Head of Department

Mr D Clapp

Subject Overview

We are a team of enthusiastic and dedicated teachers who share a passion for History.  We are committed to bringing History to life for our students and making it enjoyable and accessible to all. Our aim is to foster a love of History within our students through bringing History to life and showing the impact on the local area. We use historical investigations that develop their understanding of past events and the different ways that they have been interpreted. 

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 Overview:

At Key Stage 3, we aim to inspire students’ curiosity and equip them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, and begin to analyse evidence in order to develop their own opinions of past events.  Students are encouraged to devise their own theories and find evidence to support them.  Across the three years, students develop their understanding of historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance.

Year 7:

Our study of History at Cornwallis Academy begins with a unique topic: A History of Magic. Here we help students develop their chronological understanding of time periods and examine the changing attitudes towards magic and witchcraft over time. This unit provides the framework for many topics of study at KS3 and KS4 History, but also prepares students for critical thinking and enquiry based learning.

Our journey continues in a chronological approach to embed the skills needed for a successful understanding of History. Students next examine the causes and consequences of the Norman Invasion of 1066, while being tasked with creating their own model of a Norman Castle. We develop students’ understanding of the past by examining the changing society of Medieval England with case studies on topics such as the Black Death, the Peasants’ Revolt and the Hundred Year’s War. This unit embeds key historical themes needed for a comprehensive historical understanding such as monarchy, religion, democracy and society. Our study continues with a breadth study of Tudor England, examining each Tudor monarch and analysing the changes made to England, some of which are still evident today.

Year 8:

Year 8 builds on the skills learnt in Year 7, while introducing new source-based studies to student’s historical understanding. Term 1 and 2 focuses on Stuart England. A study of the Civil War allows students to enquire into the development of British democracy, followed by studies of the developing scientific world that late Stuart England encouraged. Students also gain an understanding of how the union of crowns led the United Kingdom.

Following this, the History curriculum focuses on the Industrial landscape of the British Empire. Students will study the origins of the British Empire, including an in-depth examination of the British trans-Atlantic slave trade. After assessing the abolition of slavery, students will examine the impact of the British Empire across the world, and explore the legacy (positive and negative) of British colonialism in all corners of the World. This focus will then shift to focus on Britain in the Industrial Revolution to explore the development of British society. Year 8 will close with a case study on Policing in Whitechapel: Jack the Ripper.

Year 9:

The Year 9 focus for History is on the 20th century world. Students will begin their study with World War One, examining the causes, events and consequences of the Great War. After examining inter-war events, students will gain a concise understanding of the causes of World War Two, including a case study on the rise of the Nazis in Germany. World War Two will then be studied, focusing on events at home and abroad. Within the two war topics, students will learn, and be set projects to research the impact of the wars on Maidstone.

In Term 5 students will study the Holocaust. This topic has been designed using expertise gained from the Holocaust Educational Trust, and all History staff have had specialist training in the teaching of the Holocaust.

Year 9 will close with a social study of Britain in the post war world. We will examine key areas such as immigration from the Empire/Commonwealth (and the world), race tensions and the quest for equality in Britain, devolution in the United Kingdom and the changing role of Britain as a world power.

Assessment at Key Stage 3:

Students will be formally assessed termly throughout Key Stage 3. Each assessment will be based on the theme and skills of that unit of study, for example cause and consequence of source analysis. Students will also be assessed on their home learning tasks throughout each term. Assessments will be marked using the 9-1 grading criteria in order to embed the skills of GCSE into students’ knowledge and understanding.

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 Overview:

The History Department follows the Edexcel 9-1 GCSE History Course.


History at GCSE level is a stimulating, useful and relevant subject through which students are taught how to research effectively and understand a range of interpretations of past events.  Students are encouraged to construct arguments and debate their opinions in order to form their own judgements about the significance of historical events and the role of key individuals.  Through the course students develop the skills of explanation and analysis that are very much valued in the work place.

Students will have three lessons (1 hour each) a week of History in both Year 10 and Year 11. Homework is set weekly and is a combination of Knowledge Tests, Revision Workbooks and knowledge retention activities.

Students will also have the opportunity to visit Berlin for a residential experience to further study the impact of the Nazi regime and the Cold War on Germany. This enrichment experience takes place in Year 10.

Years 10

Students begin their GCSE study with Paper 1: British Depth Study – Crime and Punishment in Britain c1000-present day. Thisunit will also feature a historical environment investigation with a focus on ‘Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime and policing’

After Paper 1, Year 10 students will study Paper 2B, the British depth study – Early Elizabethan England, 1558-1588. This topicexplores the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, her challenges from home and abroad and the changes that are made in society.

Assessment in Year 10

  • Termly in-class assessments
  • Unit mock exams/ end of unit assessments
  • Each topic will be tested with Knowledge Tests

Year 11

Students will begin their study with Paper 3: Modern Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 to 1939.

Paper 2P is then studied which is the International Period Study: ‘Superpower relations in the Cold War, 1941-1991’ which explores the origins, crises and end of the Cold War.

Assessment in Year 11

  • Termly in-class assessments
  • Unit mock exams/ end of unit assessments
  • Each topic will be tested with Knowledge Tests
  • Academy Pre-Public Examinations

Examination at Key Stage 4:

All units will be externally assessed at the end of Year 11.

Paper 1 –– Thematic study and historic environment: Crime and punishment through time, c1000–present, and Historic Environment: Policing in Whitechapel c1870-1900 – 1hr 15min examination.

Paper 2 –  Period study and British depth study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91 & Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88 – 1hr 45 min examination.

Paper 3 – Modern Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, c1918-1939 – 1hr 20min examination.

Throughout the course, students will be internally assessed in two ways: Knowledge Tests and exam style questions. The knowledge tests will be used to track their progress in content based knowledge throughout all of the topics. The exam style questions will assess students’ understanding of the skills and requirements of the GCSE exam. These will be built into lessons to support students’ progression in skills.

Useful Information

There are plenty of excellent ways to access support for the History GCSE outside of the classroom.

BBC Bitesize offer excellent revision on their website:


Pearson also offer a range of published resources to support students’ home learning for each topic. These include:

  • Revision Guides and Workbooks
  • Target Grade 5 intervention workbooks
  • Target Grade 9 intervention workbooks
  • Exam Practice Paper Plus
  • Revision Cards


Key Stage 5

Course Title:


Examining Body:



Overview of the course:

A-level History is a subject that will broaden the inquisitive mind and foster an appetite for discussion and debate.  The History A-level is a subject in which students can discuss different views and opinions before formulating their own judgements about historical events.  Evaluation and judgement are at the heart of the History A-level and it is these skills that students utilise effectively upon continuation of their educational journey at university. 

What Will You Study:

Unit 1 – The Tudors (1485-1603)

This unit provides students with the opportunity to learn about the entire Tudor period.  Students will start with the reign of Henry VII and the consolidation of his power, followed by Henry VIII and his struggle for Royal Supremacy.  Students will also gain knowledge of his successors, Edward VI, Mary I (the ‘Mid-Tudor Crisis) and the ‘triumph’ of Elizabeth I.  Key themes that students will study include; the volatile arena of foreign policy, religious turmoil and the social changes brought about by the Tudor regimes.

This option allows students to study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:

  • How effectively did the Tudors restore and develop the powers of the monarchy?
  • In what ways and how effectively was England governed during this period?
  • How did relations with foreign powers change and how was the succession secured?
  • How did English society and economy change and with what effects?
  • How far did intellectual and religious ideas change and develop and with what effects?
  • How important was the role of key individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?

Unit 2 – The American Dream (1945-1980)

This option provides for a study in depth of the challenges faced by the USA at home and abroad as it emerged from the Second World War as a Superpower. For many Americans, post-war prosperity realised the ‘American dream’ but the prosperity was not shared by all and significant problems at home and abroad challenged the extent to which the ‘American dream’ was a reality. It explores concepts and ideas such as American identity at home and abroad, anti-communism, social equality, ethnic identities and federal versus states’ rights. It also encourages students to reflect on the nature of democracy in a pluralist society, political protest and the power of the media.

Key Questions explored in this unit are:

  • What challenges were faced by the USA at home and abroad as it emerged from the Second World War as a Superpower?
  • Was the ‘American dream’ shared by all? 
  • How far did American identity at home and abroad, anti-communism, social equality, ethnic identities and federal versus states’ rights change?

Unit 3 – Independent Historical Enquiry

Students will be required to submit a Historical Investigation based on a development or issue which has been subject to different historical interpretations.

The Historical Investigation must:

  • be independently researched and written by the student
  • be presented in the form of a piece of extended writing of between 3500 and 4500 words in length, with a limit of 4500 words
  • draw upon the student’s investigation of sources (both primary and secondary) which relate to the development or issue chosen and the differing interpretations that have been placed on this
  • place the issue to be investigated within a context of approximately 100 years

Year 12

Students will be taught Unit 1 and Unit 2 respectively in Year 12.

Unit 1 – Tudor England (1C) – Part one: consolidation of the Tudor Dynasty: England, 1485–1547

Henry VII, 1485–1509

  • Henry Tudor’s consolidation of power: character and aims; establishing the Tudor dynasty
  • Government: councils, parliament, justice, royal finance, domestic policies
  • Relationships with Scotland and other foreign powers; securing the succession; marriage alliances
  • Society: churchmen, nobles and commoners; regional division; social discontent and rebellions
  • Economic development: trade, exploration, prosperity and depression
  • Religion; humanism; arts and learning

Henry VIII, 1509–1547

  • Henry VIII: character and aims; addressing Henry VII’s legacy
  • Government: Crown and Parliament, ministers, domestic policies including the establishment of Royal Supremacy
  • Relationships with Scotland and other foreign powers; securing the succession
  • Society: elites and commoners; regional issues and the social impact of religious upheaval; rebellion
  • Economic development: trade, exploration, prosperity and depression
  • Religion: renaissance ideas; reform of the Church; continuity and change by 1547

Unit 2 – The American Dream (2Q) – Part one: prosperity, inequality and Superpower status, 1945–1963

Truman and Post-war America, 1945–1952

  • The United States in 1945 and the legacies of the world war: the powers of the presidency;
  • the main political parties; post-war prosperity; regional, ethnic and social divisions
  • The USA as a Superpower: Truman’s character and policies; post-war peace making; the Cold War and ‘containment’ in Europe and Asia; the response to the rise of Communism in Asia
  • Truman and post-war reconstruction: the economy; political divisions and domestic problems; the rise of McCarthyism
  • African-Americans in North and South: the impact of the Second World War; campaigns for Civil Rights; the responses of the federal and state authorities

Eisenhower: tranquility and crisis, 1952–1960

  • The presidency: Eisenhower’s personality and the policies of ‘dynamic conservatism’; Nixon as Vice-President; the Republican Party; the end of McCarthyism
  • The growth of the American economy in the 1950s and the impact of the ‘consumer society’ The USA and the Cold War: Superpower rivalry and conflict with the USSR; responses to developments in Western and Eastern Europe; reactions to the rise of Communism in Asia;
  • responses to crises in the Middle East African-Americans in North and South: the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement; the policies and attitudes of the main political parties; the responses of the state and federal authorities

John F Kennedy and the ‘New Frontier’, 1960–1963

  • The presidential election of 1960 and reasons for Kennedy’s ictory; the policies and personalities of the Kennedy administration; the ideas behind the ‘New Frontier’
  • Challenges to American power: the legacy of crises over Berlin and relations with Khrushchev; the challenge of Castro’s Cuba; deepening involvement in Vietnam
  • African-Americans in North and South: the rise of the Civil Rights Movement; the opponents of Civil Rights, including within the Democratic Party; Kennedy’s policies in response to the
  • pressures for change
  • The United States by 1963: its position as a world power; economic prosperity; the growing pressures for social change from women and youth

Assessment in Year 12

  • Termly in class and home-based assessments
  • Termly Knowledge Tests
  • Academy Pre-Public Exams in the Summer Term

Year 13

Units 1 and 2 will be taught respectively. Unit 3 is tutored and independently investigated and completed.

Unit 1 – Tudor England (1C) – Part two: England: turmoil and triumph, 1547–1603 (A-level only)

Instability and consolidation: ‘the Mid-Tudor Crisis’, 1547–1563

  • Edward VI, Somerset and Northumberland; royal authority; problems of succession; relations with foreign powers
  • The social impact of religious and economic changes under Edward VI; rebellion; intellectual developments; humanist and religious thought
  • Mary I and her ministers; royal authority; problems of succession; relations with foreign powers
  • The social impact of religious and economic changes under Mary I; rebellion; intellectual developments; humanist and religious thought
  • Elizabeth I: character and aims; consolidation of power, including the Elizabethan Settlement and relations with foreign powers
  • The impact of economic, social and religious developments in the early years of Elizabeth’s rule

The triumph of Elizabeth, 1563–1603

  • Elizabethan government: court, ministers and parliament; factional rivalries
  • Foreign affairs: issues of succession; Mary, Queen of Scots; relations with Spain
  • Society: continuity and change; problems in the regions; social discontent and rebellions
  • Economic development: trade, exploration and colonisation; prosperity and depression
  • Religious developments, change and continuity; the English renaissance and ‘the Golden Age’ of art, literature and music
  • The last years of Elizabeth: the state of England politically, economically, religiously and socially by 1603

Unit 2 – The American Dream (2Q) – Part two – challenges to the American Dream, 1963–1980

The Johnson Presidency, 1963–1968

  • Johnson as President: personality and policies; his pursuit of the ‘Great Society’; the impact of the Kennedy legacy; economic developments
  • Maintaining American world power: escalation of the war in Vietnam; relations between the USA and its Western allies
  • African-Americans in North and South: developments in the Civil Rights Movement; Johnson’s role in passing Civil Rights legislation; the impact of change including urban riots
  • Social divisions and protest movements: education and youth; feminism; radicalisation of African-Americans; anti-war movements; the role of the media

Republican reaction: the Nixon Presidency, 1968–1974 (A-level only)

  • The Presidential election of 1968 and the reasons for Nixon’s victory: divisions within the Democratic Party; the personalities and policies of the Nixon administration
  • The restoration of conservative social policies; the reaction to protest movements and forces of social change; economic change and the end of the post-war boom
  • The limits of American world power: peace negotiations and the continuation of the war in Vietnam and Cambodia; the influence of Kissinger on US policies towards the USSR, Latin
  • America and China
  • The Watergate Affair and its aftermath: the role of Congress; the resignation of the President; Nixon’s political legacy

The USA after Nixon, 1974–1980

  • Ford and Carter as presidents: responses to social divisions; political corruption and the loss of national self-confidence
  • The position of the USA as a world power: the final withdrawal from Vietnam; relations with the USSR and China; the response to crises in the Middle East; Iran and Afghanistan
  • African-Americans in North and South: the impact of civil rights legislation; change and continuity in the ‘New South’
  • The USA by 1980: its position as a Superpower; the extent of social and economic change; the reasons for Reagan’s victory in the presidential election.

Unit 3 Historical investigation (non-exam assessment)

The purpose of the Historical Investigation is to enable students to develop the skills, knowledge and historical understanding acquired through the study of the examined components of the specification.

Through undertaking the Historical Investigation students will develop an enhanced understanding of the nature and purpose of history as a discipline and how historians work.

The Historical Investigation contributes towards meeting the aims and objectives of the A-level specification. In particular it encourages students to:

  • ask relevant and significant questions about the past and undertake research
  • develop as independent learners and critical and reflective thinkers
  • acquire an understanding of the nature of historical study
  • organise and communicate their knowledge and understanding in a piece of sustained writing

Year 13 Assessment

  • Termly in class and home-based assessment
  • Topic Knowledge Tests
  • Academy Pre-Public Exams
  • Verbal feedback regarding the NEA investigation


A Level History examination will take place at the end of Year 13

  • Unit 1 = 40% of the A Level Course assessed in a 2hr 30min externally assessed public examination
  • Unit 2 = 40% of the A Level Course assessed in a 2hr 30min externally assessed public examination
  • Unit 3 = 20% of the A Level Course internally assessed in Year 13.

Possible Career Paths:  

History offers many exciting routes for future career paths including: journalism, education, law, TV/Film researcher, archivist, public and civil service.  History shows an employer or university that you have key literacy skills, can study independently and can analyse arguments and create your own judgements.