At Townley Grammar School we aim to deliver a History Curriculum that helps pupils gain a deeper understanding of Britain and the wider world.  History is a subject which can fire the imagination of pupils and inspire curiosity about the past. Pupils are equipped to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.  At Townley we aim to deliver a curriculum that demonstrates the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change and the diversity of societies throughout the ages. 

Staff and Resources


The history department has 4 dedicated classrooms. The faculty is staffed by 5  teachers who between them have many years of  teaching experience.  The department has a consistent record in achieving high exam results in GCSE, A Level exams.


Key Stage 3 - Years 7-9 History


What do we learn about in Key Stage 3 History?


Year 7:

  • What was Britain like before 1066? Hastings Y7

  • Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?

  • How successful were the medieval Kings and Queens?

  • How measly were the Middle Ages?

  • How has Bexley changed through the ages?

  • Were Henry VII and Henry VIII successful kings? 


Year 8:


  • What was it like to live in the Tudor Period?
     Aztecs Y8
  • Does Mary I deserve to be called Bloody?

  • Was Elizabeth I’s reign a Golden Age?

  • Can ordinary people make a difference? (People and Protest through the ages)

  • How successful were the rulers in the 17th century?

  • Who was more violent the Romans or the Incas?

  • How far did Britain change between 1750 and 1900?


Year 9:


Map Empire Y9

  • Should Britain apologise for its Empire? (Depth studies on slavery and the Empire in India)

  • How did 20th century conflict shape the world? (World War One, the rise of the Nazis and World War Two)

  • How and why did the Holocaust happen?

  • How did the Cold War begin?




Key Stage 4 - GCSE History


Why choose History?


  • It is a very useful subject and the type that employers and universities are looking for

  • It is part of the English Baccalaureate which the best universities want

  • It is referred to as a facilitating subject which means that even if you do not want to do history afterwards it is a well-respected subject

  • The Department has a consistent success record in helping students achieve strong exam results for example in 2013,   80% of students got an A* or A grade


Course Overview:

History spans all cultures, eras, seasons and environments and is an immovable factor that can be called upon for knowledge and insight into how the world got to the point it is at now and how it will continue to develop in future. It will fire your curiosity and imagination, moving and inspiring you with the dilemmas, choices and beliefs of people in the past. It helps you to ask and answer questions of the present by engaging with the past.

Your studies will span a 1000 year period and provide a varied and exciting course. The skills that you will develop over the two year course are valuable and transferable beyond the study of History. Your skills of analysis, debate and evaluation will all be developed, along with your ability to write coherently and convincingly. These skills are useful for a wide range of future areas of study and careers. Lesson activities are varied and include discussion, presentations and debate.


Assessment Structure:


There are 3 papers which are all examined at the end of year 11:

  1. Paper 1.   Crime and Punishment in Britain, c1000 – present.    In this unit we will study the nature of crime and punishment in the medieval period which includes topics such as; the use of trial by ordeal, the witch craze, the creation of the police force and the modern day and the abolition of the death penalty. Our in depth case study looks at Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper. This paper is worth 30% of the qualification.

  2. Paper 2.   Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941-91 and  Early Elizabethan England 1558 - 88.   In our period study  Superpower relations and the Cold War 1941-91 we look at the relations between the USA and USSR and how tensions increased in this period. How the world nearly descended into nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis and how a city was physical divided for nearly thirty years by the Berlin wall. The course ends with the collapse of communism and the USSR. Our British depth study looks at the challenges Elizabeth I faced including religious dissent, her cousin Mary Queen of Scots and possible Spanish invasion. We also explore Tudor society at the time and the voyages of discovery to the New World. This paper is worth 40% of the qualification.

  3. Paper 3.  The USA 1954-1975: conflict at home and abroad. This paper charts the struggle for Civil Rights in the USA from the Jim Crow law and Segregation to the Civil Rights Acts and the role of Martin Luther King. We also study the increasing US involvement in Vietnam, which led to increasing opposition and the role of the media in documenting this war. This paper is worth 30% of the qualification.


Student Testimony:

Gloria, 11 Hera   “GCSE History is a great chance to expand on not only your knowledge of the world but your writing skills as well. I have learnt to develop my analytical and organisational skills. History is my favourite subject and there is no doubt I am taking it for A Level. ”

Faith, 11 Hera    “History covers a range of topics that are all quite different but always interesting. The Cold War topic was my favourite”

Fathia, 11 Artemis   “I like all the different topics in GCSE History, I especially enjoyed the more recent topics such as the civil rights movement. It is interesting to learn about things that happened not that long ago and still have an effect today. The skills I gained in History have helped me in my other essay based subjects.



Related Careers / A Level Progression:


The skills that you will develop over the two year course are valuable and very well respected by universities as a facilitating subject.  They will help you to make informed judgements. These skills are useful for a wide range of future areas of study and careers. Many students study History and then go on to work in the legal field, accountancy, journalism, teaching, research - there are so many careers which History is useful for and  you can do well in it and this is what colleges, universities and employers are looking for.

To do A Level History you will need to achieve a grade B at GCSE.



Key Stage 5 - A Level History


Q:  But what use is history to me?  It's all about the past - how will it help me get a job?


History IS both interesting AND useful!


As a History student, you will never experience the events that you study; instead you have to build up a picture from the evidence that has been left. You have to become skilled at asking questions, sometimes awkward questions; you will learn not to take everything at face value. You have to develop empathy and understanding of the actions and achievements of others; you have to be prepared to put your case and argue it well; you have to use evidence to draw conclusions and make judgements. These skills are highly desirable in many different careers and A -Level History is excellent training for any career where you have to use evidence or make decisions, especially where those decisions affect other people.

History students are not just limited to "becoming another history teacher" (unless they want to of course!) Nor are they destined to gather dust in a museum or library (again unless they want to!) There are so many careers out there that require the skills that a study of history can bring; law, medicine, business, finance, accountancy, tourism, town planning, politics, journalism, research to name but a few!


Q: But I don't want a career in history, I just like the subject, so what use will it be to me?


Historians are trained to look for bias and prejudice in all the evidence they study. They know that human beings often have strong views on many subjects, which may affect the statements they make. There is no other subject that deals so well with sorting out what is useful and reliable evidence and what must be sifted out than history. Imagine believing everything you read in the papers, or believing every statement that politicians make! History helps you to make decisions about other people and to decide if you trust what they say.

If you enjoy history, it can lead you to a great future. Look at Dermott Murnaghan, journalist, David Sainsbury, Chairman of Sainsbury's, Diane Abbott, MP and broadcaster. You can also count the likes of Melvin Bragg, Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, Monty Python's Michael Palin, Sacha Baron Cohen (AKA Ali G) Louis Theroux, Jonathan Ross, John Prescott, Gordon Brown, Al Murray and Cold Play's Chris Martin among other history graduates!



 The skills developed in history are transferable, highly valued by employers and make you a good prospect:

  • Flexibility
  • Asking questions

  • Making Judgements

  • Understanding people

  • Problem solving

  • Report writing skills - analysing, selecting, organising and communicating clearly. Critical analysis - of events, people, documents.
  • Your ability to communicate: both spoken and written.

  • Logical thought processes - the ability to work out why things happen, to establish theories and back them with evidence.
  • Reference skills

Since many of the issues studied in History do not have clear and easy explanations, while you are studying the topic you will have the chance to become more skilled at reasoning, deduction, and at organising and evaluating information.

Finally, as a result of having to defend your opinions and conclusions in class discussion, you will find yourself with many chances to develop your own self-confidence.


How will I be taught?

 You will have different teachers for different parts of the course

In Year 12 you will cover papers 1 and 2.

In Year 13 you will cover paper 3 and 4 - the coursework element.

All four units need to be sat at the end of year 13 to attain an A level in the subject.

What will we do in lessons?

 You will do lots of different things in your lessons- group work, independent study, peer assessment, presentations, debates/discussions, practice papers, planning responses, investigating sources. You will have different teachers for different parts of the course.

What resources are available?

 You will have a wide range of resources. Each student will be issued with a standard text book for the separate elements of the course. There will also be resources on the VLE which you are encouraged to use as much as possible

What support is available?

 We always try to support our students as much as possible. Students are encouraged to self-review through their tracking sheets. Teachers see students individually to review work. We carry out targeted revision classes, usually related to skills and general classes. We will always assist individual students with any concerns.


Year 12:

Assessment Structure:

Paper 1:

In Lower Sixth we follow the theme ‘Revolutions in early modern Europe’

In Paper 1 we study ‘Britain, 1625 -1701: conflict, revolution and settlement’ exploring the turbulent period of British History which saw the execution of the monarch, a short lived republic and the Glorious Revolution.  This paper is the breadth study with a question focused on interpretations and the exam lasts 2 hours 15 minutes.

Paper 2: 

In Paper 2 we study Russia in revolution 1894-1924, a period which saw the end of Tsarist rule and The Bolshevik revolution. This paper is a depth study, again this will involve both source work and an essay. This will be examined by a paper which lasts 1 ½ hours.


Year 13:

Assessment Structure:

Paper 3 develops source skills further and tests understanding of both change over time and in depth knowledge. The probable topic will be the Witch Craze in Europe and North America.

You will also complete a coursework assignment which will be based on investigation into the views of historians, the probable topic will be the Nazi Dictatorship. 


Related Courses and Careers:

History works very well with a wide variety of other subjects and teaches a range of skills. Students often study History along with other Humanities subjects, Politics, Economics, English, Modern Languages and many others. The skills are transferrable and History is regarded as a facilitating subject by the top universities.  The skills taught therefore prepare students for a wide variety of careers including the Legal Profession, Journalism, Teaching, the Civil Service and Business.



History is not an easy option but most students enjoy it and do well. The most important advice is to keep up with the work- adopt an approach which works for you and manage your time effectively. Learn from your mistakes, do not be discouraged as you come to terms with the skills needed, your GCSE will have prepared you well. Most importantly revise early and be thorough- plan and write practice essays and responses.


How can I find out more?


Ask any of the teachers in the History department- ask students in Year 12 or Year 13 who study the subject. Your course will be different but they will help you to understand what it is like to study History at Townley.  Your GCSE teacher knows you best so ask them what they think about you doing the subject at A level.






In Key Stage 3 the department runs several clubs for students to attend these are:

  • Year 7 Horrible histories club

  • Year 7 Debating club

  • Year 7 also visit local places of interest such as Hall Place as part of their curriculum.

  • Year 9 meet a Holocaust Survivor

  • Year 10 go on a Jack the Ripper tour of Whitechapel

  • Some Year 12 students have the opportunity to visit Auschwitz concentration camp.


In Key Stage 4 and 5 the department organise Revision Classes for their exam students and these regularly run during the school year.

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