History at Key Stage 3

Our curriculum is designed chronologically to give our students an understanding of the big picture of human history. Students are encouraged to become expert enquirers, asking questions to understand how the world became the place it is today.

Year 7

  • The Roman Empire – How do we know about the past? What can Pompeii tell us? How was Bath connected to the Roman world?
  • Migration to Bristol – Who came? Why did they come? How did they change the city?
  • The Dark Ages – Were they a time of darkness or illumination?
  • Conquest, Castles and Cathedrals (with a trip to Chepstow Castle and Tintern Abbey) – How did the Normans control England? Would you have rather been a monk or a knight?
  • The Nature of Power – What can medieval kings teach us about leadership?
  • Ordinary Lives – Has life for the poor always been miserable?

Year 8

  • Richard III – Why is the Car Park King so controversial?
  • The Tudors – Why did Henry VIII and Elizabeth I care so much about their image?
  • Fury and Fire – Would you have wept for Charles I?
  • The Empire in the East – How did a company take over a country – and salt help bring down an Empire?
  • The Empire in the West – What was Bristol’s role in the slave trade? How should it be remembered?
  • The Industrial Revolution – Why did it happen here first? How did it affect people?

Year 9

  • The Twentieth Century – Which day was most significant?
  • The First World War – Was it hell on earth?
  • The Jazz Age – Did all Americans enjoy prosperity and glamour?
  • Ideologies – Why were people looking for a new way to organise society?
  • The Holocaust – How could we let it happen?
  • The Cold War – How did Fat Man and Little Boy change the world? Did America really win?

We run a trip to the First World War battlefields for Year 9 students.

GCSE History

Students can pursue their interest in History to Key Stage 4, and it is at present the most popular GCSE option at Oldfield School. We follow the AQA ‘A’ specification, and the programme of study is as follows:

  • Historical Enquiry – History Around Us (coursework - 25% of GCSE) We visit the Roman Baths, a magnificent and significant site on our doorstep, and complete a piece of coursework on the reasons for its creation in the turbulent first century AD.
  • Enquiry in Depth – Germany, 1919-1945 (exam – 40% of GCSE) We undertake a vital examination of the factors behind Germany’s descent into dictatorship in the 1930s and the destructive conflict that ensued.
  • Study in Development – Medicine Through Time (exam – 35% of GCSE) Taking the long view, from prehistoric medicine men to the Human Genome Project, we seek to understand the reasons for scientific progress and its effects on humanity.

AS and A Level History

The History Department offers further study at Key Stage 5. We follow the AQA specification, and students currently have the opportunity to look at a mixture of early modern and modern units, offering insight into a crucial phase of British history as well as the reality behind the myths of the modern world’s most powerful nations:

AS Level

  • Unit 1: Britain, 1483-1529 (exam – 50% of AS Level; 25% of A Level)
  • Unit 2: The Impact of Chairman Mao, 1946-1976 (exam – 50% of AS Level; 25% of A Level)

A Level

  • Unit 3: The Triumph of Elizabeth, 1547-1603 (exam – 30% of A Level)
  • Unit 4: Historical Enquiry (coursework – 20% of A Level) Students write and research their own extended essay of 3,000 words, based on black civil rights in the USA.