Why is History important?

History is an enquiry into the past, in all its diversity. As historians, we ask difficult questions of our predecessors and their lives. Did England welcome the Reformation? Were the enslaved able to resist their enslavement? Did the Norman Conquest transform England? Did the Mansa of Mali rule like the Oba of Benin?
In answering these questions we make claims about the past that require careful and thoughtful uses of sources of contemporary evidence.
In doing so we develop curious and critical learners. A student who embraces History is a student who is empowered to change the world.


What is the aim of the History curriculum at Oaklands?

The History curriculum at Oaklands aims to foster in students a curiosity and a critical approach. Students will ask themselves: how do we know this happened? Why has the story of these events been told in such a way? What can we learn from these events? We are also keen to foster an appreciation of ‘world history’. In studying such a range of significant moments in the history of our globe, we aim to equip students with a deeper understanding of ‘the past’- one that existed both before and beyond the borders of our contemporary nation states. Indeed from Year 7 to Year 13 we aim to examine and re-examine ‘our Island story’ in all its contradictions, inconsistencies and retellings. These diverse histories are rooted in an appreciation of the historical skills required to do justice to the past.


For further details about History @ Oaklands School click here

How is the curriculum in History structured?

The structure of the History curriculum at Oaklands is purposeful and meaningful. From their first lesson in Year 7, students are encouraged to grapple with second order historical concepts. We build up an understanding of how to deal with evidence, similarity and difference, significance, change and continuity, interpretation and causation. Students return to these concepts through enquiries across Key Stage 3, 4 and 5. As an example, students are asked in Year 7 to assess the value of the ‘England's Immigrant database’ for historians enquiring into the lives of medieval migrants. In Year 8 they are asked to draw inferences from contemporary sources on how the Mansas of Mali and Obas of Benin ruled their kingdoms. In Year 9 they are asked to build on their evidential understanding to make a legal case of genocide against the Pakistani military in Bangladesh in 1971. At KS4, students are asked to deal with evidence when enquiring into the causes and consequences of the Reformation. Finally at KS5 students are asked to assess the value of contemporary sources to historians studying post-war Britain. At all stages students are being asked to progress their evidential understanding. 

Topics covered in Year 7

  • Did the Normans Conquest transform England?
  • What was the most significant challenge to the power of Medieval Monarchs?
  • Where was Medieval Islam most Golden?        
  • How valuable is englandsimmigrants.com to a Historian?          
  • When was it safest to speak your mind in Tudor England?

Topics covered in Year 8

  • Was Charles I the architect of his own downfall?
  • Why have people disagreed over Cromwell’s statue?  
  • How similar was rule in Mali in the 1320s to Benin in the 1500s?
  • Why were some women given the vote in 1918?           
  • How far were the enslaved able to resist being dehumanised?    

Topics covered in Year 9

  • How far do these sources reveal why Britain built an empire builder?
  • How do we know that Genocide occured in Bangladesh in 1971?
  • Were two bullets responsible for 12 million deaths?   
  • How significant was the Russian Revolution?  
  • How did Hitler and the Nazis go from Fringe to Fuhrer? *
  • Did the Nazis really create their Volksgemeinschaft? *

Topics covered in Year 10

  • Who really ruled England c.1000 – 1485?      
  •  How did England go from ‘supreme’ to frivolous monarchs between 1485 and 1790?    
  • How powerful did ‘the people’ become by 2014?       
  •  Why was the Church both revered and reviled in the 1520s?
  •  What were the causes and consequence of the Dissolution of the Monasteries?
  • Was the Reformation welcomed or resisted by England?
  • How did Kenilworth Castle’s form and function change between c.1120 – c.1700?

 Topics covered in Year 11

  • Who or what was to blame for World War Two?
  • Who or what was to blame for Cold War tensions?      
  • How and why have historians disagreed over Appeasement?
  •  How and why have historians disagreed over the origins of the Cold War?

KS4 Qualification title

  • OCR (A) GCSE History

KS5 Qualification title

  • AQA A Level History

History Curriculum Maps

Additional learning resources


Practical tips / activities for parents to support learning at home

Read widely and learn about the past both in the classroom and outside of school.