History Curriculum Overview, 2019-2020

Why do we teach history at Ark BDA?

At Ark Burlington Danes we empower pupils to build a substantive and essential body of knowledge of both British and international history, playing an important role in a pupil’s cultural literacy. Our curriculum ensures pupils are building the disciplinary knowledge of an historian’s trade: studying conflicting interpretations of the past and learning to draw conclusions from a diverse evidence base. In doing so, pupils develop their writing, debating and questioning skills and have the confidence to pursue history beyond their time studying at BDA. This deep knowledge base and broad range of skills is vital for equipping students to not only be able to interrogate the information they receive through the media and the written word, but to also understand the context of different communities in twenty-first century Great Britain and particularly their own in London.


Our KS3 curriculum provides pupils with an extensive narrative of British and international history. It poses important questions for pupils’ understanding of power, governance, religion, war, the rule of law, civil disobedience and the interplay of socio-economic factors that lead to major events in history. These core concepts are frequently revisited so that over time students build a broad and deep historical schema. When they enter KS4, students can confidently navigate complex vocabulary and themes due to this preparation. They can write with fluency and confidence; interrogate and interpret challenging source materials and reach well-articulated judgements about historical events.


History is therefore not only fundamental for understanding the world in which we live, but is vital for equipping students with the analytical and literacy skills essential for success in modern society.

How do we deliver our Christian values in history?


The history curriculum content and the way it is delivered truly espouse the school’s vision and Christian ethos.


Not only do we explore the significance of religion in different societies- from the Anglo-Saxons to the Civil Rights Movement- but we also investigate the role that religion has played as justification for empire and slavery. We investigate the suppression of religion in totalitarian states and look at the importance of religion in bringing hope and faith to communities that are marginalised and repressed. Religion is an integral part of any story of human history and we seek to draw on these at every opportunity.


We develop leadership skills in our students by asking them to lead projects, present their work to their peers and to take responsibility for- and be committed to- identifying and correcting their own errors. We expect students to be resilient and committed to improving and developing their work. We state that ‘no one is born a good historian, it takes hard work and resilience to become one’. Our schemes of learning consistently draw empathy from our pupils and encourages them to be compassionate and supportive of one another.


Perhaps most importantly, however, is the role we play in encouraging students to empathise with our antecedents and the stories of the past that often show the worst, and best, of humankind. By studying and considering the actions of individuals and organisations in the past, pupils are expected to show compassion for those that have suffered and admiration for those that have acted to make the world a better place.  

How do we build core skills and knowledge over time?

Our curriculum is designed to embed key skills, concepts and terminology from the first lesson in Year 7 all the way to the end of Year 13. We introduce key concepts of change and continuity, causation, effect and chronology from Year 7 and revisit them frequently so that students can build deep historical schema. We view Key Stage 3 as a store for furnishing the pupils’ memory with literary, cultural, and historical worlds until such vocabulary is so second nature that pupils can ‘move about’ within it. The subtleties of using appropriate historical terms and how they may or may not be applied in any period are developed only over time and by their careful introduction, reinforcement and review.

Chronological knowledge is at the heart of our curriculum, both in terms of sequencing periods of history and of having a clear sense of characteristic features of those periods. We have created imaginative work with timelines and overarching stories of change and continuity that require pupils to draw on prior learning, to make comparisons and contrasts to build their historical schema.


We acknowledge that this takes time, and that the effect is cumulative. As pupils deepen their understanding of these concepts in a range of historical contexts, they progressively develop as historians. This knowledge is central to our schemes of learning and is revisited and reviewed to ensure that all pupils share a common language about the past.

How does the study of history prepare pupils for life beyond Ark BDA?

Our aim is to create students and young adults who are engaged in the world around them. We want to equip students with the confidence to take leading roles in the political and social sphere of society.  We believe that the study of History will provide students with the transferable skills needed to succeed across multiple disciplines at university and beyond. These skills include (but are not limited to) the ability to carry out research and prioritising evidence to help inform decision making process; the confidence to carry out self-directed learning; logical thinking and the ability to analyse data (including numerical) to draw conclusions. Students will find their own identify whilst having a deeper understanding of the world, including the different cultures which have shaped what society looks like today. Finally, through the study of individuals and the factors which have brought about change, students will become the driving force for further change, helping to improve the national and international world we live in.

How do we implement this curriculum at Ark BDA?

In history all units are underpinned by the question ‘how has x led to the world we live in today?’ Each unit is given an enquiry question which helps students understand the learning journey they are embarking upon.


At KS3, students study one topic every half term, with three lessons per week. At KS4, students study one unit per term, which is achieved through four lessons a week. For example, in Year 10 Warfare through time, 1250-present is covered over the whole autumn term. Finally, KS5 students have seven lessons per week, and each of the four units is given 25% of teaching time; in year 12 they study Mao’s China and twentieth century Russia and in year 13 complete their depth-study independent project and Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors.


In all lessons, students can expect a knowledge retrieval Do Now, and at least 15 minutes of deliberate independent practice to help move newly acquired knowledge/skill from the working memory to the long-term memory. Although the curriculum is taught chronologically, key themes are regularly revisited across the years, making retrieval effortless whilst also deepening student understanding of their current module. Furthermore, all assessments have embedded retrieval practice and are part of a feedback and redrafting cycle, which is used to inform planning of following lessons. Moreover, knowledge organisers for each unit are used to prioritise key knowledge, and make all parties involved (student, parent, teacher) aware of what students must know and grasp by the end of each module. Knowledge organisers also include a list of key vocabulary which teachers teach explicitly, helping to build a schema which will be built upon as students move from Year 7 to Year 13.











Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2


Year 1



Toys in time

A ticket to ride

A ticket to ride



Key question


How have toys changed over time?


History Have we always travelled in the same way






Identify which toys children like to play with

Compare these with the toys their parents/grandparents played with.

Identifying if toys are old or new.

How Teddy Bears have changed over time.


George Louis Stevenson

The Wright Brothers

Yuri Gagarin


Explore how people used to travel in the past

Compare and contrast with how we travel today

A study of how technology has changed transport focusing on: boats and ships; omnibus and buses; the railway and George Louis Stevenson; bicycles; cars; aeroplanes –the Wright Brothers; first space flight –1962

Predict how transport might change and what it could look like in the future.












Year 2




How will you change the world?



Why do we get into space?


How has the seaside changed over time?

Key question

What was it like living in a castle?








End of unit outcome: Fact file on castles.

What is it like to live in a castle?

Investigating how to find out about the past.

The Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror's castle building in England and Wales (including The Tower of London)

Investigate the importance of his castle building (including The Tower of London) and compare life then and now.


Case studies on Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King.

Work towards Greta Thurnberg – current youth climate activist.

Discuss the idea of race and how it can divide societies.

Plan and write speeches for an ideal world in the future.




End of unit outcome: Persuasive writing on whether space travel is a good use of time and money.

Look at the Race to Space and what it meant to each country, the individuals who contributed to getting people into space (‘Hidden Figures’, links to Autumn 2), compare different astronauts and ultimately argue whether space travel is important.



History: Discussion of why going to the seaside became popular in the Victorian times, how the culture of the seaside has changed over time and challenges the environment is now facing/ how we can protect the seaside.

Persuasive letter to visit Southend beach?




Speeches for an ideal world.






Year 3


Settlers of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Age



Ancient civilisations

Ancient civilisations



Key question

DQ: What was the most significant event/technological advance of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Age?



How did the Greeks use Myths to make sense of the World around them?


How did the Greeks use Myths to make sense of the World around them?




Settlements of the Stone Age

What was the most significant event, discovery or technological advance of the pre-historic age?

Discover who the early settlers in Britain where and where they came from?

Changes in Britain from the Stone to Iron Age

Identify the changes that occurred in the Bronze and iron age.

Investigate the Iron age Celts, who they were and how they shared their culture

Learning about life in the Stone Age from studies of Skara Brae and Stonehenge



Timeline of ancient Greeks from the Bronze age (Minoan Civilization) up until the age of Alexander the Great.

Evidence sources; the eruptional at Thera –how Historians make sense of the past

The lives and significance of Great Greeks –people who changed History

The great Greek battles and wars

Sparta vs Athens

The empire of Alexander the Great


Timeline of ancient Greeks from the Bronze age (Minoan Civilization) up until the age of Alexander the Great.

Evidence sources; the eruptional at Thera –how Historians make sense of the past

The lives and significance of Great Greeks –people who changed History

The great Greek battles and wars

Sparta vs Athens

The empire of Alexander the Great












Year 4



 The Romans


Roman Britain



Ancient Civilisation: The Mayans



Key question

How did the Romans invade Britain and how successful were they?


How did the Romans change Britain forever?



What was the most significant event, discovery or technological advance of the pre-historic age?



The Roman Empire and Caesar’s first invasion of Britannia

Contrast first invasion with what happened when Claudius invaded Britannia in 41AD. The Celts.

Identify why the Roman military were so successful in expanding the Roman Empire

In depth study into Boudicca and how she challenged the Roman occupation of Britannia

The decline of Roman rule in Britain

Explore the lives of Romans in Roman Britain (including villas, roads and recreational life)

Compare the Roman soldiers and their armour to that of the ancient Celts

place significant events on a time line and reflect on their legacy.




History Place the rise and fall of the Mayan empire on a timeline.

A day in the life –the Mayans

The natural resources available in Mexico and how this affected the way of life for the Mayans

How did Mayan life compare to other civilisations at the time?

The end of the empire and the legacy of the Mayans











Year 7


England Pre-1066

Norman Conquest

Castles and Cathedrals

Rats and Rebels


Tudor Henry VIII*


Key question

How do historians write history? What was Anglo-Saxon England like?

How did William and the Normans change England?

Why did William need to build castles and why was the church so important to medieval people?

What was the impact of the Plague? Why did the Peasants Revolt?

Why were the first crusades launched?

Investigation into Saladin and Richard Lionheart

How secure was the Tudor reign?

Thematic: what was medicine like in the medieval period?


Anglo-Saxon England
Importance of Religion

Viking invasion

Narrative writing skills

Source Skills


1066 Battle of Hastings
Feudal system
Domesday book
Methods of control
Narrative skills
Interpretation skills

Motte and Bailey, stone keep castles

The importance of religion in Medieval society.
Writing history 12 mark extended writing

Causes, main events and consequences of Peasants Revolt and Plague.

Writing history narrative and 12 mark EW.

Sources and interpretation skills

Islam and Christianity, pilgrimages and importance of holy sites. Geopolitics of the medieval world.
Lionheart & Saladin.

Battle of Hattin
Writing history extended 16 marks 4 SPaG.
Source Usefulness and interpretation skills.

Richard III & Henry VIII battle of Bosworth.
Writing historical narrative
Interpretation skills.



Keywords, Narrative 12 marks and content knowledge.


In class assessment on all topics

Keywords Content knowledge, narrative 12 marks, Explain why 12 marks.

EOY assessment on all topics describe two features of, knowledge, narrative 12 marks, Explain why 12 marks





Year 8


Tudor Religion

English Civil War

British Empire-how has the British Empire shaped the country we live in today?

Industrial Revolution slave trade

African Civilisation and the Slave Trade

Civil rights

Civil Rights movement

Civil rights

Case studies warfare:

South Africa




Key question

How important was religion during the Tudors?

Why did a King lose his head?

Why did the British build an Empire? What was the impact on Britain?

What are the impacts of migration?

What was Africa like before slavery? 

Slavery to Obama


What type of king was Henry VIII?
Act of Supremacy
Pilgrimage of Grace
Writing a historical narrative
Source & interpretation skills

Causes, main events & consequences of the Civil War

Writing a historical narrative
Source & interpretation skills

Justifications for an Empire.
Case studies Jamaica, India, South Africa and Australia.
Writing history 16 mark with SPaG
Source & interpretation skills

Agricultural Revolution, Free black communities, Key individuals of the Industrial Rev. Mary Seacole and social impact of the Industrial Revolution.

Writing a historical narrative
Source & interpretation skills

West Africa before European contact, Ghana.
Middle passage

Plantation life
Abolition movements and the importance of slave rebellions, challenging victim history narrative.
Writing a historical narrative 12 marks
Source & interpretation skills

Jim Crow, Separate but equal and roles of MLK & Malcolm X.
Writing history 16 mark with SPaG, Interpretation and source skills.



Keywords, Narrative 12 marks and content knowledge


In class assessment on all topics

Keywords Content knowledge, narrative 12 marks, Explain why 12 marks.

EOY assessment on all topics EOY assessment on all topics describe two features of, knowledge, narrative 12 marks, Explain why 12 marks.  16 mark with 4 SPaG





First World War-how did the Empire help Britain?

Weimar Republic and growth of the Nazi party.

Nazi Germany

The Holocaust

Second World War

Superpower Relations and the Cold War (including the role of China)


Key question

How did one bullet kill 20 million people?

How did the Nazi party grow?

What can the German people tell us about life under Nazi rule?

Who wanted 6 million people to die?

What did the world look like post 1945?

How did best friends become worst enemies?


Causes of WW1, Nature of Warfare and the Somme, 1916. Aims of the big three, terms of the Treaty of Versailles Occupation of the Ruhr

Political structure of the Weimar Republic, Hyperinflation, Golden Years and Depression. Development of the Nazi Party.

Police state, Propaganda, employment, religion and treatment of women and minorities.


Worsening persecution of the Holocaust 1933-1939.


Appeasement and causes of WW2.
Key battles and case studies
Potsdam and division of Germany. The start of the SPR and Cold War. 

Causes, main events and consequences of key case studies from the Cold War:
Berlin blockade, NATO, Hungary, CMC, Prague, Détente and Afghanistan.



EOT assessment on
Two features of trench warfare (4). Consequences of the Tof V (8). Narrative analysing the growth of the Nazi party (8) and Explain why WW1 began (12)



Explain similarities and differences, WW1 & WW2: D-Day and Somme and civilian experience.

Two features of a death camp (4)
Explain one way the civilian experience of warfare in ww1 was different to that in ww2 (4). How useful are these two sources for an enquiry into life for women in Nazi Germany (8). Explain why Hitler was able to consolidate his power. You may use the following in your answer: Night of the long Knives/ Enabling act (12) Difference in interpretations about terms of the TofV (4). Consequences of the Berlin Blockade (8)


Year 10


Warfare 1250- present

Warfare 1250- present & the Blitz.

Henry VIII and Ministers



Henry VIII and Ministers


Cold War and Superpower Relations


Cold War and Superpower Relations


Key question

How has the nature of warfare changed since 1250?

How has the experience of warfare changed, and how did it affect London in WW2?

What was the nature of Henry’s rule?

What was the nature of Henry’s rule?

How did the Cold War start?

How did tensions escalate between the SPR’s during the Cold War?


The nature of warfare 1250-present including The Battle of Falkirk, 1298

The Battle of Agincourt, 1415

The Battle of Naseby, 1645

The Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The Battle of Balaklava, 1854

The Battle of the Somme, 1916

The Iraq War, 2003

The experience of warfare, 1250- present including

Recruitment of soldiers

Training of soldiers

The civilian experience of warfare

London as a target during the Blitz

London’s response

The impact of the bombing on civilians

Henry VIII and early policies:
Amicable Grant and Eltham Ordinances and the role of Wolsey.
Aragon and failure to secure an annulment.
Cromwell’s rise to power. Anne Boleyn’s marriage and execution.

Jane Seymour, Cromwell’s changes to government, fall of Cromwell. Henry as the defender of the faith, dissolution of monasteries, Pilgrimage of Grace.


Capitalism & Communism, long Telegram, division of Berlin & Europe. Atom bomb, NATO & the end of the Grand Alliance.
Satellite states, Hungary, CMC, Détente and Brezhnev doctrine with Prague spring

SALT 1, Apollo-Soyuz, Helsinki 1975 & SALT II.
Iranian Revolution 1970, Afghanistan 1979.
New Cold War, Star Wars and Reagan politics. Gorbachev, Perestroika and Glasnost. Collapse of the Soviet Union .
Exam practice



Assessment on GCSE topics from Autumn term


In class assessment on all topics


Full paper 1 mock


Year 11


Weimar and Nazi Germany






Key question

Why was the Weimar Republic so unpopular?

Hitler’s rise to power, Nazi consolidation of power, Reichstag Fire, Nazi police state, Goebbels and Propaganda, opposition to Nazis, Women and minorities.

Warfare exam revision booklet

Henry VIII and ministers.
SPR & Cold War exam revision booklet


Weimar and Nazi Germany exam revision booklet



Treaty of Versailles, Weimar Republic constitution, 1923 year of crisis, ‘Golden Years’ and Depression.
Early Nazi Party reforms








In class assessment on paper 2

Paper 2 mock

In class paper 3 assessment


GCSE exams


Year 12



Theme 1 Communist government, 1917-85

Theme 2 Industrial and agricultural change, 1917-85

Theme 3 Control of the people, 1917-85

Theme 4 Social developments, 1917-85

Section C What explains the fall of the USSR, C1985-91?

Napoleon coursework.
Due May next year

Key question

How did a band of revolutionaries control the whole of Russia?

How did Russia develop from a third world country in 1928 into military and technological superpower by 1953?

Was terror the only way to control Russia?

Was complete social security worth a life of suppression?

Was Gorbachev to blame for the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991?

Was Napoleon and enlightened despot or a tyrant?


Establishing Communist Party  control 1917-24
Stalin's rise and time in power 1928-53.
Reform, stability and stagnation From Khrushchev to Brezhnev.

Command economy. From War Communism, NEP and Gosplan. Industry, agriculture, consumer goods and impact of WW2 on Soviet Economy. The economy after Stalin, Gosplan, Industrialisation and social improvement.

Media, propaganda and religion from 1917-85.
he role of the secret police under each leader. The importance of Beria and WW2.
Social contract and decline of terror and secret police.

Media, propaganda and religion from 1917-85.
The role of the secret police under each leader. The importance of Beria and WW2.
Social contract and decline of terror and secret police.

Role of Gorbachev, Perestroika and Glasnost, Nationalism, a centralised and failing economy & the role of Yeltsin and the August coup.

Nature of Napoleon’s rule, historical interpretation skills and structuring a 4,000 word answer,



Exam practice 20 mark exam questions on Establishing Communist Party Control and Stalin’s methods of Terror.







Assessment on Exam practice 20 mark question on changes to economy from Lenin to Stalin and Human cost of Stalin's policies.

Exam practice 20 mark question on the use of terror in Lenin and Stalin's reign and the decline of terror.

In class assessment Exam practice 20 mark question on the use of terror in Lenin and Stalin's reign and the decline of terror.


EOY assessment Full Russia paper.


Year 12



Theme 1 Establishing Communist rule, 1949-65.

Theme 2 Agriculture and Industry 1949-65.

Theme 3 The cultural Revolution and its aftermath 1966-76

Theme 4 Social and cultural changes, 1949-76

Interpretation skills


Key question

How does Mao control China?

Why does Mao persist with the collective?

Why did Mao launch the CR?

Did the communist party improve the lives of people?




Different roles of the CCP, Korean war, three & five antis and hundred flowers campaign.

Collective farms, Five year plans, and Lysenkoism.

Reasons for CR, role of Red Guards and Red Terror and then winding down the CR.

 Treatment of women, education, attacks on culture and religion.




Timed, in-class essays

Assessment on themes 1-2


Timed, in-class essays


End of year mock exam


Year 13

Tudor Rebellion


Central and regional Tudor government, 1485-1603

Early Tudor rebellions

Challenges to the rule of Elizabeth I

Writing and source analysis skills



Key question

How did government from the centre and localities change over the Tudor period?

How dangerous were the rebellions faced by the male Tudor monarchs?

How did Elizabeth I deal with threats to her position on the throne?

What does historical analysis look like?

What’s the best way to prepare for an exam?



  • Church-state relations
  • The changing role of parliament
  • Religious reforms of the Tudor monarchs
  • Changes to regional governance
  • Growing Tudor control of the country
  • Henry VII’s usurpation of the crown
  • The securing of the Tudor dynasty
  • Threats from Simnel and Warbeck
  • Threats to Henry VIII’s religious settlement
  • The Pilgrimage of Grace
  • Economic problems of the mid-Tudor period
  • Kett’s Rebellion, 1549
  • Elizabeth’s changing religious settlement
  • Discontent of the northern nobility
  • The Northern Rising, 1569
  • The war with Spain
  • English governance in Ireland
  • The Nine Years’ War
  • The structure of an A* quality essay
  • Integrating and developing high-quality evidence
  • Evaluating the usefulness of sources
  • Key topics identified from mock exams to revise.



Timed, in-class essays

Mock exam

Mock exam

Timed, in-class essays


End of course exams


Year 13

Napoleon Coursework


 Nature of Napoleon’s rule

 Writing Napoleon coursework.




Key question

What was life like under Napoleon’s rule?

What does a A* piece of coursework look like?





Conscription, taxation, warfare and treatment of women. Nature of rule in urban and rural communities, treatment of women compared to men and treatment of different classes in Napoleon’s society.

Model answers, quick and regular feedback.








Draft submission

Final submission