Head of Department - Mr J. Flannigan

The aims behind the teaching of History at Holy Family are:

  • To fire pupils’ curiosity and imagination in History.
  • To move and inspire students.
  • Help pupils develop their own identities through an understanding of history at personal, local, national and international level.
  • To help pupils find out about the history of their community, Britain, Europe and the world.
  • To develop a chronological overview that enables them to make connections within and across different periods and societies.
  • To investigate Britain’s relationships with the wider world and relate past events to the present day.
  • To encourage students to ask questions, evaluate evidence, identify and analyse different interpretations of the past.
  • To teach students to substantiate arguments and judgements they make.
  • To prepare students for the future, equipping them with transferrable knowledge and skills for later life.
  • To encourage students to take part in a democratic society.
  • To give students an understanding of the historic origins of our ethnic and cultural diversity.


The KS3 curriculum is designed to capture pupils' interest, instil a passion for learning and develop pupils' sense of place.  Lessons also introduce key skills, such as source evaluation, debating an issue and using evidence to form a coherent argument.  These skills are similar to those used in GCSE History and link to all the assessment points used throughout the KS3 curriculum.


For Years 7 and 8, the curriculum generally follows a chronological order, examining key events in British history and in a wider global context.  Year 7 starts with a focus on medieval English history, looking at key events like the Battle of Hastings and the murder of Thomas Becket.  Modern attitudes towards illness and medicine are contrasted with the impact of the Black Death on the medieval period.  We then move on to the Tudor and Stuarts (15th to 18th century).  As many pupils have already covered the Tudors in KS1 and KS2, our focus is more on the reign of Richard III.  Here we use the topic to examine historical interpretations and make links to the portrayal of Richard III by Shakespeare.  This makes links with the theme of propaganda (used later in Year 8 and at GCSE).  We then look at key events during the Stuart period, particularly the Gunpowder Plot and the execution of Charles I.  Pupils will have the opportunity to assess the most successful Stuart monarch based on their own evidence.  Following this topic, we move on to the Industrial period in British history.  The focus is mainly on living and working conditions during the Industrial Revolution.  However, there is also an opportunity to examine the context of the Whitechapel murders of 1888.  We also examine Britain's role in the wider world, with a study in depth of the colonisation of India, with particular focus on the impact of partition following World War Two.  Year 7 finishes with a local study of Liverpool.  This unit is designed to show pupils how Liverpool developed into a major international city.  There is opportunity to examine 20th century events, like the blitz and the Hillsborough Disaster, and assess the lasting legacy of these events on Liverpool.


Year 8 focuses more on Britain's wider role in the 20th century.  The causes and events of both World Wars are examined in detail.  For World War Two, for example, pupils examine a range of turning points, like the Dunkirk evacuation, to understand how Britain and the Allies 'won' the war.  We also spend a number of lessons looking and the causes, key events and legacy of the Holocaust.  As a bridge to the GCSE course, time is devoted to the causes of the Cold War, with a brief overview of key events.  In Year 8, as a non-European study, pupils examine key events in the history of the USA.  Initially, in the autumn term, pupils examine the causes and impact of prohibition.  Later on, in the summer term, we look at key events in 1960s America.  This gives pupils the opportunity to examine race and gender politics in America.  Time is also spent studying the Vietnam War (particularly its unpopularity) and the Moon landing of 1969.


Every topic in KS3 is concluded with an assessment point.  These assessments have been adapted from GCSE examination questions and are used, at an early point, to introduce the key skills required in History at KS4.  Each topic also includes a homework activity linked to the time period.  These homework tasks are designed to cover topics not covered in class.  Pupils use web links provided to independently research and answer questions on a range of topics.  In Year 7, for example, pupils will examine the Byzantine Empire, Incan civilization and Louis XIV of France.

History KS3 Schemes of Work

At Holy Family, pupils who pick History will follow the EDEXCEL 2015+ History course:  https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/history-2016.html


The KS4 History course starts in Year 9.  We use the Crime and Punishment study in depth as a good bridge between the KS3 course and the other elements of the GCSE course.  At present, most pupils are studying History in Year 9.  This unit is a good overview of 1000 years of British history.  It is part of the GCSE course.  However, for pupils not wishing to carry on studying History, it is useful for introducing modern themes of crime and punishment.  It would also be a brilliant introduction to the Criminology course studied at KS5.


From Year 10 onwards, pupils study the other elements of the GCSE course:

  • Anglo-Saxon and Norman England
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany
  • Superpower Relations

Classes may cover these topics in a slightly different order, or they might even be taught on a carousel basis.  The aim is to finish the entire GCSE course by January / February of Year 11, to allow time for detailed revision.  All courses include assessment points based on past GCSE papers.  This gives the department an accurate method of charting pupils' progress in History.  All topics also include homework activities linked both to factual recall of key knowledge and GCSE exam-style questions.

History KS4 Schemes of Work

  Unit 1 Unit 2

Year 12

New OCR A-Level

Britain 1930–1997 (Enquiry topic: Churchill 1930–1951)

Code: Y113

Worth: 25% of A-Level

Russia 1894–1941

Code: Y219

Worth: 15% of A-Level

  Unit 3 Unit 4
Year 13

Britain and Ireland 1791–1921

Code: Y316

Worth: 40% of A-Level

Topic-based essay (coursework).  Possibly on USA 20th century Civil Rights.

Code: Y100

Worth: 20% of A-Level


The History department takes part in a Year 8 trip to the International Slavery Museum. Year 7 pupils have visited the Museum of Liverpool as part of the first unit. The department has also participated in a series of foreign trips, most notably trips to the Battlefields of Belgium and France and a visit to Krakow and Auschwitz.

As things (hopefully) return to normal, we are planning on getting our KS3 and KS4 pupils out of the History classroom.  Initial plans are for a Viking day in Year 7 and a joint History/Geography visit to the Imperial War Museum in Salford Quays in Year 8.  Long-term plans are being put into place to offer a KS4 visit to Berlin in either 2022 or 2023.  Watch this space...