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Woodbridge High School

Woodbridge High School


‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’

Georges Santayana

The Aims Of The History Department

  • To nurture an interest in the past
  • To enable students to think imaginatively about the past and reach substantiated conclusions about a number of issues
  • To enable pupils to understand the present through an exploration of the past
  • To develop critical thinking skills
  • To encourage students to explore a range of different viewpoints on key issues
  • To transform students into independent learners who will be able to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world
  • To enable pupils to explore History beyond the classroom
  • To foster links between History and other disciplines where appropriate
  • To encourage students to become confident reflective thinkers
  • To inspire students to want to do History at university

Why Study History?

Perhaps the most important reason for studying History is because you find it to be an interesting and enjoyable subject. Investigating the past will provide you with an opportunity to explore exciting and dramatic events. It will introduce you to lively and controversial characters and you will get a chance to see how people have reacted in difficult and extreme circumstances. In short it will entertain and engage you because you will be involved in uncovering dramatic stories about the human experience across different historical periods. 

The study of History allows students to develop high order skills which will be useful in a variety of different contexts; students become historically literate about the society in which they live which means they can interpret and place the events occurring around them in historical context and they can confidently and intelligently participate in debates about the key events unfolding in today’s world. 

Historians can gather information in a skilful manner which means that if asked to undertake a research project in the workplace people who have studied History will not be intimidated by the prospect of having to find information from unfamiliar sources. In addition to this they will be able to process, evaluate and prioritise information as well as being able to detect bias and deconstruct propaganda. They will not just take information or people at face value and they will be both insightful and able to think critically about information. Historians learn to weigh up different viewpoints and make measured judgements about complex topics. They can think on their feet and are not intimidated by challenges. This makes them suitable for a wide range of careers in law, government, politics, journalism and education.

KS3-Years 7-9 

Our KS3 curriculum is broken up into enquiries; these enquiries last from 3-5 lessons and have an overarching enquiry question which students will be equipped and able to answer at the end in an outcome activity. All enquiries are centered on one of the historical second order concepts; cause and consequence, change and continuity, similarity and difference, significance, historical interpretations, and evidential thinking. We begin in 1066 with Year 7 and end with the present day in Year 9.

Year 7 students begin their History course with their first enquiry helping them to improve, or introduce them to historical skills such as chronology, using evidence and identifying long and short term causes of events. We then begin our narrative in 1066; the Norman Conquest, students will be presented with enquiries exploring why 1066 was a turning point and how life changed for the people of England afterwards. Next, we examine Medieval life before looking elsewhere to see what else was happening with enquiries on the Mongol and Mali Empires. We bring the Students back to England in time to see the effects that the Tudors had, we get them questioning why exactly Charles lost his head, why women began to be persecuted during the Witch Craze and conduct a local history study.

Year 8 students continue their historical journey by turning to Africa to contrast European attitudes and beliefs of what it was like there with the reality, using the case study of the Assante Kingdom. From this, we explore the origins of the slave trade, look in detail at the experiences of enslaved people before debating the reasons why the slave trade came to an end. Students utilise this knowledge as we return to Britain to understand the origins and motivations for the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions, before looking at the impact these had on the people of Britain. Students then begin a series of enquiries dedicated to the First World War; we examine the causes, we study key events and its conclusion along with an enquiry asking ‘Was WW1 a white man’s war?’ to challenge commonplace attitudes and stereotypes. From here we take a more focused look at Ireland to uncover the reasons for the rise of nationalism, the partition and the Troubles and results after the Good Friday Agreement. Year 8 students conclude the year with a final enquiry on the women of the History we have studied. We ask, have they been absent or has their contribution been erased?

Year 9 students begin their final year of KS3 History with a detailed look into the concept of democracy; how did it grow stronger in Britain but weaker elsewhere in Europe? Students will then investigate the causes of the Second World War, before we ask them to judge the most significant development of WW2. Naturally our next enquiry here is the Holocaust, examining how persecution for Jewish people escalated in the period 1933-45. From here, we move to the Middle East analysing the key developments to explain why there was, and continues to be conflict there. Year 9 concludes their historical journey with a final enquiry on Post-War immigration, comparing the experience of Black and Asian people in Britain with the experience of black and Asian people elsewhere in the world.

KS4 – GCSE (Edexcel History) 

The GCSE course will have a focus on both the twentieth century world and British Medieval history. We begin in Year 10 exploring the origins of the Cold War- including flashpoints such as the building of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Our students then travel further back in time to Tudor England to assess the early reign of Elizabeth I, from 1558-1588. Students will look at Elizabeth’s problems she encounters as she begins her reign and throughout including her complicated relationship with Spain and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. Our next unit is a breath study of Crime and Punishment in the UK between 1000-present day. This study truly allows our students to assess change over time; looking at how the nature of crimes, trials and punishment transformed over a thousand-year period. The final unit of our GCSE course is Nazi Germany 1919-1945. Students will explore the downfall of the first democracy in Germany; the strengths and weaknesses of the Weimar Republic and, of course, Hitler’s rise to power in 1933.

 The GCSE course includes NO coursework and all units are assessed via examination.

KS5 – A-Level (AQA History paper 1J and 2G) 

Our History A level offers an exciting range of material that allows students to reflect upon modern day and current developments and movements. Our A Level is comprised of three modules: The British Empire, Birth of the USA and Civil Rights in America. The ‘British Empire’ module is based around the growth and development of imperialism with a heavy focus on Africa and India and serves as our breadth’ study. The module is assessed through the use and understanding of historical interpretations based upon this controversial and much debated piece of history, and through students’ analysis and evaluation of events.

The Birth of the USA is ourdepth’ study, a more concentrated look at the 41 years it took for the original 13 colonies to sever their links with Great Britain and establish their new nation. This study explores the concepts of imperialism, mercantilism and legitimate government; alongside the exciting events that surround the creation of the USA we know today. This module is assessed through the use and understanding of primary sources, and through students’ analysis and evaluation of events.

Our final module is our non-exam assessment (NEA), this is an independent historical investigation that students undertake which will be based on Civil Rights in America 1917-present day.

Future Pathways

Students who have studied History are ideally suited to pursue careers in a wide range of areas, including, law, journalism, government, finance and education.