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History at Rishworth

The History Department at Rishworth aims to combine the acquisition of historical knowledge with the development of important skills such as comprehension, understanding, analysis, evaluation, empathy and research.


These are skills needed and used by people on a daily basis in a whole range of different walks of life. Pupils are encouraged to engage with the subject by the emphasis on thinking and participating. The end aim is to develop pupils into fully aware and active citizens who are able to make balanced judgements and who are equipped with a sense of historical perspective. After all, if you don’t know who you are and where you’ve come from, how can you decide where you are going?


After Year 9, History is an optional subject and a popular choice for GCSE. A Level groups are usually small in number, allowing students every opportunity to become involved in lessons and to discuss issues in depth.

Lower & Middle School History

Year 7 Topics

  • What is History?
  • The Romans.
  • Rome.
  • Conquest of Britain.
  • Legacy of Rome.
  • Medieval period.
  • Contenders to throne.
  • Norman conquest.
  • Keeping control.
  • Castles.
  • Medieval Religion.
  • Thomas Becket murder.
  • Black death.


Year 8 Topics

  • Henry VIII .
  • Tudor religious changes.
  • ‘Golden’ Elizabethan era.
  • Spanish Armada fail.
  • Cover up in 1605.
  • English Civil War.
  • Oliver Cromwell.
  • Britain change: 1750—1900.
  • Factories.
  • Industrial cities.
  • Transport revolution.
  • Coal mine technology.
  • Cholera.

GCSE History

The GCSE History course aims to stimulate pupils’ natural curiosity about events in the past whilst at the same time helping them to understand problems and issues in the world they live in today through developing an understanding of their historical background.  History involves understanding how and why important events happened.  Discovering the answers to these questions will help to give pupils some understanding of key ideas in related areas such as economics and politics.


Course Content:

The new History course requires pupils to study topics across a range of different countries and time periods and also include a study of a specific historical site.  There is no longer any controlled assessment element to GCSE History.


At Rishworth we follow the OCR Schools History Project course. This course consists of five parts.


  1. A British Thematic Study of a topic over several hundred years, such as Crime and Punishment from the middle ages to the present day.
  2. A British Depth Study on the Elizabethan Period.
  3. History Around Us: a study of a site of historical interest which will hopefully include a site visit as well as doing research using the internet. The aim will be to understand the original purpose of the site and how its use has changed over time up to the present day.
  4. A World Period Study looking at the development of a country over a period of at least 200 years. We will study the USA 1789-1900, a period that includes the establishment of the US Constitution, the westward expansion of the USA to the Pacific, the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the Indian wars and the emergence of the USA as a world power by the beginning of the 20th century.
  5. A World Depth Study. Germany: Living under Nazi Rule 1933-45. Every History pupil, indeed, every citizen, should know about the Holocaust.  To understand it fully, it is necessary to study it in its historical context so as to understand the circumstances in which such an event could come to pass.


GCSE History helps to develop vital skills of analysis, interpretation, research, communication and making judgements.  This makes it a valuable and relevant qualification whatever a pupil’s future career or higher education plans may be.


Examination Board: OCR


Mode of Assessment:

Each of the five parts of the course is worth 20% of the marks.

There are three examination papers:

Paper 1 (1 hour 45 minutes) is the British paper covering topics 1 and 2 and carries 80 marks (40%).

Paper 2: (1 hour) is on Topic 3, History Around Us and carries 40 marks (20%).

Paper 3: (1 hour 45 minutes) is the World Studies paper covering topics 4 and 5 and carries 80 marks (40%).

A-Level History


History is about the study of the past and the understanding of the present.  Students develop the skills of investigation, explanation, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and judgement as well as an understanding of the society in which we live. A GCSE pass in History is good preparation, but is not essential. The course will focus on the key ideas and events of the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries and will include units on the history of Britain, the USA and Russia.


Course content


A-Level [Year 1]


Unit One: British History Study and Enquiry.

Britain 1930-1997

Examination: 1 x 1hr 3Omins; 25% of A-Level.

This unit allows students to develop their understanding of key issues in Britain today by seeing how the Great Powers of World War II developed into our modern society.  This is the history that your parents and grandparents lived through, and you were born into.  This unit looks at the changing fortunes of the main political parties, evaluates the significance of figures such as Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and looks at key issues such as the power of the trade unions and Britain’s relationship with Europe.


Unit Two: Non-British History Enquiry.

The American Revolution 1740-1796

Examination: 1 x 1hr 30mins; 15% of A-Level.

This unit looks at the causes of the American War of Independence which led to the creation of the USA as an independent country.  The role of key figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are considered.  This unit also examines the principles underlying key documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which even today form the basis of the American government system.


A-Level [Year 2]


Unit Three: Historical Themes. Russia and its Rulers, 1855-1964

Examination: 2 hrs 30mins; 40% of A-level

Russia has played an important part in modern history as a ‘Great Power’ and even as a ‘Super-Power’. Yet how much do we actually know about it, much less understand it?  This theme focuses on the nature of Russian government and its impact on the Russian people and society.  This period includes key events such as the rule of the Tsars, the revolutions of 1917, communist collectivisation and industrialisation, the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War.  Key figures include the last of the Tsars, Lenin, Stalin and Khruschev.


Unit Four (20% of A-Level) is a coursework investigation task of 3000-4000 words on a question of the student’s own choice. This provides students with an opportunity to research individually on a historical issue that interests them and is an excellent preparation for the kind of research work students will be expected to undertake at university.


Examination Board: OCR


Mode of assessment

The A-Level examination papers contain a mixture of source-based, structured and essay questions. There will be examination papers on Units 1, 2 and 3 in Year 13 that carry 80% of the final A-Level grade.  The coursework task will be internally assessed and externally moderated in May of Year 13 and will count for the final 20% of the A-Level marks.

Outside the Classroom

Years 7 to 9 have enjoyed a regular programme of visits organised by the Department. Year 7 visited Skipton Castle and Bolton Abbey as part of their study of the Middle Ages. Year 8 visited the Quarry Bank Museum at Styal where they saw examples of spinning and weaving machinery and learned about the working conditions in factories during the Industrial Revolution.