History is a very strong subject at Bishop’s. Results at A Level and GCSE are very good and many pupils go on to read History and/or Politics at university including at Oxford and Cambridge.

Head of Department: Miss V Brennan
Email: vab@bws.wilts.sch.uk

History Teachers: 
Mr H Joyce 
Mr C Higson 
Mrs P Anders 
Mrs A Saladajczyk-Horsell
Mr O Stamp 

Department Blog: https://bwshistory.wordpress.com/

Our primary aim is to stimulate, engage and engender in our pupils a love for the past. Pupils are encouraged to reach the highest levels of attainment within their capabilities.

Year 7

In Year 7, pupils are introduced to new vocabulary and concepts and encouraged to investigate and question. We start with an introduction to historical skills and progress through the Battle of Hastings, taking in ideas about causation and whether history is written by the winners, to Medieval Life. The pupils get the chance to act the detective on the case of the murder of Thomas Becket and find out what it was like to have the plague! Using sources, they come to their own conclusions about life at this time. While studying the Tudors, we consider ideas about power and conflict with the Church. The final unit is Islamic Civilisations, which complements the R.S unit nicely and provides the opportunity to look outside Europe.

Year 8

Year 8 starts with a bang (sorry) as we study the Stuarts and the Gunpowder Plot, assessing the theory that the Catholics were set up. We pick up on some of the concepts from yr 7, building on pupil's ideas of continuity and change, cause and consequence as well as demanding a more sophisticated handling of source-work/evidence. We cover a broad scale of time, people and places, taking in citizenship themes such as the role of Parliament, Civil War, the making of the U.K. and the French Revolution. Case studies of the Industrial Revolution and African Slavery in the Americas provide opportunities to discuss human rights and issues of today such as child labour. This is followed with a new unit on the American Revolution and its aftermath. As in year 7, there are opportunities for project and group work and assessments follow the same format so students can follow their progression.

Year 9

In year 9, the curriculum is designed both to introduce pupils to some of the skills and topics at GCSE level and to bring history up to date for those who are not. We start with World War 1 – trench life, campaigns and the home front. For the last couple of years, we have had a guest speaker in, in full soldier’s outfit, to spend the day with yr 9s. He has set up a ‘trench’ in the drama studio and brings the topic to life with his artefacts and extensive knowledge. In their study of the Inter war years, students get the chance to write their own peace treaty and we look at how life changed for women at this time. Life in Nazi Germany is the next topic, paving the way for those with an interest in modern history to take this much further at A level. World War 2 and the Home Front in Britain follow on naturally from this and give students a chance to look at and ask about their own family history. Many questions relevant to today are raised regarding ethics, use of censorship and how and why certain events are remembered and commemorated. We finish with the Atom Bombs and the protest movements in post-war Britain – an excellent chance for budding singer/songwriters to showcase their talents!

GCSE History

Students follow the Cambridge IGCSE course, taking a wide view on international relations and looking at case studies. A fair amount of self discipline is required but, throughout, pupils will be learning how to structure essays and answers, form and support arguments, debate and come to reasoned judgements. There is an emphasis on source-work, particularly questioning evidence. Mock exams, general paper practises and regular revision sessions are run to ensure the students have every opportunity to reach their potential. For many years now, we have run a battlefields trip in year 10. This always proves to be a valuable experience. We encourage pupils to use the library and IT and to read around a subject. As well as opportunities within class, there are resources available in the shared history folder on the network and the following websites provide information and games, particularly useful during revision:


Year 10

In year 10 we start with the world between the wars, which follows on nicely from yr 9 topics. The post war treaties, League of Nations and road to World War II lead us into a depth study of the USA 1919-41. Our depth study covers post war relations as well as fascinating topics such as the ‘roaring 20s’, gangsters and prohibition. We have opted to do without a controlled assessment.

Year 11

Yr 11 follows on very nicely from both aspects as students study the Cold War. We cover a broad spread of time, taking in the building of the Berlin Wall, the Cuba missile Crisis, the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as ongoing issues such as the arms and space races. This also gives students considering ‘A’ level history good context.

All year 11s have been directed to look at practice paper 2s (CIE iGCSE). The topic area is Korea. Please see the attached powerpoint, which will also be used in class. All students know that all revision material is available on Teams.


Paper 2 Revision prep - Korea 2024