Gumley House School




Head of Department:  Mrs B Thompson


The History curriculum at Gumley House provides students with a combination of key disciplinary and substantive knowledge to enable learners to be open to the wider world around them and develop students into empathetic young people.  History provides students with skills that are desirable both in and out of the workplace. It is highly regarded for such careers as law, journalism, civil service, archaeology and media.  A great emphasis is placed on students being able to write about their ideas, develop logical arguments and independently research from a range of evidence.  In an age of information overload, the ability to recognise and evaluate bias is a real skill and one which is uniquely developed in the History curriculum at Gumley House School.

The curriculum is designed to reflect the diversity of our student body; from exploring belief systems of indigenous peoples to the causes of 21st century conflict and tension, students benefit from a broad and balanced approach to History which encourages understanding of all individuals and cultures.  The pursuit of History at Gumley broadens our students’ understandings of the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change over time and its links to modern society, as well as unravelling the diversity within society and the relationships between different groups.  History allows students to interlink the challenges of the present with those of the past and in doing so immerse themselves within the culture of the time. In order to encourage students and develop their confidence in History a number of rewards are used which include merits, postcards and termly certificates.

The powerful knowledge imparted through the History curriculum ensures students have the opportunity to become more confident, creative, resilient and critical thinkers.  Through the critical evaluation of contemporary sources and historian’s interpretations, students are given powerful knowledge.  Students develop the confidence to undertake self-directed learning and pose their own questions and formulate their own opinions, which is a key focus of the curriculum. The ability to evaluate a source’s purpose, limitation or context is a theme which is repeated in both key stages and a major thread throughout the History curriculum.  At Key Stage 3 students study History for 2 lessons per week, and at Key Stage 4, 3 lessons every week.

Students studying History are equipped with second-order concepts including; change and continuity, cause and consequence, significance, similarity and differences.  With these skills students will be able to analyse, explain and understand the past, whilst also developing transferable skills helping them to become well rounded individuals and improve employability. Through the development of the language of the past, students become effective communicators of the present. Students study a wide range of historical periods from medieval to modern day, and study the past from a variety of standpoints to make connections and comparisons over time. Throughout both key stages, spaced recall and retrieval practice increases student’s confidence.  At Key Stage 4, students develop a greater depth of knowledge and skill, building on the skills and foundation knowledge of Key Stage 3. 

Out-of-class activities, most notably homework, is a mixture of recall to provide students with spaced retrieval practice, and project based work which is designed to extend students’ cultural capital through self-driven research of British and wider world History. This enables a deeper understanding of the past and to enable students to understand the process of change.

To further develop knowledge, History at Gumley offers a range of experiences outside the classroom environment. Past experiences have included a Key Stage 3 visit to see both Hampton Court and the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels and evaluate the personalities and limitations of different British monarchs.  We also accompany a cross curricular visit with the Religious Studies Department to Rome as well as facilitating various trips which enable participating students to experience the trenches of World War I first hand, handle contemporary artefacts and reflect upon the landscape of war.  Above all else, the emphasis at Gumley House is empowering students to learn from the mistakes of the past in order to make them reflective citizens of the future.

History students will gain skills highly valued by employers and universities, such as analytical and critical reasoning, oral and written communication and research skills that can lead into a whole range of subjects for further study. History students may go on to study; law, classics, politics, economics, the public sector, business management and finance religious studies, international relations and many more, as well as further study of History at A-level and degree level where students can specialise in more specific historical periods. Passionate Historians may continue to work in an area more directly related to the subject, such as; archaeologist, teacher, research historian, and politics.


History in Year 7

Subject Topics Covered:

  • Pre-Norman Britain
  • The Norman Conquest
  • Medieval Religion
  • The Black Death
  • The Tudors
  • The Stuarts


Skills developed:

  • We aim to help students become creative and independent thinkers who can clearly communicate their opinions to others through a wide range of activities including class discussion, written work and group work.
  • Students will learn how to use History evidence and will explore differing versions of the past.
  • Pupils will start to develop historical skills such as inference, Interpretation and reliability.
  • Students will develop their skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT through the activities undertaken throughout the year.

Books and Resources:

  • Book/Resources/Web page Modern Minds textbooks.
  • A variety of text and educational videos and books are used.
  • A wide variety of worksheets designed specifically by members of the department to support the work done in class.
  • Students are expected to provide their own pens, pencils, eraser, sharpener, and coloured pencils (felt tips should not be used).
  • A full bank of resources and links are available in your Google Classroom

Home learning and assessments follow the school assessment policy.

Types of Homework
Homework in History can be a whole range of things. It may be written work, learning for a test, finding out information or explaining your ideas in a creative way.

History in Year 8

Subject Topics Covered:

  • - The British Empire
  • - Industrialisation
  • - World War One
  • - USA in the 1920s
  • - The Holocaust
  • - Race relations in the USA

Skills developed:
We look to develop the historical skills of students, a process started in Year 7. Over the year, students will develop their ability to use and interpret sources to find out about events and people. They will improve their literacy by analysing longer pieces of text and writing their own more structured and complex explanations. 

Students will analyse sources and interpretations to find out about events and people. They will further examine sources skills, inference, interpretation, reliability. They will also extend sources work by linking sources to knowledge.  By the end of the year, they will be able to handle a wide range of source material confidently and some will be able to evaluate and justifying conclusions.

Students will improve their literacy by analysing longer pieces of text and writing their own structured explanations.   Independent research and conducting historical enquiries, looking at significance and linking factors.


Books and Resources Used:

  • Modern Minds textbooks
  • Useful Websites, a variety of text and educational videos and books are used.
  • A wide variety of worksheets designed specifically by members of the department to support the work done in class
  • Students are expected to provide their own pens, pencils, eraser, sharpener, and coloured pencils (felt tips should not be used).
  • A full bank of resources and links are available in your Google Classroom

Incorporated within the Programme of Study, including the Tower of London 

Home learning and assessments follow the school assessment policy.

Types of Homework
We aim to set a wide range of homework which is project based. During a typical term, students may be asked to complete homework such as producing a piece of extended writing, research for projects.

History in Year 9

This section is currently being updated to reflect our curriculum changes from September 2021 


History in Year 10 and 11 (GCSE)

What will you learn on this course?
You will study the new History syllabus. It is a modular course made up of four elements. All assessments for the History GCSE involve extended writing.  There will be 3 exams lasting between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 45 minutes. You will complete all three exams at the end of year 11.

What is the importance of studying History?
History helps us to understand current problems in the world as they have their roots in the past. In History, we’re not obsessed with dates at all! Instead we concentrate on understanding people’s actions in the past and making more sense of the society around you today. 

History is all about the study of people and their actions. Every job includes some level of interaction with other people and, as a historian you will have real insight into human behaviour. Universities recognise the value of History and it provides an excellent foundation for studying many subjects in the Sixth Form and at degree level.

What resources and facilities are available?
A range of revision materials have been provided by the History Department, from eBooks, lesson resources and consolidation materials all tailored to the exam.

The books that accompany the course are:

  • Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Early Elizabethan England, 1558-1588 Student Book  ISBN-13: 978-1292127262
  • Crime and Punishment Through Time, C1000-Present Student Book  ISBN-13: 978-1292127361
  • Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939  ISBN-13: 978-1292127347
  • Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Superpower Relations and the Cold War, 1941-91 ISBN-13: 978-1292127279

What are the aims of the course?
History is an exciting and engaging course which is valued by employers, helps develop you as a person and is hugely enjoyable! GCSE History will build on and develop the skills you have already been using in Key Stage Three History. Your History lessons will be taught through a variety of styles, including techniques such as role-plays and simulations, constructing written and spoken reasoned arguments and debating your ideas with others.

How will I be assessed on the course?
In GCSE History, you will study:

  • Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment: Crime and Punishment in Britain, c1000-present and Whitechapel, c1870-c1900: crime, policing and the inner city. Written examination, 1 hour and 15 minutes, 30% of the qualification
  •  Paper 2:  (Section a) Early Elizabethan England (Section b) Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91. Written examination, 1 hour and 45 minutes, 40% of the qualification
  • Paper 3 Modern Death Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939. Written examination, 1 hour and 20 minutes, 30% of the qualification.


What extracurricular activities will be available?
You will be supported throughout the whole of the two year GCSE course. There are a range a revision classes and materials available, as stated above.  We will also be running a trip to Whitechapel to support the study of unit 1.

What is required of me when completing the course?
History students are able to pick out the essential information from the trivial. They are experts in reaching balanced judgements, supported by evidence. This is an excellent skill, valued by business.

History encourages you to become an independent thinker, thinking through problems without jumping to unsupported conclusions. This ability not to follow the crowd is very attractive to future employers.

You’ll enjoy this course if…
You have an enthusiasm for exploring the past and making links to the way the world is today. 

Achieving the Grade 8/9?
We support every student!  The previous year 11 achieved over 50% A-A* end of year 11 results and we have high expectations for this years’ exam classes.

What careers could I consider?
History students go on to pursue a wide range of careers, becoming TV presenters journalists, retail managers, politicians, lawyers, actors, and many more! 

What further study options are available?
At Gumley, we offer A Level History alongside Classical Civilisation & Government and Politics.  Our GCSE course will give you an excellent preparation for both of these subjects.

History at A Level

For more information on the content of History at Key Stage 5, please visit our Sixth Form Course Guide.