History and politics

sandbach high school

General information

Intent, Implementation, Impact
The History Department at Sandbach High School has clear aims and objectives and we work as a team to continually develop strategies for teaching History at an outstanding level. In History our students learn most effectively when they share with us their curiosity, pleasure and fascination in learning about the past.

The History Department supports the ethos of the school to develop each students’ academic, intellectual and social potential to the full and promote the idea that every pupil, irrespective of ability, is equally important and is held in the same regard.

We also want to help the students to develop an interest in and gain enjoyment from the variety of activities which can take place under the heading of History.

The main aims of studying History at Sandbach High School are that students:
⦁ Be aware of their past and society
⦁ Make links between the past and present and between History and other subjects
⦁ Be able to understand problems and respond with a range of solutions
⦁ Develop vital, relevant skills that will serve them in the future both generally and vocationally
⦁ Be socially, politically, economically and environmentally aware
⦁ Understand and debate social, economic, political and cultural issues


Curriculum Lead

Curriculum Leader for History – Miss Emelia Bell ebell@sandbachhigh.co.uk 


In the same way that a tapestry comprises of different threads, intricately woven to form a whole image, our History curriculum contains a number of different topics, skills and themes, that knit together to give students a broad and diverse picture of the past. 


Our curriculum offers a wide range of topics across the key stages to provide areas of interest for all students; we want our students to love History and gain skills from it that will shape their future. We actively encourage all of our students to be ambitious, to participate and challenge themselves within lessons and to learn independently through individual and group work, decision-making exercises, role-play, simulation/empathy games and extended writing. A healthy mixture of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities within lessons are used to engage students of all abilities and our results have been excellent and well above national averages. In our mixed ability lessons, we value the importance of scaffolding (to ensure that all students can access the topics and skills that we are studying) and we understand the need to challenge. We ensure that students are aware of how to make progress in History and show students the ‘journey’ of their learning at the start of the year and each time we begin a new topic.  


The Year 7 course begins with a transitional scheme of work on the history of education, which introduces students to key historical skills such as prioritising information, looking at cause and consequence and how to analyse a source. Students then develop these newly acquired skills by focusing on Medieval Realms. This gives them the opportunity to advance their subject knowledge by studying the Battle of Hastings, castles and medieval life. Within these topics they will analyse a variety of historical sources on the Middle Ages, forming judgements about their reliability.  


Building on from Year 7, students will further enhance their historical skills in Year 8 by studying the Tudors. This topic allows students to develop their source analysis skills and their understanding of how the past has been interpreted by evaluating a plethora of historical material on the Tudor monarchs. Students will then study the Industrial Revolution and migration, followed by the causes of WWI. The focus on historical skills within these topics will allow students to be able to confidently analyse historical sources and gain an awareness of different ways the past has been interpreted.  


In Year 9 students will refine their historical skills by studying more global history, beginning with Ming China. They will further develop their interpretation skills in their study of suffrage by considering how accurate portrayals such as ‘Suffragette’ are in representing the movement. Then they will study the USA and question whether the 1920s was a ‘golden age’. Finally, students will embark on an enquiry on the rise of dictators, in particular the rise of the Nazi Party and key aspects of the Holocaust. 


In Years 10 and 11 History is taught in mixed ability groups. We cater to the abilities of all students by working closely with the Special Educational Needs team and our whole school Gifted and Talented coordinator. History is an extremely popular option within the school. Two AQA GCSE specifications are offered to students. All students study Germany in the 19th Century, the popular WWI module and the Britain and Health unit. For each specification there is a local study that accounts for 25% of the overall assessment. The local study focuses on Elizabethan England. Students receive 5 lessons per fortnight at Key Stage 4. There are 2 field trips for both specifications that take place in Years 10 and 11. Students are given the opportunity to visit Krakow, Poland in Year 10 and all students visit Thackray Medical Museum in Year 11. GCSE results are well above the national average and our students leave us as well-rounded individuals, ready to meet the demands of the next step. 


Assessments take a variety of forms, for example extended writing, source and interpretation evaluation or project work. At Key Stage 3 we focus on and assess the following core skills: 


Chronological understanding 

Source work and interpretations 

Historical significance 

Change and continuity 

Cause and consequence 



The same skills are addressed again at Key Stage 4 in greater depth. We adhere to the following AQA specification: 



Assessment at Key Stage 4 involve knowledge quizzes, timed questions and full examination papers. At the end of Year 11, students sit two papers each lasting two hours and each worth 84 marks (4 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar). There is no coursework. The examination papers are made up of the following: 


Paper 1: Understanding the modern world  

Section A Period studies: Germany, 1890 – 1945: Democracy and dictatorship 

Section B Wider world depth studies: Conflict and Tension: The First World War, 1894 – 1918  


Paper 2: Shaping the nation 

Section A Thematic studies: Britain: Health and the people c1000 to the present day 

Section B British depth studies including the historic environment: Elizabethan England c1568 – 1603  

Wider Curriculum

The History Department offers a range of trips for all year groups: 


Year 7 – Medieval Day, Tatton Park, Cheshire 

Year 8 – Tudor Trail, three-day excursion to London 

Year 8 – Blists Hill Victorian Museum or Quarry Bank Mill 

Year 9 – Imperial War Museum North 

Year 10 – Week-long excursion to Krakow, Poland 

Year 11 – Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds 

Year 12 – Weekend Field Trip to Edinburgh 

Year 12 – Bosworth Field 

Year 12 – Manchester John Rylands University Library 

Year 13 – Houses of Parliament/visit from local MP 

Useful Links

How you can support your child at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4: 

  1. Visit sites of historical interest both locally and nationally where possible
  2. Encourage debates and the formation of opinions
  3. Read around different historical topics (fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, journals, online websites)
  4. Enjoy a range of historical films, documentaries and podcasts
  5. Familiarise yourself with the AQA GCSE specifications and topics that we study


Useful websites and links: