020 8527 3750

History Department

“The aim of the historian, like that of the artist, is to enlarge our picture of the world, to give us a new way of looking at things.” (James Joll)


The History Department at Walthamstow Academy is fully committed to all students making sustained and rapid progress to achieve or exceed their aspirational targets. All students are stretched and challenged every lesson in order to ensure they are able to achieve to their full potential in this important academic subject. Our goal is to enable all students to truly learn and understand some of the astonishing events, remarkable people and changes that have taken place in Britain and across the world, and to learn from past mistakes and recognise the importance of making a better future.


Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 all students cover a broad and exciting History curriculum encompassing a thousand years of British History and early modern and modern world history topics. Students develop an in-depth understanding of the key events, changes and transformations that have made Britain the dynamic society it is today and the complexity of the world in the 21st century as a result of two world wars and the fight for freedom by many different peoples against oppression from many different leaders. Students carry-out historical enquiries every half-term and their historical understanding and skills are assessed at the end of every enquiry to ensure students are continually developing their historical understanding and skills. Students also learn how to develop high level literacy skills by regularly planning and writing structured essays, learning a range of historical vocabulary, taking part in individual and group presentations, discussions and debates.


History Units taught at Key Stage 3 are: 

Year 7: 

  • Migration to Britain, 10,000BC to the 20th Century
  • The Battle of Hastings, 1066
  • The Norman Conquest
  • Religion in the Middle Ages (Christianity and Islam)
  • Medieval Empires – The Ottomans, China, and African Empires
  • Challenges to Medieval monarchs


Year 8: 

  • The English Reformation
  • Elizabeth 1, Early Years, 1558-88
  • The English Civil War
  • The American war of independence
  • The British Empire and the Slave trade. The Abolition of the Slave trade.
  • The Chartists and the Suffragettes


Year 9: 

  • Causes of the First World War
  • Battles of WWII
  • The Holocaust
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the USA and Britain
  • End of the British Empire

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students study and prepare for the new Edexcel GCSE History examinations. The Edexcel GCSE course prepares students for the skills required for A Level History as well as other academic subjects, for the workplace, apprenticeships, and college by enabling students to demonstrate high levels of academic understanding and skills required to undertake a rigorous academic subject such as GCSE History.

Students study four units over two years which includes a historical sources unit as part of Paper 1 studying Medicine in Britain c.1250 to the Present Day, including a study of injuries and treatment of soldiers on the Western Front, 1914-18.

In Paper 2 students study in-depth the British early modern period of ‘The Elizabethans’, 1558-1588. Paper 2 has two parts and students study an early modern history unit as well investigating in-breadth a modern History unit investigating Superpower relations and the development of the Cold War between the USA and USSR, 1941-1991.

Paper 3 is a modern history unit investigating in-depth the history of Germany between 1918-39, students will answer questions explaining how and why the Weimar democratic experiment failed in Germany between 1918-33, leading to the subsequent rise of Hitler and the Nazis and the development of the Nazi state between 1933-39.

All assessments for the Edexcel GCSE History are by examination and all students will sit three examinations at the end of their second year.


GCSE Exam units taught at Key Stage 4:

Paper 1: Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches.1h 15mins

Paper 2: Period study and British depth study: ‘The Elizabethans’, 1558-1588. And Superpower relations and the development of the Cold War between the USA and USSR, 1941-1991. 1h 45mins

Paper 3: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39. 1h 20mins

GCSE text books for students:

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5 History students study the new Edexcel A Level History specification. Students have the opportunity to develop their higher order analytical and evaluation skills drawing upon greater depth and range of historical knowledge and evidence, and learn to evaluate with more sophistication, demonstrating a deeper understanding of historical concepts, producing extended answer essay responses that are more analytical and judgements that are more effectively substantiated as a result of high levels of reading, research and planning. Students also develop their higher level problem solving skills, communication skills, working effectively as part of a team in group work activities as well as carrying-out their own historical research as part of their 4000-word coursework essay, which forms 20% of their overall A Level grade.


In Year 12 students study Paper 1 and Paper 2 of the ‘Democracies in change: Britain and the USA in the twentieth century’ Edexcel A Level History unit. They study in-breadth the dramatic political, economic and social changes that took place in Britain over the course of a hundred years between 1918 and 1997. They learn how these changes are responsible for transforming Britain in to the country it is today. This unit enables students to understand modern Britain and how they can use their understanding of the past hundred years to solve some of Britain’s problems in the future with skills and understanding they have developed as part of their A level study.


Paper 2 is a depth study of the USA between 1955–92, investigating the nature and size of change that took place in the USA and the extreme measures taken by groups to achieve that change or resist change. Students learn about how the USA became the most powerful Superpower in the world during the 20th century, however it still had extreme forms of divisions and racism such as segregation, fought against by brave leaders such as Martin Luther King and the Civil rights movement. Students investigate the rise of student movements and protests and the Women’s Liberation Movement, as well as the Presidencies of great American leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.


In Year 13 students carryout their own research and investigate the historical controversy of German responsibility for causing the First World War. Students read and research using a wide range of historical texts and articles and write-up their research evaluating the prevailing controversial historical interpretation that Germany bore full responsibility for planning and starting a war of aggression in 1914.


Students also study a new breadth and depth study combined in Year 13. Students investigate in breadth the political, economic and social changes that took place in Britain between 1780-1928 and they study in-depth the radical reformers during this period, the Chartists, the Contagious Diseases Acts and the campaign for their repeal, 1862–86, The Women’s Social and Political Union, 1903–14 and Trades union militancy, 1917–27. This unit enables students to further understand the changes in Britain during the 19th century and develops their understanding of the changes in Britain during the 20th century.


A Level Exam units taught at Key Stage 5:


  • Paper 1, Option 1H: Britain transformed, 1918–97. - 2h 15mins
  • Paper 2, Option 2H.2: The USA, 1955–92: conformity and challenge. - 1h 30mins
  • Paper 3, Option 36.1: Protest, agitation and parliamentary reform in Britain, c1780–1928. - 2h 15mins
  • Paper 4: Coursework:  4,000-word essay

The History Team

  • Mr Vimal Pandya – Head of History
  • Mr Paul Tannahill
  • Mr Benedict Fulford-Brown
©2022 Walthamstow Academy
United Learning

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

Financial Accountability and Freedom of Information
Website Terms, Cookies and Privacy