The Oldershaw history department aims to provide a safe and welcoming environment with clear routines and high expectations for all students. We have bespoke strategies for individual students in order to ensure our lessons are highly inclusive. Furthermore, we are passionately committed to providing a curriculum that is:

  • Exciting, broad and coherent so as to engage our learners in history – locally, nationally and internationally – instilling in them a love of learning about the past and a passion to find out more. 
  • Carefully planned, predominantly in chronological sequence – with some interleaving – meeting the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum, both in terms of substantive knowledge as well as disciplinary.
  • Adapted to address gaps in learning across all key stages in view of the differences in experiences across our cohort, as well as to respond to lost learning opportunities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, the history department has identified key disciplinary literacy and prioritised what we believe to be the core knowledge for pupils to secure in their long-term memory, that is, key generative knowledge on which they can build and which supports them to learn more in the future. Prioritising in this way enables teachers to make effective ‘live’ decisions about what knowledge to emphasise
  • Focused on developing pupils experience and knowledge, outside of the UK, in order to give students a broader world perspective light of Brexit.
  • Designed to develop the subject specific but also soft skills that our pupils require for increased employability. These are not only regularly utilised in class they are also made explicit to pupils.
  • Refined in order to address weaknesses identified through analysis of 2019 outcomes.

It is important to note that we believe that knowledge of the past must be shaped by disciplinary approaches in order to become historical knowledge. This view has been shaped by modern academic research and more specifically the work of Counsell (2018) building on the initial findings of McAleavey (1998) that challenged the tendency to falsely separate pupils’ ability to analyse and their knowledge. As such, historical skills are introduced logically and simultaneously to build on prior learning and aid progression.


The Year 7 journey begins with a pre-1066 unit, what Britain was like before the Roman invasion by identifying who the Celts were. We then move on to life in Roman Britain and complete a continuity and change study comparing life under the Romans to the Celts. This unit also includes a study of Boudicca and the resistance she led. We then move on to learn why the Romans left Britain, before reflecting on their legacy. We conclude the unit looking at how the Saxons lived, including another comparison to the Romans, before looking at the Viking invasions in this period. We then move on to the Norman invasion and conquest. After studying how Harold Godwinson came out on top in the contender contest and learning about his victory in the Battle of Stamford Bridge we follow him to Hastings were he loses out to Duke William of Normandy. The remainder of this term covers the Norman Conquest and how William gained control of England through a combination of building castles, the Feudal System, the Domesday Book and the Harrying of the North. We end the year with Medieval Realms. In this unit we cover the murder of Thomas Becket, the concept of the Crusades and then King John, including his troubles with the Barons which led to the Magna Carta and the birth of democracy. We then move on to the Black Death and the temporary end of the labour service, before moving on to the Peasants Revolt, linking this revolution back to attempted revolutions by the Barons in the Baron’s War. We finish the year with a look at Crime and punishment during the Medieval era, focusing on policing, trials and punishments and what continuity and change there was between the Saxons, the Normans and the later Middle Ages.

The Year 8 journey begins with the Tudors. Having looked at both Richard III and Henry VII’s potential role in the disappearance of the Princes in the tower (in 1484) at the start of this term, we go on to study the differences between Catholics and Protestants, before learning about Henry VIII and the Reformation. We look at the significance of this and the subsequent dissolution of the monasteries before moving on to Elizabeth I, with a focus on her image, the exploration that went on during her reign with individuals such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake and her war with King Philip II of Spain and the Spanish Armada. The term culminates by looking at the first Stuart King – James I -and the attempted Gunpowder Plot, asking why it was important and whether or not the Catholics were set up.  We then move on to the Stuarts. This unit starts with a study of the causes of the English Civil War, looking at issues such as divine right and democracy, before exploring what life was like for ordinary people, during the war, as well as which side they supported and why? We then zoom in on the soldiers and what happened during the key battles, before examining the trial and execution of King Charles I. We then move on to learn about England with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector, before covering the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II and then the Glorious Revolution when he was overthrown by his sister Mary and William of Orange. We end the year with the industrial period. This unit covers the major changes in Britain, caused by the population explosion of the 1700s, resulting in the need for more efficient agricultural and cloth-making industries. The resulting large-scale machines, and shortage of jobs in the countryside, meant Britain changed from a rural country based on primary industries, such as farming, to a country made up of growing urban areas, based on the manufacturing industry. This unit also includes an imperialism and colonialism topic covering lessons on who Jack the Ripper may have been and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, including its abolition. The unit (and term) concludes with lessons on who killed Abraham Lincoln, linking back to the end of slavery, and the British Empire with a focus on India.    

For 2022-23 only – This will be a 20th Century Unit in 2023-24 as we complete our transition back to a 3-year KS3

The Year 9 journey begins with Medieval and Early Modern Mastery. With a clear chronological timeline in pupils’ minds from year 7 and 8, providing excellent context, the first term of year 9 sees us revisit the Medieval and Early Modern periods but this time with a greater focus on the influence of the church at this time (rather than the government) as well as looking more closely at the everyday lives of people and how society functioned for them with regards to law and order. This involves case studies on issues linked to law and order, such as Witchcraft and Vagabonds – both of which were caused by social inequality.  We then move on to Georgian and Victorian Mastery. After studying some key crimes in the Georgian era such as smuggling (linked to local history), poaching and highway robbery, we revisit the Industrial Period (c.1700-1900) but this time with a focus on Social Reformers. These include John Howard, Elizabeth Fry and also the home secretary (and later PM) Robert Peel who helped to change the prison system and introduce the first police force respectively. For our pupils, this not only illustrates how the inequalities from the previous period were being addressed but it also builds on their learning in year 8 about the work of the abolitionists. We also look beyond the UK and study the French Revolution before returning to review its impact on things at home, most importantly the fear it instilled in the British Government, that a similar popular protest could happen here, resulting in harsh punishments for any suspects, for example with the Tolpuddle martyrs. We end the year with Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper. Having covered concepts, such as, causation, continuity and change as well as interpretation – all integral to our teaching – earlier in the key stage, the concept of using evidence is further developed in the final term of year 9. We do this through an in depth look at the Jack the Ripper case, to investigate how effectively the police used the evidence available to them. We also learn about some of the key suspects as well as suspicions surrounding Jewish community and the Socialist and Anarchist ideas coming into Britain at this time from Eastern Europe which struck fear into the Government in the same way the French Revolution did.

Full Course Details available via PEARSON website HERE

The Year 10 journey begins with the reign of King Richard I: 1189-1199 . After taking a tour through life and government in the Angevin Empire, looking at the Feudal System, life in towns and villages, the role of religion, Jewish pogroms and Kingship in the Medieval Period, we study how the concept of Crusading began. This provides the context for Richard the Lionheart who makes his name in the Third Crusade after which we ask why he failed to deliver Jerusalem but also consider the many successes he still had in the Holy Land, and beyond, with reference to his recapturing of Normandy before his death in 1199. We then move on to The reign of King John 1199-1216. After studying the importance of Normandy to the English throne, we look in detail at how John manages to lose Normandy (again) to Philip II of France examining a range of factors: from poor diplomacy and military mistakes, to bad look and Philip’s brilliance. We then focus on John’s difficult relationships, firstly with the Pope that ends in England being placed under interdict and John being excommunicated. Secondly, and most importantly, with the Barons as this leads to the Barons’ Rebellion, the Magna Carta and finally the Baron’s War. We end the year with Weimar Germany: 1918-33. Here, we cover the wide-ranging challenges facing the Weimar Republic (Germany’s new democratic government). Already unpopular, as Germans were used to an autocratic leader, they confirmed their fate by signing the armistice to end World War One as well as the subsequent Treaty of Versailles. We then study the resulting revolution attempts from both left and right-wing extremists in the Spartacist Uprising and Kapp Putsch respectively, before finishing the term learning about the huge economic threats caused by the French invasion of the Ruhr (Ruhr Crisis) and the resulting hyperinflation.

Full Course Details available via PEARSON website HERE

The Year 11 journey begins with Weimar Germany: 1918-1933 and Nazi Germany: 1933-39. After the brief recovery for the Weimar Republic, under Stresemann, we then learn about the Wall Street Crash and the resulting depression, both of which provide the context for the rise of the Hitler’s Fascist Dictatorship whereby the Nazis evolve from a party who used democracy to gain mass support, through a clever mix of propaganda and promises, to one that destroyed democracy from within. This component culminates by studying how Hitler created this totalitarian dictatorship and the resulting impact on the lives of the German people. We then move on to Superpower relations during the Cold War: 1941-91. The content we cover this term includes the Peace conferences: Yalta, Potsdam and Tehran, held towards the end of World War Two, as the USA and the Soviet Union emerged as superpowers and jostled for the upper hand through the development of nuclear weapons, the creation of satellite states in the east and a series of crises in Berlin, Hungary, Cuba, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, all of which could potentially have triggered a Third World War. The course concludes with the collapse of the Soviet Union, triggered by the peaceful actions of Mikhail Gorbachev, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize. We end the year with Crime and Punishment Through Time: c1000-present day. The concept of continuity and change under pins this component as pupils learn about crimes, policing, trials and punishments over four distinct time periods: Medieval, Early Modern, Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries and the Twentieth century. However, it also includes an historic environment study of the social conditions and political unrest in the East End, at that time, that provided the context for crime there. This unit culminates by examining the police investigation into the Jack the Ripper case.

Full Course Details available via AQA website HERE

The Year 12 journey begins with the Age of the Crusades: c.1071-99. This term examines questions such as why was the First Crusade called and why did people join it, by studying the importance of the Christian Church in medieval society and reviewing the position of the Byzantine Empire by the end of the 11th century. It also covers the factors that led to the success of the First Crusade, including military leadership and Muslim disunity. During the same term, our pupils also embark on the Making of Modern Britain. This begins with an examination as to why the conservative party was so dominant between 1951-64. We also review the economic developments and the post war boom as well as social developments focusing on rising living standards, the position of women and attitudes to immigration and racial violence. Finally, there is an examination of Britain’s relations with other countries, particularly early attempts to join the EEC, relations with USA and USSR, the Suis Crisis and decolonisation, before students are asked to assess how far the post-war consensus broke down between 1970 and 79. In short, they will judge how far Britain was a country transformed during this whole period. We then move on to crusading in the first half of the 12th century (for paper 1). This includes the establishment and consolidation of Outremer focusing on the key factors that enabled this, followed by the rise of Jihad, culminating in the loss of Edessa and ultimately the outbreak of the Second Crusade. We move on to a study of Wilson and the Labour Governments: 1964 to 1970. This includes a focus on the economic problems that Britain faced and a study of the beginning of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. We then assess the impact of the liberal reforming legislation of the late 1960s including the end of capital punishment, divorce reform and the legalisation of abortion. We also study the social and cultural change of the 1960s including growth in leisure activities, progress towards female equality, youth culture and issues of immigration and race. We then look at relations with the United States and Europe and further decolonisation. We end the year with the completion of our Paper 1 Crusades unit, by examining the course of the Second Crusade and the factors that led to its relative failure preparing for the AS exam paper with bespoke revision. We examine Edward Heath’s government particularly the political and economic problems that he faced. We examine the ongoing troubles in Northern Ireland and Heath’s defeat of 1974. We then examine the governments of Wilson and Callaghan and the problems that they faced before an assessment of the changes in society in the 1970s and an examination or Britain’s relationship with Europe, the USA, the USSR and China. Once both AS papers have been completed, we embark on the NEA coursework unit. This includes a 100-year study of US Civil Rights, focussing on the role of the Federal Government in both helping and hindering the progress of black Americans towards equality as well as examining other contributing factors. This term sees us cover topics from the 1860s to the 1930s including the end of slavery, the reconstruction era, the white backlash, protest verses accommodationism, the great migration and the New Deal.

Full Course Details available via AQA website HERE

The Year 13 journey begins with the completion of the NEA coursework unit, by studying US Civil Rights in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, looking at the role of MLK and Malcolm X compared to JFK and Lyndon B. Johnson. For Paper 1, we study the rise of the Muslim leader Nureddin and his significance within the growth of jihad. We cover key problems faced by Baldwin III and Amalric, including the instability of their relationship with Byzantium. We examine the Thatcher era from 1979 up to 1987. We look at her character and ideology as well as her electoral success. We also examine the divided opposition before examining Thatcher’s economic policies and their impact on society. We then move on to the problems faced by Baldwin IV including the internal factions that developed, in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. We then examine the issues that Baldwin V and Guy of Lusignan faced, along with the military weaknesses that culminated in the loss of Jerusalem after the defeat to Saladin in the Battle of Hattin. We examine foreign affairs in the Thatcher era, particularly the Falklands crisis. We also examine Britain’s role in the end of the Cold War and Britain’s relationship with Europe. We then study the fall of Thatcher and the rise of Major, before assessing him as a leader looking at issues such as black Wednesday. We then learn about the divisions in the conservative party, at the same time the realignment of the Labour Party. We assess how far Britain was a socially liberal country by 1997 and finish by looking at Britain’s relationships with other countries, including in the Balkans. We end the year with a study of the causes and course of the Third and Fourth Crusades along with their impact. We examine the New Labour governments of 1997 to 2007 and the divisions within the conservative party in those years. We assess the extent to which Britain had become a multicultural society and we finish by determining Britain’s position in the world by 2007. We finish both units with bespoke revision prior to their A-Level examinations.

Cultural Capital & Enrichment

The implementation of the history curriculum includes opportunities for learners to learn outside the classroom. Our Key Stage 3 learners have the opportunity to visit:

  • The Maritime Museum in Liverpool. This visit will further our learners’ understanding of the Slave Trade and will include a walking tour of local landmarks which tell a unique story of the city’s involvement in the Triangular Slave Trade. This tour will encourage our learners to reflect on the role of our ancestors and ask some deep questions about the morality of many involved. This trip links to our Slavery unit but also includes local history.

Over recent years the history department have also run popular trips for our key stage 4 and 5 learners to:

  • Whitechapel in London, following the Jack the Ripper tour and taking in many tourist attractions from the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace to the London Eye
  • Krakow in Poland which included a visit to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau, flying out on 27th January 2020, exactly 75 years after this notorious camp was liberated. Here we saw a number of survivors being interviewed on what was an historic day. The Poland trip also included a tour of Krakow itself seeing the beauty of the original architecture that unlike Warsaw, bombed heavily during World War Two, has survived, some from the Medieval Period. The trip concludes with another world class excursion as we visit the famous Salt Mines.  
  • The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton for the annual Holocaust Memorial Services, whereby local experts and more importantly survivors speak first hand of their experiences to an audience comprised of a number of schools across the Wirral. Our learners have actively taken part in the service over the last few years, reading out vows for the future and lighting candles on stage as well as asking questions of the panel.
  • Berlin, to explore the German Museum with a focus on the history of Germany within the Holy Roman Empire, Checkpoint Charlie and tours including the remains of the Berlin Wall and the holocaust museum and outdoor memorial. As well as the obvious cultural benefits of these visits they also compliment our key stage 4 and 5 studies really well, deepening our pupils understanding of the holocaust (GCSE Paper 3), the Cold War (GCSE Paper 2) and also the background to the Crusades (A-Level Paper 1)

We launched Oldershaw’s first History Podcast Club in September 2021 whereby a cross section of our KS4 and KS5 pupils have used a range of transferable skills, for example, teamwork, organisation, research, communication (in planning and obviously recording) and also editing, to produce some high quality podcasts, all available on the school website. We cover a range of topical events such as Kristallnacht (linked to Holocaust Memorial Day) and the truce in WW1 (recorded just before Christmas). We have also covered a range of topics from the GCSE syllabus, with the aim of providing our students with an alternative, and highly useful, revision tool.  

We facilitate a range of educational visits and experiences including:

  • Liverpool Maritime Museum: Including a walking tour of Liverpool identifying links to slavery
  • Holocaust Memorial Day conference: With a holocaust survivor speaking
  • London: Whitechapel and the Jack the Ripper Tour
  • Poland: Auschwitz & the Salt Museum
  • Berlin: Holocaust Museum, Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and more

Progression Routes

A good pass in GCSE History can lead to more advanced study in our sixth form (or others) as pupils are able to apply to study A-Level History (first completing AS History in year 12) and higher education courses after that.

Our 6th form intake in history at the Oldershaw School has trebled since 2019 which is encouraging and success in history A Level can lead to further progression. In recent years studying A-Level history at Oldershaw has enabled our learners to enter higher education at:

  • Liverpool University where a former pupil achieved a first-class history degree in 2018
  • Edge Hill University where a former pupil achieved a first-class history degree in 2019
  • Salford University where a former pupil is currently studying Social Policy for which the Modern Britain unit has been particularly useful having achieved a Grade C at A Level in 2019
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • Manchester University

History is also linked to careers in law, journalism, media work, archaeology, the heritage industry, the leisure industry and the police but also entails thinking and communication skills vital for immediate employment.

Potential progression routes are:

  • History AS and A Level
  • History (or other) Degree at university
  • Career in law
  • Career in teaching
  • Archaeology
The Oldershaw School
Valkyrie Road, Wallasey
Wirral CH45 4RJ
T: 0151 638 2800 E: schooladmin@oldershaw.wirral.sch.uk Executive Headteacher: Mr S Fisher