Welcome to History

As students of History we work hard

Throughout our time at NFS, we develop the skills required to become a capable historian. We are an enquiry-based subject that looks at a range of evidence to create informed opinions. We develop our conceptual understanding of the past so that we can assess the significance of important events and understand both their causes and consequences. Throughout the course of our study, we tackle increasingly challenging reading material and develop our literacy skills so that we can write at length about each enquiry. We use these skills to build up a synoptic understanding of how social, economic and political themes have developed throughout time. We can draw parallels between British, European and global history and understand the impact of imperialism and globalisation on the world. We also build up a chronological understanding of social developments so that we can appreciate why Britain is the diverse, democratic and economically developed country of the modern day.

As teachers of History we work hard

As teachers we ensure that our students have a well-rounded understanding of British, European and world history. We provide ambitious reading content and set high expectations for students to annotate and evaluate this literature. We plan and resource robust lessons that allow students to acquire, retain and apply important knowledge that will empower them to make informed decisions about the modern world. We model what it is to be a good historian by taking a keen interest in reading around the subject ourselves. Likewise, we are well-informed about current world affairs and seek to draw parallels between modern and historical events wherever relevant.

As students of History we are kind

We develop our empathy through the study of topics that celebrate our school’s ethos and diversity. We critically examine the wrongdoings of both governments and individuals through themes such as slavery and wrongful imprisonment. We study the causes of racism both here in Britain and in Europe and its devastating impact on social and ethnic groups. We also study the nature of social injustice suffered by minority groups, the poor and women throughout history. Through the study of these complex and sensitive topics, we become empathetic learners and develop our own moral stance on areas of injustice. We also learn the value of teamwork and how to cooperate together in order to complete an enquiry. We learn how to communicate in a respectful and compassionate way during discussions, and we learn the skill of respectful and appropriate debate.

As teachers of History we are kind

We equip our students with empathy, courage and a strong moral compass. We model empathy through our narrative of historical events and through asking probing questions during class discussions. We carefully select source material that will develop our students in their growth of compassion. We challenge inappropriate or prejudice remarks whilst seeking to understand their underlying cause. Collaborative learning and respectful debate form a core part of our lessons, so that students understand tolerance and the value of opinions different to their own. Through the handling of controversial events in history, we teach our students the courage to stand up against wrongdoing and the harm caused by the bystanders of those events.


The curriculum intent for History is to

  • Enable our students to have a robust understanding of historical British and world events. Through learning the discipline of History pupils can critically examine an extensive range of source material in order to understand the key sequence of important events and the role that significant individuals have paid to both British and global society.
  • Pupils will develop a synoptic understanding of the evolution of significant events and the world conflicts that have shaped modern society.
  • This makes them informed individuals that possess cultural capital and awareness of both mistakes and triumphs of history.


A chronological understanding of British and world events will be built upon accumulatively throughout years 7 and 8. This then links into chronological study of themes at GCSE. To develop the historical enquiry and reasoning skills we have incorporated regular opportunities for discussions and extended writing. This develops from shorter pieces of prose in years 7 and 8 and gradually build on these skills to write an extended piece of evaluation by the end of Y11. The ability to research and use sources will be developed from pictorial and basic sources at KS3 to more developed sources at GCSE. Active reading and comprehension also feature prominently in the curriculum in order to build up student’s resilience of comprehension activities. The history curriculum includes a range of both interesting and moral topics in order to build up their moral understanding of the world as well as develop their understanding of fundamental British values. These topics all contribute to student’s cultural capital.

Year 7 and 8

Year 7

  • Historical Skills: chronology, reliability, significance, using sources
  • Power and Control: the Battle of Hastings, the feudal system, Henry II and the murder of Becket
  • Religion and Faith: Medieval Religion, heaven and hell
  • Medieval Life, including the Black Death
  • The Break with Rome and Religious Changes under the Tudors
  • The Late Tudors: Was Elizabeth's reign a Golden Age?

Year 8

  • Crime and Punishment through Time, 1100-Present Day
  • The Industrial Revolution and British Empire
  • Case Study of the Titanic
  • War and Peace: Causes of World War I, life in the trenches, and the Battle of the Somme.
  • The Inter-War Years
  • World War II: causes and events



Course outline

The GCSE course has four main elements:

  • Germany 1890-1945, which looks at the power of the Kaiser, World War I, the chaos of the inter-war years and the rise and fall of the Nazi party.
  • Medicine Through Time, a thematic study of the development of medicine from the medieval period to the present day.
  • The Inter-War Years, 1918-1939, studying the crucial years between the two World Wars.
  • The Norman Conquest, which looks in depth at the impact and legacy of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066.

Assessment details

There are two final exam papers:

  • Paper One is based on the two ‘modern’ topics, and contains ten questions worth between four and twenty marks each.
  • Paper Two, there are a total of eight questions, worth between eight and twenty marks. Most answers require a few sentences but there is also an essay question.

In each paper, both source skills and subject knowledge are required. Both papers are 1 hour 45 minutes.

Additional information

For history lessons you will need to bring your standard equipment to every lesson.
History is an extremely highly regarded subject by many further education institutions and employers. It teaches a broad range of skills, including analysing evidence, justifying points and clear, structured extended writing. History also gives you a fantastic understanding of how the current world was shaped by significant events in the past. A study of history and the additional skills it provides is a superb way to develop transferable skills that can prove invaluable in almost any profession.

Long Term Curriculum Plan

All Humanities subjects are available at GCSE and A Level at The Nottingham Free School. As part of our core curriculum all pupils will take either GCSE Geography or History. As Philosophy and Ethics is a core subject for all 11-18 year olds, all pupils will have the opportunity to study short course in Philosophy and Ethics. Pupils will also be able to opt to take the full GCSE in Philosophy and Ethics if they wish.

A Levels in these subjects will prepare pupils well for a variety of university courses.

Geography History Philosophy and Ethics
University Courses Geography, International Relations, Politics, Economics, PE History, Politics, Economics, Media, Teaching, Law, Criminology, Forensics, Business, Journalism. Theology, Religious Studies, Philosophy, Law, Criminology, Medicine, Nursing.
Careers Journalism, Politician, Tourism, Environmentalist, Weather forecaster/presenter, town planner, surveyor, Outdoor Pursuits, Survival Expert Business, Architects, Finance and banking, Teaching, Law, Politics, Police, Television, Armed forces, Research, Journalism, Doctor Teaching, law, Social work, Nursing, Doctor, Charity worker, Media, Politics, Social work

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