KS3 History


Our vision is that all students will become knowledgeable about the past and understand the world today, so they can shape it in the future. Our ambitious KS3 History curriculum allows students to develop an understanding of the broad chronological framework of British history and also study how Britain fits into the wider history of the world. Key themes and concepts that form the backbone of substantive knowledge in our curriculum include: power, protest & democracy; religion, beliefs & values; work & economy; everyday life & conditions; Britain’s place in the world. We believe these key themes allow students to explore and understand that world around them. Students also develop disciplinary knowledge including analysing historical evidence; explaining cause, consequence, change and continuity; identifying and explaining interpretations; creating their own well-informed opinions about the past; and reflecting on how the past influences the present.

Curriculum sequence


Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5

Unit 6

Year 7

How & why did the Normans take over England?

Was medieval life “a time of death, disease, suffering & violence”?

Were Catholics dangerous traitors between 1534 and 1605?

When did monarchs lose power?

Why was Britain the first country to industrialise?

Links to summer term trip to the Black Country Museum

Was the Victorian period an “Age of Progress”? – incl. local study of Didcot & the railway


Unit 7

Unit 8

Unit 9

Unit 10

Unit 11

Unit 12

Year 8

From Sept 2020

Why have Ferguson and Olusoga disagreed about the British Empire? – incl. a study of pre-colonial African civilisation and a study of the slave trade

Was the Suffragette campaign the main reason why women first got the right to vote in 1918?

What was the most important change to people’s lives in the 20th century?

Why have people interpreted the ‘Great War’ of 1914-18 as a ‘meaningless, futile bloodbath’ for so long

“Hitler was to blame for causing the Second World War.” How far do you agree?

The Holocaust

National curriculum links

Our curriculum connects securely with the KS3 National Curriculum for History. The mandatory chronological content of the National Curriculum broadly maps onto our own curriculum, which develops and broadens it.

  • ‘Development of Church, state and society in medieval Medieval Britain 1066-1509’ is explored in Units 1, 2 and 4. This includes a reflection on students existing knowledge of pre-Norman Britain.
  • ‘The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745 is explored principally in Units 3 and 4.
  • ‘Ideas, political power, industry and empire in Britain 1745-1901’ is covered in Units 5, 6 and 7.
  • ‘Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world, 1901-present’ are learnt about in Unit 12 which specifically focuses on the Holocaust and in Units 8, 9, 10 and 11.
  • Our ‘local history study’ is part of Unit 6 and explores the impact of the railway on the town of Didcot and the surrounding area from the mid-1800s to the present day and we also cover short local history case studies in a range of other KS3 units..
  • ‘A study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments’ is explored through a sequence of lessons as part of Unit 7, focussing on west-African pre-colonial civilisations.

Meeting the needs of SEND and Pupil Premium students

In accordance with our whole school policy, History teachers place SEND and Pupil Premium students at the heart of their lesson planning.  

In History we provide for the progress of SEND and Pupil Premium students by:

  • Careful sequencing of knowledge and skills
  • Explicit teaching of key vocabulary
  • Regular quizzing and retrieval practice to aid retention of knowledge
  • Offering a choice of learning activities and resources  to allow the curriculum to be accessed in different ways
  • Resources such as lesson slides designed with SEND needs in mind
  • Prioritising SEND and PP students with subject-specific support and interventions
  • Carefully considered seating plans


Our curriculum is taught to be securely learnt. KS3 lessons include regular retrieval practice, including the use of pre-assessment revision lessons. Assessment and independent learning include using knowledge organisers as a focus on revisiting knowledge in order to consolidate and strengthen students’ confidence in tackling new ideas, knowledge and content.


Students complete formal assessments (essays or tests) at the end of every unit. Personalised Learning Checklists (PLCs) are used to mark formal assessments. Strengths and areas for improvement are identified, and students compete specific improvements to their work. Whole class feedback is also used as way to identify strengths and correct misconceptions. Spelling, punctuation and grammar errors are identified in significant pieces of work or if the teacher has specified that they are marking for literacy. Students are given time to correct these if that was the main focus of the marking. Students complete a variety of independent learning tasks including developing subject-specific vocabulary, research, knowledge quizzes and revision tasks.

Contact details:

Miss J Street and Mr N Lawton



GCSE History

This course provides a framework that allows students to:

  • extend their knowledge and understanding of specified key events, periods and societies in local, British, and wider world history.
  • engage in historical enquiry to develop as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers.
  • develop the ability to investigate issues critically and to make valid historical claims by using a range of sources.
  • develop skills of source analysis and understanding the construction and uses of historical interpretations.
  • an awareness of why people, events and developments have been accorded historical significance.

Course outline

Year 9 provides a bridge between the skills and content of KS4 History and rigours and demands of the examined GCSE. As such, students study non-examined content as part of their Year 9 study in order to support their transition.

Our KS4 course covers four units divided into two exam papers.

Paper One is entitled ‘Understanding the modern world’ and comprises of two units – ‘Conflict and tension 1894-1918: The First World War’ and ‘Germany 1890-1945: Democracy and dictatorship’.

Paper Two focuses on British history and is called ’Shaping the nation’. Again, there are two units – ‘Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day’ and ‘Elizabethan England c.1568-1603’.

How it’s assessed

Paper One – written exam of 2 hours (84 marks available) worth 50% of the GCSE.

Paper Two - written exam of 2 hours (84 marks available) worth 50% of the GCSE.

Assessment and Progression

Examination Board:   AQA

Grading system: 9-1 (9 being highest)


Students complete regular retrieval quizzes to ensure they are retaining key factual knowledge. Whole class feedback is also used as way to identify strengths & correct misconceptions. Students complete exam practice questions regularly both in class & for homework. Exam questions are marked using pre-written checklists of knowledge & skills. Students are given copies of these checklists so they are clear about what each type of exam question involves. SPaG errors are identified for correction, especially in the longest 16-mark exam answers. End of unit assessments & full mock exams are completed either in lesson time or via whole-school mock exam periods. Specific mock exam feedback is given & improvements are then made.

Progression to Post-16:

At Didcot Sixth Form we offer A level History. The exam board is Edexcel and four units are taught covering Russia 1917-1991, China 1949-76, Britain 1780-1928 and a coursework unit about the New Deal in 1930s America. A Level students continue to develop their disciplinary literacy in areas such as source analysis, the construction and use of interpretations, and communicating ideas, theories and knowledge in carefully constructed essays.

Future career links:

Studying History can equip students for a multitude of different fields of employment such as journalism, law, marketing, teaching, curating, the heritage industry, research, current affairs and much more.


Miss J Street or Mr N Lawton, Joint Heads of History



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