'Study the past if you wish to shape the future'


The History department prides itself on inspiring young people to make the world a better place.

We aim to teach our students about more than just what happened in the past. We believe that young people should learn how the past affects society today and the lessons that can be learnt from past civilisations. We focus on developing the students' understanding of how society works and embedding a comprehension of economics, politics, religion and culture. Therefore, creating students that are well-rounded, knowledgeable and have an understanding of the factors that shape modern Britain and the wider world.

Students are given a clear picture of how all events, no matter how far away they seem, have a profound impact on the way we live our lives today. We encourage our students to analyse, evaluate and question decisions made and consider how this has shaped modern society. There is a focus from Year 7 to Year 11 on building the students’ confidence and ability to work with historical sources and critically evaluate their usefulness and accuracy.

'Watch the news on TV, or read a newspaper and you'll soon see for yourself the importance and value of studying History. The major events that shape our lives - from the global economic crisis to 9/11 - cannot be properly understood without reference to their historical roots. Studying History gives us the tools to better understand our world and appreciate how the past influences the present and the future.' (Professor Vic Gattrell, History Fellow at the University of Cambridge).

The History Department at Redden Court is passionate and always keen to use innovative techniques to develop our students interest in History. The History teachers at Redden Court strive to make lessons as engaging as possible and embed the love that we have for History in our students. We try to use technology where possible to improve the student’s learning experience, both in the classroom and at home.

We have a number of extra-curricular clubs and visits designed to bring History to life and develop the student’s historical skills further. We have a designated Twitter account, Instagram page and Facebook to help keep parents and students in touch with what is going on and news from within the department.

Key Stage Three

Year 7

In Year 7, we attempt to build the students’ chronological understanding of British History and focus on how the role of the King, Parliament and the Church, and their relationship with the British people has changed. We aim to help students comprehend the steps that led to the formation of our democratic political system and how migration has shaped the British people and culture. This curriculum has been designed with the purpose of starting to develop and introduce students to the skills, themes, terminology and concepts they will encounter in later topics and GCSE. Below is a breakdown of the different topics we cover in Year 7:

Norman Conquest: English society in 1066; The three contenders to the throne; The Battle of Hastings; castle building; Feudal System; Harrying of the North; Domesday Book; How the Normans changed England.

Power and Control in Medieval England 1100-1500: The Church in Medieval England; The Crusades; The murder of Thomas Becket; King John and the signing of the Magna Carta; The Black Death; Peasants Revolt.

Religious Change in Tudor England 1500-1600: The European Reformation; Henry VIII and the creation of the Church of England; Edward VI and Mary I religious reforms; Elizabeth’s religious reforms; Elizabethan society; Spanish Armada.

Political Change and Revolution 1600-1800: Gunpowder Plot; The English Civil War; Life in Cromwell’s England and the Restoration; Plague and the Great Fire 1666; The Act of Union; The Glorious Revolution; Government in the 18th Century.

Migration to the British Isles from the Stone Age to the present day: Britain in the Neolithic Period, Bronze Age Britain, The Celts, The Romans, The Anglo-Saxons, The Normans, Jewish emigrants, Religious migrants in the 1500s, Migration in the 19th Century, Windrush and migration from the British colonies to Britain in the 20th Century.

Year 8

In Year 8, we try to develop the students’ understanding of the factors that caused the creation of modern Britain with a focus on the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. We look at how Britain became a global superpower and the creation of the modern economy. We try to highlight both the positive and negative aspects of the British Empire and allow students to reflect on Britain’s involvement in the slave trade. We will also take a look at how the British political system developed and how it became fairer and more democratic, culminating in women gaining the vote in the early 20th Century. Just as Britain became a global power during these time periods, during Year 8, we aim to expand the students’ understanding of the wider world. Therefore, we will investigate ‘boom and bust’ in the USA in the 1920s and 30s and the events of World War 1. This curriculum has been designed with the purpose of starting to develop and introduce students to the skills, themes, terminology and concepts they will encounter in later topics and GCSE. Below is a breakdown of the different topics we cover in Year 8:

Economic Change in Britain 1700-1900: Pre-industrial Britain in 1700; The growth of cities; The Agricultural Revolution; The birth of the factory system; Child Labour; How safety in the factories improved; How transport changed; How the railways changed Romford.

The British Empire: The early British Empire; How did the British Empire grow?; How did Britain control its Empire?; The British Raj; Was the British Empire a force for good?; The decline and fall of the British Empire.

History of Slavery in the Americas: Reasons behind slavery; The key features of the triangular trade; The British Empire’s involvement in the slave trade; Life for slaves; The campaigns for abolition; The American Civil War and the eventual abolition of slavery.

Economy and Culture in Interwar USA: The American political system; The KKK, Economic boom in the 1920s; 1920s culture; Prohibition; The Wall Street Crash; The Great Depression; Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Political Change in Britain 1850-present: Was Britain fair in 1750?; The Campaign for votes for Women; Women in World War One; How did women achieve the vote?; Women’s equality in the 20th and 21st Century.

First World War 1914-18: Causes of World War One; Recruitment; Life in the Trenches; Trench Warfare; The Battle of the Somme; Was Haig the Butcher of the Somme?; Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles.

Year 9

In Year 9, we focus on developing the students’ understanding of the key events of the 20th Century and the impact these have had on the modern world. We aim to prepare students for GCSE history and build their understanding of the key themes of politics, economics, war and society. This will help the students decide if they wish to continue to study history at GCSE. Throughout this year the students will look at the most significant events of the 20th Century, such as the Holocaust and World War Two. As well as, exploring the events of the inter war years of the 1920s and 30s and an in-depth look at the history of the USSR. We consider local history to be important at Redden Court so, during Year 9, the students will take a look at the social and economic problems of East London during the Victorian Period.

Interwar Years and the Causes of World War Two: The Treaty of Versailles impact on Germany; Challenges facing the Weimar Republic; Creation and failure of the League of Nations; Rise of Hitler; Life in Nazi Germany; Hitler’s foreign policy; Appeasement; Causes of World War Two.

World War Two 1939-45: Home Front; Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain; The Blitz; War on the Eastern Front; War in the Pacific; America dropping the atomic bombs on Japan; Division of Germany

The Holocaust 1933-45: Life for Jews in Germany before 1933; Nazi ideology; Role of SS and Gestapo; How the treatment of minorities changed in Nazi Germany; The Ghettos; The creation of the final solution; Life in the concentration and death camps; The aftermath of the Holocaust.

Local History Study East End of London 1850-1900: Poverty and conditions in the East End; Immigration to the East End; Jack the Ripper murders; 19th Century Police force; How to conduct an enquiry.

History of the USSR 1917-1993: Russian revolution; Rise of Stalin; Collectivisation and famine; Stalin’s purges; Life in the USSR; Space race; Chernobyl; Why did the USSR collapse?

Key Stage Four

The exam board that GCSE History students at Redden Court study is Edexcel’s History 9-1 specification. This involves students needing to complete a thematic study of Crime and Punishment covering 1000 years; a British depth study of Elizabethan England; a study of the historical environment of Whitechapel in 1888; a period study of superpower relations during the Cold War; and a modern depth study of Weimar and Nazi Germany. There is no coursework and students’ grades will be awarded based upon three exams sat at the end of Year 11. An overview of each topic is detailed below:

Crime and Punishment 1000-present day: This is a study of how crime and punishment has changed in England from the Anglo-Saxon period in the year 1000 to the present day. Students will look at how and why laws have changed, how these laws have been enforced throughout the ages and how punishments have changed. Students will be taught how to explain the factors that caused change, identify turning points and to analyse the pace of change and overarching trends.

Whitechapel 1888: This is a study of society and crime in Whitechapel in 1888. Students will focus on the problems of housing, poverty, crime and immigration. In addition, to look at how the authorities attempted to manage tensions and divisions in the East-End of London. Students will focus on how to use, evaluate and analyse historical sources to conduct an historical enquiry.

Elizabethan England 1558-1589: This is a study of early Elizabethan England with a focus on the challenges Elizabeth faced when she first became queen, her religious reforms and the threats she faced both at home and abroad. Students will also look at Elizabethan society and England’s first attempts to explore the New World and set up a permanent colony in America. Throughout this study, students will develop their analytical skills and their ability to reach a judgement and justify their interpretations and ideas.

Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39: This is study of the challenges facing Germany’s first democracy after the First World War and how Hitler eventually became leader of Germany in 1933. Students will then take a look at the features of life in Nazi Germany and how Hitler and the Nazi party controlled the German population. Throughout this study, students will develop an understanding of how to analyse historical sources and evaluate different historians’ interpretations.

Cold War and Superpower Relations 1945-1993: This is a study of how the relationship between the USA and the USSR broke down after World War Two and the various flash points throughout the Cold War that caused tension, and the potential for a nuclear war between these two superpowers. Throughout the study, students will learn how to evaluate the importance of historical events and consider the consequences of events. This study is a global one with students looking at events across the globe in the second half of the 20th Century.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

The History Department runs both the KS4 and KS3 debate clubs. These clubs enable the students to learn the skills of competitive debating as well as developing the students oracy and critical thinking. The debate club runs weekly and regularly holds inter-house debate competitions. Every year the top debtors in Year 9 enter the national ‘up-4-debate’ competition, the Redden Court debate team have reached the final on two occasions and were runners up in 2018.

The History Department organises and leads many visits for the students to enjoy and help develop their understanding of the past. Below is a list of visits that the History department has run in the past and would like to run in the future when the current restrictions are lifted, subject to the school’s senior leadership approval.

-4 days visit to Krakow: this trip includes visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Schindler's Factory and guided tours of the city. Previous attendees have described the trip as 'life-changing' and 'something that everyone should do'. This trip takes place every two years and is offered to GCSE history students in Years 10 and 11.

-4 day visit to Berlin: this trip allows GCSE students to visit the sites of the Cold War and Nazi Germany in Berlin, as well as scenes surrounding the Holocaust, every two years and is offered to GCSE History students in Years 10 and 11.

- World War One battlefields visit: previously all students in Year 9 were offered the opportunity to visit the city of Ypres in Belgium. This trip involved visiting preserved First World War trenches, British and German war graves and observing the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. There are plans in the future for this to become a residential trip offered to all Year 8s where students would also get a chance to visit the Somme battlefield sites in France.

- National Service of Remembrance: again, this trip is offered annually. Students are invited to attend the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Westminster and the field of poppies, which is displayed outside Westminster Abbey.

- British Museum: students are offered the opportunity to spend a day exploring the exhibits at the British Museum.

- There are plans in the future for GCSE students to visit the Golden Hind, the Clink Museum and the Jack the Ripper walk, all located in different parts of London. These visits are all connected to the students GCSE topics.

Meet the Department

Lead Practitioner and Subject Leader of History

Mr B. Fox

Teachers of History

Miss N. Bowler-Etman

Mr J. Henderson

Mrs J. Cummings

Miss R. Portch