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Townley History Teaching & Learning Curriculum History

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.


Curriculum Progression

Key Stage 3 History

At Key Stage 3 we deliver a broad curriculum of British and world history based around enquiry questions that we explore together. The curriculum is mainly chronological with year 7 exploring the medieval world, year 8 the Early Modern period and year 9 the Modern Period. However we also examine thematic enquires to enable comparisons over time. There are many opportunities for students to explore their own interests and share with their class. 

Year 7

  • ‘Who are the British?’ a history of immigration to the UK.
  • Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?’ How has castle design evolved and changed around the world
  • How did a road change the world? A history of the Silk Roads
  • How successful were the English medieval kings and queens? In this unit we also explore famous kings from around the world during the Medieval Period.
  • How did society change in the Medieval Period?
  • The Islamic Empires and the crusades
  • Independent project – ‘How similar were Medieval England or Ancient China?
  • Who was more violent the Romans or Incas?

Year 8

  • What was it like to live in the Tudor Period? How multicultural was Tudor England? Who was Henry VIII?
  • Does Mary I deserve to be called bloody?
  • Was Elizabeth I’s reign a Golden Age? In this unit we research other famous queens from around the world and explore similarities and differences with Elizabeth I.
  • Can ordinary people make a difference? People and Protest through the ages . Some of those we study include Boudicca , Sophia Duleep Singh and the Stonewall protestors.
  • How revolutionary was 17th century Britain?
  • Why did the Han Dynasty rise and fall?
  • How far did Britain change between 1750 and 1900?
  • Independent learning project – Empires around the world . This project will develop pupils’ independent research skills. Pupils research an empire of their choosing from around the world and present their work to the class.
  • London: A History. An interest led exploration into the diverse history of our capital city.

Year 9

  • What was the British Empire and its legacy?
  • The African Empires: Why did the Malian Empire rise and fall? Group presentations on empires.
  • The development of the transatlantic trade of enslaved people, Africa under British rule and African Independence.
  • What was India like before the British Empire? India under British rule and Indian independence.
  • The Anglo Irish relationship. What were the Troubles?
  • How did 20th century conflict shape the world? 
  • How and why did the Holocaust happen?
  • How did the Cold War begin?


Key Stage 4 History (GCSE)

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.
Key Stage 5 History (A Level)

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.

In Year 12 we follow the theme ‘Revolutions in early modern Europe’

Paper 1

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.

In year 13 we study our final exam paper and undertake the coursework

Paper 3

We explore the Witchcraze in Europe and North America. A fascinating period in which being a witch became a capital offence and saw widespread hunts and executions. We explore the Pendle Witch families of Old Demdike and Old Chattox, the Bamberg Witch Hunt of Germany and the Salem Witch Trials of North America. We also study the rise of sceptical opinion and the Scientific Revolution. This topic incorporates sources and essay skills and is examined in a 2 hour and 15 minute exam.


This independent task is set on Nazi Germany. Pupils are free to choose their own question and research independently. This is assessed by a 4,000 word essay.


Student Testimony

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.
Gloria, 11 Hera

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

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.
Fathia, 11 Artemis


"I like it because it is interesting and factual. It helps me to learn and appreciate the past."
Lucila 8 Hera

"I enjoy history because it teaches us a lot about the past and how our ancestors used to live, and we can compare to the modern period."
Omolara 8 Hera 

"I enjoy the GCSE History greatly. Our areas of study are engaging and surprising relevant! I particularly enjoyed the Cold War topic as it helped expand my general knowledge and develop my views on politics and international relations. My writing and debating skills have improved and I'm now more passionate about the past."
Shruti 11 Artemis



Left Photo: Year 9  Visit from Holocaust survivor Uri Winterstein (July 2022)
Right Photo: Year 7 Visit to Hall Place (June 2022)


Related Careers

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.


Why choose History?

  • It is a very useful and academic subject with many transferable and the type that employers and universities are looking for
  • It is part of the English Baccalaureate
  • The Department has a consistent success record in helping students achieve strong exam results.
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