History is a popular subject at Blenheim. Each year over 100 pupils sit the GCSE exam and we have two groups studying History at A-level. Many of our students make excellent progress in History, with over 1/3 of students gaining A*-A grades at GCSE and we have seen many of our A-level students leave to study at Oxbridge.

Our aim in the History department is for students to make excellent progress, enabling them to learn from the mistakes of the past and to develop into questioning, curious, imaginative, informed members of a democratic society.

School Trips

A number of school visits are arranged throughout the course of the year.  Details of trips which have taken place this year or are planned in the future can be viewed in the School Visits, Enrichment area of the website.


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KS3 History

Years 7, 8, 9

Students complete a 1000 year study over the course of KS3, learning about British and World events from 1066 through to 2000. This 1000 year study covers a mix of conflicts, power, movement and settlement as well as the rise and fall of British Empire. Throughout Key Stage Three we investigate a number of key questions; these are included below. 

Year 7

  • What impact did William the conquerer have on England? 
  • How did the power of the king change under king John?
  • How did the Black Death affect the town of Alton? 
  • What was life like under Henry VIII?
  • What kind of Queen was Elizabeth? 
  • What was the Slave trade and how did it end? 

Year 8

  • What was World War One like and why should it be remembered?
  • What happened in World War Two? 
  • What was life in Nazi Germany?
  • What was the Holocaust and what can we learn from it?
  • How did the Cold War develop after World War Two?
  • How did warfare change over the twentieth century? 

Year 9

  • In preparation for starting their History GCSE students complete a thematic study on protest in the twentieth Century.  

  • Students will also explore how  key individuals tried to improve race relations in America in the 1950s and 60s?

  • Students will then begin their GCSE studies by studying the history of medicine from 1200-1990. 

What skills students develop

Students spend their time in Key Stage 3 developing the 6 historical skills of Causation, Interpretation, Diversity, Significance, Change over Time/Chronology and Evidence. They also learn to empathise with people in the past, to debate historical issues and to learn about how the world is like it is today. The literary nature of the subject also means their spelling, reading, writing, grammar and communication skills will improve too.

How students are assessed

Students complete 1 assessment each half-term, each one of these will focus on a GCSE exam skill, students will prepare for these assessments in lessons prior to writing their Key Assessment. 


Homework is set each week. Some pieces will be small and some pieces will be project based and may run over a number of weeks.

How parents can help

Parents can help by checking your child’s planner and making sure homework and independent study is up to date. Encouraging your child to visit museums, watch historical TV programmes or do some extra reading is also valuable.

School Trips

All year 9 students have the opportunity to visit Belgium for the day to see the World War 1 battlefields and cemeteries.

KS4 History 9-1

GCSE Graded 9-1

Board and Exam Details

All students complete the Edexcel History GCSE syllabus

Course Outline

  • British thematic study- focusing on Medicine through Time- c1000-present. Included in this, a study of the British sector of the Western Front, focusing on injuries, treatment and trenches.
  • Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88
  • The American West, 1835-1895
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939

Link to course specification

What skills students develop

History students will develop their thinking skills: such as problem solving, empathy, source analysis, understanding causes/consequences of events and evaluating differing interpretations of the past. They also develop an understanding of chronology and gain an understanding of the events that have shaped our world. History is crucial in supporting good literacy skills of spelling and written communication.

How students are assessed

Students are given GCSE tasks as formal assessments, and will be assessed at the end of each unit of study. These do not count towards the final GCSE but are a good indicator of student progress throughout the course.

There are three formal exams, taken at the end of Year 11 as follows:

  • Paper 1: 1 hour and 15 minutes (30%) Thematic Study and the Historic Environment- Medicine in Britain (c.1000 to present)
  • Paper 2: 1 hour and 45 minutes (40%) Period Study and British Depth Study- Early Elizabethan England 1558-88 and The American West, 1835-1895
  • Paper 3: 1 hour and 15 minutes (30%) Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939.


Students are given homework every week and are expected to spend around an hour completing it. This can take the form of further research, completing classwork notes, or students are set GCSE exam practise questions for homework, which are marked according to exam board marking criteria. Their work books or folders are also regularly checked.

How parents can help

Parents can help by ensuring that homework is completed and that their child is organised and bringing their file to each lesson. Any visits or TV programmes that have links to the GCSE course should be encouraged.

Extra-curricular Activities

The extended day runs period 6 on a Monday which all History students are invited to attend.