History dept
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Mr M Labrou

Head of Learning

Miss. A Mullane
Mrs. N Cooper
Mr. G Storey
Miss. S Brennan

Our Vision

The History Department at the Abbey School is committed to ensuring both the academic success and broader intellectual development of its pupils. The former is derived from a curriculum designed to introduce pupils to, and subsequently hone, the many and varied conceptual skills requisite of a successful historian. The latter is engendered from frequent discussion, debate and creativity tempered by analysis and evaluation.


Lower School

The curriculum in Years 7-8 is frequently updated to ensure it provides sufficient foundation for pupils to be able to undertake the GSCE courses in Year 9. Currently various periods of British and global history are taught from the last millennium, starting with the Norman Conquest in term one of Year 7, and finishing with the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the concurrent end of the Cold War at the end of Year 8. Other highlights for pupils include studying the horrific symptoms of, and nauseating cures for, the Black Death in 1348 and learning about Life in the Trenches on the Western Front, a highlight of which is the highly popular annual trip to Ypres. Conceptual skills that are transferrable to GCSE as well as being of great utility in many other fields, such as inference, analysis and evaluation are embedded into the curriculum and assessed at frequent intervals.


Upper School - Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11)

The GCSE course begins in Year 9. The department offers the EdExcel/Pearson GCSE course with the following topics covered:


  • Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18
  • Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88
  • Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

The examinations are as follows:

 % of GCSELength of examTopicsWhen is this covered?
Paper 1 – British Thematic Study with Historic Environment

(Paper codes: 1HI0/10-12)
30 1 hour 15 minutes Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18 Year 9
Paper 2 –Period Study and British Depth Study

(Paper codes: 1HI0/20-29)
40 1 hour 45 minutes Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88

Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91

Year 9


Year 10

Paper 3 – Modern Depth Study
(Paper codes: 1HI0/30-33)
30 1 hour 20 minutes Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39 Year 10


Upper School - Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and13)

Current Curriculum

The department offers the OCR A-Level course with the following topics covered:


  • The Tudors
  • The Cold War in Asia
  • Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992
  • A coursework assignment on a Historical Investigation.
 % of A LevelLength of examTopicsWhen is this covered?
Unit 1 – British period study and enquiry

(Paper codes: H505 Y106)
25 1 hour 30 minutes England 1485–1558: the Early Tudors (Enquiry topic: Mid Tudor Crises 1547–1558) Year 12
Unit 2 –Non-British period study

(Paper codes: H505 Y223)
15 1 hour The Cold War in Asia 1945–1993 Year 12
Unit 3 – Thematic study and historical interpretations
(Paper codes: H505 Y319)
40 2 hour 30 minutes Civil Rights in the USA 1865–1992 Year 13
Unit 4 – Topic Based Essay 20 Coursework unit Learners will complete a 3000–4000 word essay on a topic of their choice, which may arise out of content studied elsewhere in the course. This is an internally assessed unit group. Year 13


New specification from 2018-19


However, from 2018-2019 the department will transition to the Edexcel specification, with the following topics to be studied:

Unit 1 - Breadth study with interpretations - Option 1G: Germany and West Germany, 1918–89

Unit 2 - Depth Study - Option 2G.1: The rise and fall of fascism in Italy, c1911–46

Unit 3 - Paper 3- Aspects in breadth and depth - Option 35.1 – Britain: losing and gaining an Empire, 1763-1914

Unit 4 – Coursework – Origins of the Cold War 


This change has been undertaken to reflect the expertise of current staff as well as providing a more seamless transition from the Edexcel course studied at GCSE.


Entry requirements:

5 9-4 GCSEs or equivalent

5 in GCSE History OR Grade 5 in GCSE English Language and Literature if GCSE History not studied.


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