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.


Key Stage 3

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.  Our marking points (typically every five lessons) focus on the key skills in History: e.g. causation; use of sources; extended writing; similarity and difference (and more).  We use these marking points to check pupils’ understanding and to monitor progress.


The curriculum generally follows a chronological order, examining key events in British history and in a wider global context.  However, we have also built in depth studies which give pupils an idea of change over a longer period of time. 


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 the Key stage 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.  We then move on to our first local study, examining the early history of Liverpool.  In particular, we examine the impact of the docks in Liverpool’s development as a major international city.  Year 7 finishes with our first synoptic (overview study), with a focus on migration.  Here we examine the history of migration to Britain over a 1000 year period.  We assess the impact migrants have had on the development of Britain and assess the legacy of migration in the 21st century.


Year 8 starts off with a focus on the Industrial period in British history.  The unit looks at 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.  Our second synoptic study looks at the development of medicine over a 1000 year period.  We pay a particular focus on the development of medicine in 20th century, including the impact of warfare and the development of the NHS.  This provides a good bridge towards our next study, the causes and key events of World War One.  We use this time period to also examine the extension of the vote to women after the Great War.  Next, as a non-European study, pupils examine key events in the history of the USA.  Initially, pupils examine the causes and impact of prohibition.  We return to events in the USA in Year 9.  Year 8 finishes with a study of the inter-war period, with a focus on Hitler’s rise to power and the causes of World War Two. 


The final year of the Key Stage, Year 9, is mainly devoted to key events of the 20th century.  We start off the year with a detailed study of World War Two key events & 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.  To “finish” the story of the Second World War, we then look at its main legacy: the Cold War.  This is a short topic, examining causes and key events of the Cold War.  We then return to our non-European study, examining 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.  Following this, we resume the local study of Liverpool.  Here we examine 20th century events, like the blitz and the Hillsborough Disaster, and assess the lasting legacy of these events on Liverpool.  Year 9 concludes with a final synoptic study on Crime and Punishment.  This is designed to give all pupils an idea of change over time in the criminal justice system.  It also provides the opportunity to transition pupils towards a possible GCSE in History (in Year 10).


Every topic in KS3 is concluded with a marking point.  These marking points have been specifically designed by the department to assess pupils’ use and understanding of key historical skills.  It also gives the department the chance to check for misconceptions and gaps in knowledge.  Pupils also complete two overview assessments, typically in January and June.  These assessments assess a range of historical skills and also include a knowledge “quiz”.  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 Key Stage 3 Curriculum Map

Key Stage 3

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 10 (a two-year course).  Pupils study four separate topics as part of our History GCSE course:

  • Anglo-Saxon and Norman England.  A study of the Norman Conquest and the impact of the Norman invasion on Anglo-Saxon society.
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany.  This part of the course is mainly based on primary sources and historical interpretations.  The focus is on life in Germany after World War One.  We then look at Hitler’s rise to power and the impact this had on German society.
  • Superpower Relations (the Cold War).  This topic focuses on the period after World War Two, when Europe and the wider world was divided into two power blocs – NATO v the Warsaw Pact.  The course looks at the key events in the Cold War (particularly in Europe), ending with the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
  • Crime and Punishment.  This topic is an overview of crimes, punishments and enforcement over a 1000 year period (1000 to the present day).  It gives pupils a sense of change over a long period of time.  It would be a brilliant introduction to the Criminology course studied at KS5.

The aim is to finish the entire GCSE course by Easter of Year 11, to allow time for exam practice and technique.  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 Key Stage 4 Curriculum Map


Key Stage 5

History Key Stage 5 Curriculum Map


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...