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.

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 effects of the Black Death and how this led to fundamental changes in English life. Our study continues with an examination of the Tudor monarchs and finish Year 7 by studying the Stuart era and the turbulence caused by teh Civil War

Year 8:

Year 8 builds on the skills learnt in Year 7, while introducing new source based studies to student’s historical understanding. Our chronological approach continues by investigating the British Empire’s rise and fall. This leads into source enquiries focused on World War One and World War Two. We take this opportunity to use a field visit to the Battlefields in Ypres to enrich students’ understanding of this the Great War. Year 8 will then culminate in a study of the Civil Rights Movement in America during the 20th century. 

Year 9:

Year 9 begins with a topic from the History GCSE, popular with many students. Term 1 allows students to investigate the historic environment of Whitechapel in the 19th century with a case study into the Jack the Ripper investigation. Year 9 students will also complete an in-depth study on the Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany. This popular topic will give students a feel for the GCSE course offered at Cornwallis Academy, and support their option choice process. The last term of Year 9 is dedicated to the teaching of the Holocaust. Students will learn this topic through using contemporary sources and eyewitness accounts in order to gain an insight into this terrible atrocity.

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 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 and 11:

In Year 10, students will study two depth period studies: one British and one international. Our British study will be ‘Early Elizabethan England, 1558-1588’ which explores the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, her challenges from home and abroad and the changes that are made in society. Our International study will be ‘Superpower relations in the Cold War, 1941-1991’ which explores the origins, crises and end of the Cold War.

In Year 11 students will study the British thematic study: ‘Crime and Punishment through time, c1000-present day’. This unit will also feature a historical environment investigation with a focus on ‘Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime and policing’. Students will also expand on the Nazi Germany topic studied in Year 9 in order to prepare for the examinations.

Assessment at Key Stage 4:

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

Paper 1 – Modern Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, c1918-1939 – 30% - 1hr 15min examination.

Paper 2 -  Period study and British depth study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91 & Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88 – 40% - 1hr 45 min examination.

Paper 3 - Thematic study and historic environment: Crime and punishment through time, c1000–present – 30% - 1hr 15min examination.

Throughout the course, students will be 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.

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.

Unit 2 – The American Dream (1945-1980)

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

This module allows students to select a topic of their choice. Through mentoring and support lessons, students will independently research and investigate their chosen theme.

They will use primary and secondary source material to produce a 3,500-word investigation which is internally assessed.


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

Unit 1 = 40% of the A Level Course assessed in a 2hr 30min examination

Unit 2 = 40% of the A Level Course assessed in a 2hr 30min 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.