The Weston Road Academy

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History department


In the history department at Weston Road Academy our aim is to provide our students with a varied and interesting curriculum which not only sparks their passion for learning, but also teaches transferable skills which will be useful later in life. We aim to achieve this by teaching through enquiry, developing schemes for learning which encourage students to show their understanding by making connections between events and changes in different periods, and by using varied teaching and learning styles in the classroom. We support our students to take an active part in their education and they undertake a range of different tasks both in school and at home including: research projects, presentations, engaging in class debates, and extended writing to enhance their analytical reasoning. We aim to make history accessible to all students but also

challenge students who are interested in taking history to a higher level.

Key Stage 3

In Year 7 students study a range of exciting key individuals and events from the Norman Conquest to Victorian England.

In Year 8 we focus on the tumultuous 20th Century, in particular WW1, WW2 and the Cold War.

Key Stage 4

At key stage 4 we offer examination units on both Ancient History and Modern History. The details are as follows:

Course Breakdown

Paper 1 – Greece and Persia

Section A:

The Persian Empire, 559–465 BC

There are three consistent themes:

  • the expansion of Persian territory
  • the interaction between the Persians and other cultures, particularly the Greeks, Egyptians and Babylonians
  • the personalities and priorities of Cyrus the Great, Cambyses II, Darius I and Xerxes I including their priorities on matters of religion and architecture.

Key topics:

Cambyses’ conquest of Egypt

Darius’ control of Babylon

Xerxes’ invasion of Greece

Section B:

Alexander the Great, 356-323BC

There are three key areas:

  • Alexander’s upbringing, character and beliefs.
  • Alexander’s campaigns
  • Significant events in his life, e.g. the murder of his father – Philip of Macedon

Key topics:

The expedition against Persia

The burning of Persepolis

The mystery of Alexander’s death

Paper 2 – Rome and its neighbours

Section A:

The foundations of Rome: from kingship to republic, 753-440BC

There are three key areas:

  • The legendary kings – e.g. Romulus and Remus, Aeneas
  • The Etruscan kings
  • The emergence of the Roman Republic

Key topics:

The foundation myths, e.g. the rape of the Sabine women

The tyranny of Tarquinus Superbus

The plebeian revolts

Section B:

Cleopatra: Rome and Egypt, 69-30 BC

There are three key areas:

  • Cleopatra as queen of Egypt
  • Cleopatra’s relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony
  • War with Octavian and Agrippa

Key topics:

Cleopatra’s relationship with Ptolemy

Cleopatra’s alliance with Julius Caesar

The Battle of Actium



EXAM LEVEL: Full Course

ASSESSMENT: Paper 1 Understanding the Modern World (2 hours) 50%. Paper 2 Shaping the Nation (2 hours) 50%.


Paper 1 - Understanding the modern world

Section A:

1890–1945: Democracy and dictatorship in Germany

This period study focuses on the development of Germany during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of democracy and dictatorship – the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism.

Key topics:

Germany under the Kaiser

Weimar Germany

Nazi Germany

Section B:

Conflict and tension, 1918–1939

This wider world depth study enables pupils to understand the diverse interests of different individuals and states including the Great Powers.

Key topics:

Treaty of Versailles

League of Nations

The origins of the Second World War

Paper 2 - Shaping the nation

Section A:

Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day

This thematic study will enable pupils to gain an understanding of how medicine and public health developed in Britain over a long period of time.

Pupils will study the importance of the following factors:

  • war
  • superstition and religion
  • chance
  • government
  • communication
  • science and technology
  • the role of the individual in encouraging or inhibiting change.

Key topics:

Medieval medicine and health, e.g. the Black Death

Revolutions in medicine and surgery, e.g. impact of WW1

Section B:

Norman England, 1066–1100

This option allows pupils to study in depth the arrival of the Normans and the establishment of their rule. The depth study will focus on major aspects of Norman rule, considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints of this period and arising contemporary and historical controversies.

Key topics:

The Norman Conquest, e.g. the Battle of Hastings

Life under the Normans, e.g. castles.

Key Stage 5

Course Description:

Our A-level History course centres on two tumultuous periods, which have shaped the course of world history. First, we examine the dramatic events of seventeenth century Britain in which two revolutions occurred and established the blueprint for parliamentary democracy. Second, we investigate the events of the French Revolution and the emergence of such modern-day themes as liberty and nationalism. In both components you will see there are common factors at work in creating revolutions and witness the powerful forces they unleash. In studying both components, you will learn to work with primary evidence and form coherent and persuasive arguments. In Year 13 you will undertake a personal investigation which will also develop your research skills.

Course Content:

Year 12 topics

Component 1D: Stuart Britain and the crisis of monarchy, 1603-1702

Part 1: Absolutism challenged: Britain 1603-1649

This unit examines the huge changes which took place in Britain during the seventeenth century. You will learn about the characters of James I and Charles I and the problems they faced and how they tried to solve these problems. In particular, you will look at their financial problems, their growing disagreements with Parliament, wars and the breakdown of Charles I’s relationship with Parliament. You will also study the events of the two Civil Wars, which led ultimately to the execution of the King.

Component 2H: France in Revolution, 1774-1815

Part 1: the end of Absolutism and the French Revolution, 1774-1795

This unit explores the tumultuous years of the French Revolution that transformed France and left a political and ideological legacy that still affects the world today. The unit focuses on the origins and onset of the French revolution and the collapse of absolute monarchy. You will discover how the attempts to create a constitutional monarchy failed and France descended into bloodshed and fear in the period known as “the Terror”. Finally, you will see how conservative forces attempted to regain control of the revolution and created the Directory, which was designed to bring stability after the horrors of the Terror.

Year 13 topics

NEA Coursework:

For this section you will be studying Rome in the 1st Century BC- 1st Century AD.

You will then devise your own question based on an area which has evoked your interest, and write an essay (approximately 4000 words).

Common themes/questions include:

  • Greatest threat to Rome (Spartacus, Arminius, Boadicea)
  • Most significant emperor (Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero)
  • Most influential Roman religion (paganism, eastern cults)
  • Most influential woman (Cleopatra, Livia, Agrippina)
  • Most psychologically disturbed emperor (Tiberius, Caligula, Nero)
  • Greatest military general (Marius, Sulla, Julius Caesar, Pompey, Agrippa)

Component 1D: Stuart Britain and the crisis of monarchy, 1603-1702

Part 2: Monarchy restored and restrained: Britain 1649-1702

This section of the course examines the rule of Oliver Cromwell—England’s only military dictator and the man who banned Christmas! You will also study some of the different social changes sweeping through Britain at this time such as the growth in population, the treatment of beggars and vagrants, religious changes, the development of strange new ideas by groups such as the Levellers, the Ranters and the Diggers. You will also discover some of the fascinating events surrounding the Glorious Revolution and how this event has shaped the system of government we have today.

You will study how the government under William and Mary developed into a 'limited' monarchy and examine the importance of political parties, ministers, the impact of war, finance and religion on the Government.

Component 2H: France in Revolution, 1774-1815

Part 2: the rise of Napoleon and his impact on France and Europe, 1795-1815

In this section of the course we examine how the Directory failed and opened the door for Napoleon to take power in France. We will look at how he reformed France and then through his military genius, went on to conquer most of Europe. Finally, we will explore why Napoleon’s military successes proved to be short-lived whilst his legacy has achieved greater longevity.

Entry requirements:  The standard entry criteria to study in the sixth form is a 9-4 or A*-C in at least seven different subjects, including mathematics which would usually be at grade 4 or above (equivalent to grade C in previous years).

To study other subjects already taken at GCSE you must achieve at least a grade 5 or C grade or above in that subject.


Assessment Objectives:

AO1 Demonstrate, organise and communicate knowledge and understanding to analyse and evaluate the key features related to the periods studied, making substantiated judgements and exploring concepts, as relevant, of cause, consequence, change, continuity, similarity, difference and significance.

AO2 Analyse and evaluate appropriate source material, primary and/or contemporary to the period, within its historical context.

AO3 Analyse and evaluate, in relation to the historical context, different ways in which aspects of the past have been interpreted.

Year 12 Overview - France in Revolution Scheme of Learning

Year 13 Overview - Crisis of State Scheme of Learning 


Departmental staff will keep a record of all marks achieved by the students. This will include exercises done in books, test pieces, and built-in assessment tasks.


Key Stage 3 9-1 AQA GCSE skill based assessments, and Key Stage 4 AQA/ Key Stage 5 AQA exam based assessments are given half-termly.


KS3 – Regular assessment trawls (twice annually).

KS4 - Regular INSET given. CPD given on exam skills. All PPE examinations are standardised.

This takes place during twilight, and INSET day(s.)

KS5 – all NEA – Subject Leader


Informal classroom observation and discussion with students; on going unit exercises; half-termly specific classroom tests. Student self-evaluation of work is to be encouraged and developed using SAIL. All exercises completed must be marked either by staff or a student assessment exercise.

Marking: (Including reward systems)

It is department policy to reward and praise students as often as possible. It is important to be generous when students achieve:

General schoolwork and homework (when teacher time allows) should be marked regularly with particular emphasis placed on presentation of work (date, title, underlining in pencil and ruler). In line with whole school policy – SAIL tasks are marked every 4 weeks.

A regular system of knowledge based tests are also given, and a displayed league table competition employed to encourage competition/motivation.

History department marking ethos encourages the view that all assessment (and in particular test-based assessment) should be explained to all students to enhance appreciation of progress. Where possible positive comments should be used to encourage students to learn from mistakes and develop a willingness to improve their work.

As students progress through the school a greater awareness of the skills in history should become clear. Students need to be clear in what they are being assessed against.

Success Criteria should be stated at the onset to enable students to understand their success or failure in achieving those objectives.

Target setting is to be encouraged then to fulfil objectives.


Mark books/spreadsheets to be used as an important basis to record student achievement. However, feedback in discussion with students should also promote a more definitive picture of individual personal attitudes. If appropriate this should be recorded too – providing help for course and teaching evaluation, plus facilitating accurate student progress reports to parents. 


At Key Stage 3, an in-depth 2 hours homework task is set every half-term – which is marked to GCSE criteria.

In Key Stage 4 & 5 homework is set most weeks and is usually GCSE assessment based (often revision).

For all tests and assessments revision clock homework’s are set in line with whole-school policy.

Extra -Curricular

The Department runs an A Level History trip every 2 years to Paris to support the A Level unit on the French Revolution and Napoleon

An A Level Classical Civilization course is also run as an enrichment activity. Students have the option, after the 2 years, to enter for the A Level examination. To support this course an annual trip is ran to the British Museum in London, additionally trips to University Lecture days are also organised on an annual basis. 

Useful Links

Useful revision sites for students in years 9, 10 and 11:

(good revision videos on Norman England)

(good revision videos on Health and Medicine)

(excellent playlist which incorporates the different units we study at GCSE)

Excellent GCSE revision websites 

Staff List

Mr S Brown Subject Leader in History -

Mr C Barlow Teacher of History -

Mr G Russell Teacher of History -

Miss E Woolley Teacher of History -