The History curriculum at TWGGS provides an inclusive and representative outlook at key historical events.  We aim to inspire all pupils by exploring how people from wide ranging cultures have shaped the modern world through their past actions. Pupils are challenged to investigate cause and consequence, change and continuity and to question the impact of key individuals in the past and the results of their actions both in the short and long term.

In History lessons, pupils are encouraged to discuss and challenge ideas and to ask questions to broaden their knowledge and understanding. They are taught to develop the skill of good written communication and learn how to evaluate historical evidence in a critical manner. The curriculum encompasses a study of British, European and World history.

History is a popular choice at GCSE Level and pupils study topics in greater depth and are well prepared for the demands of the examination units. The GCSE course provides a firm grounding in the skills necessary for more advanced study.

Pupils who choose History A Level develop their skills of written and oral expression and research. They are able to use these skills to study more independently and consider the validity of different historical interpretations. Several pupils decide to study History at University.

The department runs extracurricular visits throughout Key Stage 3. Sixth Form pupils have the opportunity to undertake a visit to Berlin to augment their study of German history.

Key Stage 3 History

Throughout Key Stage 3, lessons are varied; from role-play to the analysis of primary evidence, pupils are encouraged to develop their own viewpoints about the past and the way in which it has influenced our modern lives.

Year 7

Medieval History to the emergence of the Tudor dynasty

This is a very exciting start to History at secondary school, full of colourful characters and events. It is also a period of great change due to the Norman invasion, the introduction of the feudal system and the coming of the Tudor dynasty. There are also major conflicts to be seen in the challenges presented to the power of the monarchy by the church, the nobility and the peasants. It is not too much of an exaggeration to see the period as one of death and revolt! In Year 7, lessons are enriched by a variety of activities outside the classroom including a ‘medieval’ experience.

TOPIC A: The study of an aspect or theme in British history before 1066; Rulers of Britain- migrations and invasions Romans to Normans

  • Pre 1066 Britain: an overview of Britain from the fall of Rome to the eleventh century, key concepts of chronology and change, including a study of Saxon and Viking rulers.

TOPIC B: The development of Church, state and society in Mediaeval Britain 1066-1509

  • Norman Conquest, How the Normans changed England, feudalism and the development of castles
  • The Nature of Kingship and the importance of the Church.
  • Case study of Thomas Becket and Henry II
  • Case study of King John and Magna Carta
  • Medieval life, including a Mediaeval Experience and Mediaeval Life Enquiry Project
  • The rise of the Tudors

Year 8

The Tudors to the Victorians

This year initially follows the fortunes of the Tudors and Stuarts. In the early part of Year 8 learning is enriched and stimulated by a visit to Hampton Court Palace. The year includes the key factors in the development of Britain into a modern nation including the rise of parliament and the end of the power of monarchy. We then move on to address the consequences of trade and industry, including the slave trade and the effects of industrialisation.

TOPIC C: The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745

  • Tudor monarchy, Hampton Court visit and enquiry
  • Stuart kingship
  • The English Civil War
  • The trial and execution of Charles I
  • Cromwell: was he a hero or a villain?
  • The Restoration, the Glorious Revolution and the establishment of the United Kingdom

TOPIC D: A local history study

  • Cholera in Tonbridge

TOPIC E: Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901

  • The British Empire, the transatlantic slave trade, the lives of slaves and abolition
  • The Industrial Revolution and the Victorian age

Year 9

The World from 1901 to the Present Day

The clash between democracy and dictatorship was a key aspect of the last century and, in this year, pupils study the global conflicts that have shaped the modern world. We also investigate issues that still challenge the world we live in today, including the rise of the United States.

TOPIC F: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the Wider World (1901 to the present day)

  • Causes of the First World War
  • World War One, with a focus on the Western Front, Haig
  • The Paris peace treaties
  • The women’s suffrage movement
  • Dictatorship vs democracy
  • The Great Depression and the rise of Hitler
  • The causes of the Second World War
  • World War II and its effects on Britain and the world, including the Holocaust (a cross-curricular topic with PSHCE)
  • Home Front Project
  • The post-war world

TOPIC G: A significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments

  • The USA in the 20th century – an enquiry task


GCSE History

Edexcel specification for GCSE History Our specification allows the opportunity to study modern history through looking at Nazi Germany and the Cold war. It also allows the study of aspects of British History by looking at Elizabethan England, the First World War and the development of Medicine and Health Care since the Middle Ages. The course combines International and Political History with Social History and the History of Science. All those who study History learn the necessary knowledge and key historical skills during the course.

We use a variety of text, audio-visual and electronic resources to develop key historical skills. There is an emphasis on understanding the actions of individuals and analysing areas of historical debate and controversy.

There are three examination papers, each one includes a mixture of shorter questions, paragraphs and more extended essay-style questions.

Paper 1



British Thematic Study with Historic Environment

1 hour 15 minutes

52 marks (16 for the historic environment, 36 for the thematic study)

30% of GCSE


Section A: Historic environment (10%). Shorter source-based questions on the Western Front, focusing on the injuries of soldiers and their treatment as well as life in the trenches.

Section B: Thematic study (20%). Questions on changes in medicine and health care, c1250 to present. Topics include:

  • Religion and the Black Death
  • William Harvey and the circulation of blood
  • Florence Nightingale and nursing
  • Surgery in the 18th century
  • Cholera in the 19th century
  • Fleming’s discover of penicillin

Paper 2



Period Study and British Depth Study

1 hour 45 minutes examination

64 marks (32 for the Period Study, 32 for the British Depth Study)

40 % of GCSE

Section A: Period Study (20%)

Superpower relations and the Cold War 1941-1991

This involves an overview of the key events in the rivalry between Russia and America that often came close to the outbreak of World War Three. We study the nuclear arms race, the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missiles Crisis. We also look at key figures such as Stalin, Truman, Kennedy, Khrushchev, Reagan and Gorbachev.

Section B: British Depth Study (20%)

Early Elizabethan England

We study the Virgin Queen, Mary Queen of Scots, the Spanish Armada, Francis Drake and ordinary life in the 16th century. Questions are on causes of changes in Elizabethan England.

Paper 3



Modern Depth Study

1 hour 20 minutes examination

52 marks 30% of GCSE

Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939

We study Hitler’s rise to power and the nature of life in Nazi Germany. Questions are on sources that are provided in the examination and views of Hitler’s Germany.

A Level History

Edexcel Specification for A Level History Many people choose History for the good reason that they enjoy it! It should be considered as a choice at A Level because of its relevance and because the variety of skills which it fosters makes it a valuable base for many careers and higher education courses. Pupils who study History have access to a wide range of career and higher education opportunities. Careers which demand an element of historical study include teaching, conservation and archaeology. Careers where employers view History as a useful qualification include architecture, law, broadcasting, journalism, the performing arts, accounting and business management. 

It is not a requirement that pupils have studied History at GCSE in order to take A Level, however pupils should have achieved a good grade in at least one humanities subject.

Paper 1

Breadth Study with interpretations: 'Russia 1917-91: from Lenin to Yeltsin' 

2 hours 15 minutes written exam

30% of the A Level

Two sections

A: one breadth essay

B: one breadth essay

C: one interpretations question

Paper 2:

DEPTH STUDY: The German Democratic Republic 1949-90

1 hour 30 minutes written exam

20% of the A Level

Two sections

A: one source question

B: one depth essay

Paper 3

Themes in breadth with aspects in depth: Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors, 1485-1603

2 hours 15 minutes written exam

30% of the A Level

A: one source question

B: one depth essay

C: one breadth essay

Non-examined assessment (NEA)

The focus of the pupils' NEA is selected by the school, rather than prescribed by Edexcel, and may be a topic on which there are a variety of historical interpretations, such as the appeasement debate in relation to World War II. 

20% of the A Level

A 3000-4000 word essay, which is an independently researched enquiry on historical interpretations.

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