Through the study of History students learn to contextualise the world around them. Alongside this the subject provides an ideal opportunity for students to develop their thinking skills,  learning to question the validity and reliability of evidence, construct a rigorous argument and communicate their ideas effectively. Central to the study of History at DWHS is the spirit of enquiry: we seek to get students asking questions about what has shaped the world in which they live and to work independently to investigate why historical interpretations of the past vary. Such learning takes place in mixed-ability classes, where every student is supported to develop these skills and access this academically rigorous subject in a meaningful way.

key stage 3

Key Stage 3 History is designed to focus on developing historical thinking to enable students to become competent historians. The lessons are based around the key historical concepts of chronological understanding, significance, cause and consequence, diversity, change and continuity, and interpretation. All lessons throughout Key Stage 3 are designed to be accessible and challenging for every individual learner, so that students simultaneously progress in their ability to practise academic history and are engaged by the subject more broadly.

Every year group studies six topics over the course of the academic year and each topic is designed around an enquiry question that both links and directs the course of learning. These six topics are also set within over-arching themes that enable students to develop their chronological understanding and make wider links between different historical periods, events, and places.


Students study the lives of ordinary people through the theme of ‘living and believing’, tracing the development of society from the Iron Age through to the Twentieth Century.


The focus this year is ‘power and protest’, within which students investigate the balance of power between rulers and their subjects, by studying both British history and that of other countries around the world.

key stage 4


 The Year 9 topics link together under the theme of ‘conflict and co-operation’, focusing on periods of both war and tolerance from different parts of the globe, dating back as far as Medieval times and coming up to the recent past. In addition the year 9 curriculum is a pre-GCSE course that through the theme of ‘conflict and co-operation’ develops key skills that will more rigorously prepare those students going on to take History GCSE.

The GCSE History course builds on the knowledge and skills that students acquired at Key Stage 3. The topics during these two years of study are varied and engaging, including a strong British element, as well as wider global issues that are very much relevant today. There is a strong literacy focus to the course, as students at this level are required to communicate their learning in an articulate and analytical way, thus a willingness to read, debate and write extended pieces of work are necessary to do well in a GCSE that is 100% examination.





GCSE History.


The history course offered at GCSE is specifically designed to be both engaging and challenging to students.  Those skills learnt at KS3, such as source analysis, historical enquiry, and interpretation evaluation, are developed further at GCSE through a diverse selection of both British and global topics.

In Year 10 students will get to study the history of medicine in Britain, which traces the nature of medical practice from the Middle Ages up to the present day.  This topic enables students to better understand the process of change over a large period of time, whilst also tying in well with GCSE science and particularly helping those students interested in future careers in the sciences or medicine.

The second Year 10 topic is a depth study that looks at Germany in the short period of time between World War One and World War Two when the Nazis gained power.  This popular topic uses sources from the period to better enable students to understand the Nazis' rise to power and the impact which their actions had on the rest of the world.

Students then start Year 11 with another 20th century topic; the Middle East conflict.  The controversy surrounding this area of study is precisely what makes it so fascinating, and through developing their ability to wrestle with contrasting interpretations students are able to form a much deeper understanding of the situation that still greatly impacts on the world they live in.  The final GCSE topic comes back to Britain and focuses on the country during the reign of the Tudor monarch Elizabeth I.  This was an exciting time in Britain, both in regards to religion and literature, as well as politics and exploration.  Thus through studying this short period of British history in-depth students discover many of the foundations of the country we know today.


All four topics are examined at the end of the course in three separate papers:

Paper 1 (30%) - Thematic Study

Medicine Through Time: 1250 - present

Paper 2 (40%) - Period Study and British Depth Study

Conflict in the Middle East: 1945 - 1995 (20%)

Early Elizabethan England: 1558 - 1588 (20%)

Paper 3 (30%) - Modern Depth Study

Nazi Germany: 1918 - 1939

key stage 5

Studying History helps us to make sense of the world around us, better understand the complex problems that exist within societies today and enables us to build an identity through which we can approach the ever changing challenges of the future.

The skills developed through the study of History help students to be more perceptive, analytical thinkers and are transferable to many other subject and careers following school. They include research, building successful arguments, analysing evidence and applying large amounts of knowledge to specific issues.

Exam Board: Pearson Edexcel

Year 1 Subject Content:

Apartheid in South Africa:

Looking at the history of the country from 1945-1994, during which the political, social and cultural life of South Africa was transformed through the establishment and then deconstruction of the Apartheid system.

The history of America during the 20th century:

Students will study four themes of American history through this transformative era, including politics, civil rights, and social and cultural change, all of which have impacted the wider world in ways that are both obvious and implicit.

Year 2 Subject Content


In the second year, students will develop their understanding of the American Civil Rights Movement through the research and writing of their coursework, which will enable them to investigate an area of the topic that they found particularly interesting.

The British Empire:

At the same time they will study their final topic, that of the rise and fall of the British empire. This is a particularly relevant area of study, which considers both British and wider world history, so as to better understand the country we now live in. To do this students will learn about the history of India, North Africa, Canada, America and Australia, giving a global context to many of the historical events students have already studied at Key Stage 3 and 4.

Career Opportunities / Routes

History students will develop many skills which will support them to successfully pursue work in a wide range of professions, including law, management, the arts, media, journalism, the Civil Service, education and politics.


Paper 1: Breadth study with interpretations
In search of the American dream: the USA, c1917–96

  • 30%

Paper 2: Depth Study

South Africa, 1948–94: from apartheid state to ‘rainbow nation’         

  • 20%

Paper 3: Themes in breadth with aspects in depth – 

Britain: losing and gaining an empire, 1763–1914  

  • 30%


Assessment of ability to carry out a historical enquiry, analysing and evaluating historical interpretations, and organising and communicating the findings.

  • 20%