abolition at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
  • Year 9 to the World War One Galleries and Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London
  • Years 10-12 Battlefields Trip (Ypres and the Somme over 3 days)
  • Years 8, 12 & 13 Hampton Court Palace
  • Years 12-13 Berlin Trip (4 days)

Other enrichment activities have included a half-day History and Art workshop ‘Fragments of Family’ with Caroline Slifkin, artist and HET Outreach Educator. Year 9 students were also treated to a ‘hands-on’ Weapons of World War One session with Mr Baker.

Mr D Fish MA PGCE
Head of Humanities Faculty