Key Stage 3 History

Students in York are surrounded by history and at Archbishop Holgate's School study the subject in one of the country's most historic schools.  We want students to engage with the 'story' of history and see how it relates to their own lives.  We deal with everyday ideas such as continuity, change, chronology, cause and consequence, as well as source analysis, historical enquiry, and concepts like democracy, revolution and citizenship.  Most importantly, we want all students to enjoy History and succeed at it.

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours”
Alan Bennett, The History Boys

Course description

In Year 7 students will discover how medicine has evolved through time, focusing on the changes and continuities in medical development from the Ancient Greeks to the 21st Century.  Students will go on to study the significance of the Norman Conquest and the causes of the ‘religious roller-coaster’ in Tudor Britain.  Finally, students will study arguably one of the most significant events in British History, the war between Crown and Parliament.

Year 8 students will study the rise and decline of the British Empire and the impact of the Industrial Revolution on British society.  Students will have the opportunity to identify and engage with their local history, particularly the work of social reformers such as Seebohm Rowntree and Titus Salt.  Students will investigate the grisly murders of Jack the Ripper and launch their own investigation into who they believe is the murderer by collecting and comparing key historical evidence.  Finally, students will focus on the causes and consequences of the First World War and the lasting impact that this has had on the nation.

Year 9 will offer the chance to investigate the ‘Boom’ years in 1920s America and the emergence of Hollywood, intolerance shown through the actions of the Ku Klux Klan and the impact of prohibition and gangsters. Students will also study the causes and consequences of the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and the ‘New Deal’ offered to the American people by President Roosevelt. Students will go on to study the Vietnam War and the experiences of people caught up in the conflict. Students will look at the changes and continuities in the experiences of teenagers between 1914 and 1970. Students will end the year by studying ‘days that shook the world’ – a unit dedicated to students focussing on key historical events in time, including the assassination of JFK, the Moon landing and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001.


Students will be assessed once Every half term on a range of different skills. Not only will the assessment focus on course content, it will also be designed to assess the student understanding of key Historical concepts such as Cause and Consequence or change and continuity. To best help your child prepare for this, make sure they are spending time revising the content of the topic as well as practicing the necessary skills at home.

Ways to help my child succeed – Speak with your child about the topics they are studying in school and encourage them to read around the topic outside of school. There are a range of excellent websites, books and documentaries that will assist with this. Please don’t hesitate to contact the department for further ideas.

Useful websites

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