Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana


Our engaging and thought-provoking schemes of learning at KS3 aim to help students acquire key historical knowledge and skills. Within lessons students are encouraged to develop their historical thinking by examining a range of sources and interpretations and gaining an understanding of chronology, causation and change over time.

At GCSE, History is one the most popular options with strong results. The department is now teaching the new GCSE Edexcel specification which explores both modern and medieval time periods, and aims to develop a wide range of skills to aid students in both History and further study.

Head of Humanities and Teacher

Ayca Sonmez | asonmez@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk

Subject Lead

Rachael Moss | rmoss@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk   


Khuluud Al-Seif | kalseif@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk

Ronald Stokesrstokes@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk

Ayca Sonmez  |  asonmez@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk

Tanya Rivard-Morton | trivardmorton@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk 

Haley Wilson | hwilson@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk


Curriculum Intent and Map

At Acland Burghley, we aim to inspire a life-long love of History by promoting curiosity and wonder about the past. Students follow a spiral curriculum in which knowledge and skills are built upon across the key stages. Learning is structured through a series of enquiries spanning from the Medieval period to the modern-day, and this enables students to develop a sense of chronology and build a ‘big picture’ of the past. We believe that to do justice to History, a broad range of cultures and perspectives should be taught, and our curriculum therefore includes diverse histories from the very start of Y7.

The department places a strong focus on historical thinking; students are taught to engage critically with evidence, to analyse the significance of historical events and to evaluate the extent of change over time. They are introduced to different historical interpretations and have the chance to explore how and why historians disagree about the past. These historical skills are developed from the start of KS3, allowing for a smooth transition to KS4 and beyond. Our curriculum also aims to develop the highest standards of written and verbal literacy, allowing students to communicate enthusiastically and knowledgably about the past. Through a consistent focus on subject-specific vocabulary and extended writing we develop students’ confidence to engage in written and verbal debates.

Throughout their time with us, students are encouraged to debate moral issues and develop an understanding of themselves as citizens. By studying topics such as democracy and dictatorship they critically evaluate different political systems, and through a study of protest over time they consider ways they might bring about change in their own communities. History also helps students become critical consumers of information, helping them to more easily spot ‘fake’ or misleading news stories. Throughout KS3-5, students are encouraged to draw out the relevance of their learning by making links between the past and present.

History overview curriculum map 2024-25



At KS3 students study history through a series of engaging enquiry questions. Students study a range of histories, including units with a political, economic, social and cultural focus. Students are also introduced to key historical skills, which they develop over the course of Y7-Y9. These include examining historical causation, exploring change and continuity over time, analysing primary sources, and evaluating interpretations of the past. Overall, students will develop skills and knowledge they will need to be successful at Key Stages 4 and 5.

In Y7, students explore the Medieval period, with a particular focus on ways in which rulers displayed their power and control. They are encouraged to make links between hierarchies and power structures across different societies, including England, Ethiopia and Ming China. In Y8, students explore life in Britain in the period 1500-1900, with a particular focus on religion and social change. They explore the impact of events that have transformed society, such as the Reformation and the Industrial Revolution. They also examine the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its physical, economic, emotional and cultural legacies in Britain today. In Y9, students explore the 20th century world, looking at both world wars, the features of dictatorship, and the Holocaust.


KS3 Curriculum map


In Y7, students will explore the Medieval world through a series of historical enquiries.



What do students learn about in this unit?

Autumn 1

Introduction to History
How do historians find out about the history of Christianity in Ethiopia?

Students are introduced to the study of History through a unit on Ethiopia. They will learn how to ask historical questions, and will explore how historians use primary sources to investigate the past.
Assessment: Explain how Christianity came to Ethiopia.

Autumn 1

Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?

Students explore the causes of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, including luck, William’s strengths and Harold’s weaknesses, and decide which ones were most important in allowing William to win.
Assessment: How far was luck responsible for William’s victory?

Spring 1

How did the Normans consolidate their power over England?

Students explore the ways in which William took control of England including the Feudal System, his brutal treatment of the Anglo-Saxons and the Domesday Book. They evaluate a historical interpretation on the impact of these changes.

Spring 2

Was the Black Death a ‘disaster’ for everyone?

Students will learn about the causes of the Black Death and its consequences for England and for the Feudal System. They will decide whether the changes it brought can be seen as a ‘disaster’ for different groups of people in the country.

Assessment: Was the Black Death a ‘disaster’ for England?

Summer 1:

How far was the power of Medieval monarchs challenged?

Students will explore the reigns of the Plantagenet monarchs and the concept of Divine Right monarchy. They will then explore the challenges posed by the church and the barons.
Assessment: ‘The Barons posed the greatest threat to the power of the Plantagenets.’ How far do you agree?

Flying Start:

Was the Ming Dynasty a 'great power'?

Students will explore the Ming Dynasty and the ways in which the Ming emperors showed their power, including through culture, the voyages of Zheng He, and the Ming hierarchy. They will be encouraged to make comparisons with rulers in Medieval England and Ethiopia.

Assessment: What made the Ming Dynasty so influential?


In Y8, students will explore the period 1500-1900 through a series of enquiries focusing on themes such as ordinary life, religion, and protest.



What do students learn about in this unit?

Autumn 1

How far did the Reformation change the lives of the people of Morebath Church?

Students will focus on Morebath Church in Devon and will explore to what extent, and in what ways, the Reformation changed ordinary lives and religious practices.
Assessment: Series of diary entries from the perspective of a character from Morebath Church showing change and continuity over time.

Autumn 1

Was the Industrial Revolution a period of ‘progress’?


Students study the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in areas such as the economy, agriculture and transport. They then explore the darker side of the Industrial Revolution through an examination of the exploitation of the British Empire and child labour.
Assessment: Was the Industrial Revolution a period of ‘progress’?

Spring 1

Why was Hegel wrong about Africa?


Students unpick Hegel’s views on Africa and its History and make inferences about European attitudes in the 1800s. They are then empowered to use evidence to challenge these views through an exploration of the reigns of Mansa Musa in Mali, and the Golden Rhino of South Africa.
Assessment: Students write a letter to Hegel, using evidence to challenge his views

Spring 2

What are the legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade?

Students will explore the economic, cultural, social and physical legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Britain.

Creative assessment – podcast on the legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Summer 1:

What were the Troubles?

Students will explore the Troubles in Ireland, including significant events such as Bloody Sunday. They will gain greater understanding of the history leading up to this period.


Flying Start:

Was Edwardian Britain a ‘Golden Age’?

Students will look at the Edwardian Period and will debate whether it should be seen as a ‘Golden Age’. In the unit, they will explore the lives of the rich and poor, the Liberal Reforms and the growing campaign for female suffrage.

Assessment:  Was Edwardian Britain a ‘Golden Age’?



In Y9, students will explore the 20th Century world through a series of enquiries.



What do students learn about in this unit?

Autumn 1

Why did WWI break out in 1914?

In this unit, students will explore the causes of WWI, including alliances, militarism, imperialism and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. They will learn to categorise causes into long-term, short-term, and ‘triggers’. 
Assessment: Essay ‘Why did WWI break out in 1914?’

Autumn 1

Was WWI the same war for everyone?

Students will analyse popular interpretations of WWI. They will then explore the experiences of commonwealth soldiers, women, conscientious objectors and deserters to gain an appreciation of the diversity of experience. They will also look at the varied experiences across different fronts including the Eastern Front, Gallipoli and the War at Sea.
Creative Assessment: Students will update and improve a traditional textbook page on WWI by offering a more diverse perspective.

Spring 1

If WWI was so terrible why was there another war only 20 years later?

Students will look at the causes of WWII, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Wall Street Crash, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and the failure of Appeasement.
Assessment: Students evaluate three historians’ interpretations of the causes of WWII.

Spring 2

How did the Twentieth-Century dictators control the lives of their people?

Students will explore the different ways in which dictators controlled their people - including ideology, propaganda, education and terror.

Summer 1:

How could the Holocaust be allowed to happen?

In this unit, students will learn about growing anti-Semitism across Europe and the Holocaust.


Assessment: End of unit assessment with GCSE style questions on content from Year 9.

Flying Start:

GCSE History Cold War
If USA and USSR were allies during WWII why did they become enemies so soon after?

In the Flying Start, those who have opted to study GCSE History will begin their studies through an exploration of the deteriorating relationship between USA and USSR in the period after WWII.

Assessment:  GCSE style exam questions.




History is a very popular subject at KS4, with strong results at GCSE. Our curriculum follows the Edexcel syllabus and aims to consolidate the learning, knowledge and skills that students have gained at KS3.

Students begin Y10 with a study of Superpower Relations and the Cold War, 1943-1991. In this unit, students develop their awareness as citizens by evaluating a range of political and economic systems including communism, capitalism, democracy and dictatorship. They also explore the concept of a ‘superpower’ and the changing basis of power in a new nuclear age. The unit provides key background understanding of modern geo-politics; we draw links between the Cold War and the current war between Russia and Ukraine.

Later in Y10, students begin the unit on the Reigns of King Richard I and King John. This unit encourages students to explore the development of the British political system through a study of the Magna Carta of 1215. They also gain insight into the central political, economic and religious importance of the Catholic church in the Medieval period. Through a study of the Third Crusade students also explore the concept of holy war and the importance of Jerusalem as a religious site for both Muslims and Christians.

Our study of Weimar and Nazi Germany in Y11 gives students the chance to develop their historical interpretation and source analysis skills. We explore how and why historical interpretations change over time, and consider how the nature, origin and purpose of primary sources affects their utility. The paper also enables students to develop essential knowledge, including features of political extremism and the reasons for its growth, and the ways in which democracy can be undermined during periods of crisis. Students will build on their knowledge of dictatorship from KS3, and examine the ways in which Hitler and the Nazis controlled the German population. The unit also contains a crucial analysis of the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe and its culmination in the Holocaust.

Our final unit in Y11 is Crime and Punishment in Britain 1000-today. Through this unit, students explore the development of the British legal system, and explore ways in which attitudes to crime and punishment have changed over time. In lessons we investigate the causes of change, including the role of leaders and key individuals, as well as longer-term forces such as population growth and the development of technology.

KS4 Curriculum Map - History


Summer term 2 (Flying start) and Autumn term

Unit 1: Superpower Relations 1943-91

  • The origins of the Cold War 1941-58
  • The development of the Cold War
  • Three Cold War Crises: the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Prague Spring
  • The end of the Cold War

Spring term

Unit 2: The Reigns of King Richard and KingJohn, 1189-1216

  • Life and government in England, 1189-1216
  • Involvement oversees 1189-1204 (including the Crusades)
  • King John’s downfall, 1205-16

Summer term

Unit 3: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939

  • The Weimar Republic 1918-29
  • Hitler’s Rise to Power 1919-33
  • Nazi Control and Dictatorship 1933-39
  • Life in Nazi Germany 1933-39

Mock exam: Superpower relations and the Cold War and the reigns of King Richard I and King John.

Cold War overview

King Richard I and King John overview

Weimar and Nazi Germany overview


Autumn Term

  • Continue Weimar and Nazi Germany topics
  • Mock exam: Weimar and Nazi Germany

Spring Term

Mock exam: The reigns of King Richard I and King John

Unit 4: Crime and Punishment through time, c1000-present

  • Crime, punishment and law enforcement in medieval England: c1000-c1500
  • Crime, punishment and law enforcement in early modern England: c1500-c1700
  • Crime, punishment and law enforcement in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Crime, punishment and law enforcement in recent times: c1900-present
  • Whitechapel, c1870-1900: Crime, policing and the inner city

Summer term: Final exam preparation

GCSE Subject Specification 

Please click through to the links to view more information on the Edexcel website.

History - Edexcel Exam Board




Suggested reading

Our library has a range of books and articles linking to our schemes of work that students can borrow. We would also recommend regularly reading newspapers.

The following revision guides have been created for the GCSE course. These can be purchased online from the Pearson website or from the school's Finance Office.

  • Revise Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Superpower relations and the Cold War Revision Guide and Workbook
  • Revise Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Weimar and Nazi Germany Revision Guide and Workbook
  • Revise Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Crime and Punishment Revision Guide and Workbook
  • Revise Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History King Richard I and King John Revision Guide and Workbook




Things to see and do

There are a range of museums that can be visited in London linking to our schemes of work including:

  • British Museum
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Museum of London Docklands
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Tower of London

Extra-curricular activities and clubs

Students at the school also have opportunities to develop their knowledge and learning outside the classroom through a range of trips and workshops which explore topics linked to the curriculum. This year, these have included:

  • Y7 Tower of London trip
  • Y9 Black History Podcast Project
  • Y9 talk from a Holocaust survivor
  • Y11 Jack the Ripper tour and trip to the London Dungeon
  • Y12 and Y13 History walk

Black History Podcasts

The department also offers extra-curricular clubs including:

  • KS3 Debating Club
  • Sixth Form Journalism Club