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History & Politics

Subject/Curriculum Leader: Mr J Wigby 

A passion for the past and the impact History has in society is at the heart of students’ experience of History at Norton College. As a department, we strive to foster our students’ appreciation of History and to develop their understanding of why it is important to learn from History. ‘Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it’ Edmund Burke. The curriculum we offer is broad and enriching, designed to develop an appreciation for and enjoyment of History. 

The History Department is ambitious, high achieving and creative, staffed by four teachers, a mixture of experience and youth. It is our aim to promote learning in a lively and engaging way that combines fun with academic rigor. We are well resourced, with 4 classrooms, each with interactive whiteboards and a range of textbooks for all Key Stages. We also possess a range of resources for KS5 in the 6th form library. 

To further develop students’ passion for History, the department offers a range of extra-curricular activities and students are encouraged to expand their interest in History outside the classroom. Students are encouraged to take part in competitions, both local and national, we were successful in the Historical Associations RAF centenary competition with the Science Department in 2018, which was a national award. We also work closely with local universities and Museums to provide enrichment opportunities. 

‘We study History not to be clever in another time, but to be wise always’ Cicero 

Key Stage 3 

In Years 7, 8 and 9 students study History in four one-hour lessons per fortnight. Lessons are based on developing historical skills and promoting active and accessible learning. 

Each scheme of work includes a range of different and challenging topics providing students with the key historical skills, knowledge, concepts, sources and interpretations. The curriculum at KS3 is broadly chronological starting with What is History? Which enables us to assess any prior knowledge students may hold. Year 7’s focus is primarily focused on 1066 to the end of the Tudors in 1603 but also gives a background from the Iron Age onwards. Year 8 focus is on the early modern world up until the twentieth century. Year 9 ranges from pre-WW1, through to the modern age and popular protest in the 21st century. These topics also give students a grounding in what is taught at GCSE enabling them to have a relevant understanding of the context around events and not seeing them in isolation. 

Year 7 - Autumn term 

What is History? 

Focus on Historical Skills – Causation, Chronology, Sources, Interpretations, Significance, Similarity and Difference, Usefulness and Reliability and Change and Continuity. 

Britain from the Iron Age to Vikings. 

Key Focus – Migration to Britain 

The Norman Conquest.  

Key Focus – The Anglo-Saxon Succession Crisis, Conquest and Settlement 

Power of the Monarchy.  

Key Focus – Feudalism, Henry II and Becket, King John, Simon De Montfort 

 

Year 7 - Spring term 

Medieval Warfare.  

Key Focus – Knights and Chivalry, Castles and Sieges, Rise of Islam, The Mongols, Hundred Years War 

Medieval Life.  

Key Focus – Society, Religion, Women, Pastimes, Crime and Punishment, Outlaws, Literature, The Black Death, The Peasants Revolt 

Local study on Wharram Percy.  

Key Focus – Wharram Percy from success to desertion 

The Crusades.  

Key Focus – The First Crusade, The Third Crusade, Richard and Saladin 

Year 7 - Summer term 

The Medieval World 

Key Focus – Medieval Baghdad, The Silk Road, Medieval China, African Kingdoms, Medieval Japan 

The Wars of the Roses  

Key Focus - Battles, Politics, The Princes in the Tower 

The Tudors 

Key Focus – Henry VII, Henry VIII, Reformation, Bloody Mary, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, The Spanish Armada 

Year 8 - Autumn term 

The End of the Tudors and the advent of the Stuarts 

Key Focus – Recap on The Tudors 

The Stuarts 

Key Focus – James I, Charles I, The Causes of the Civil War 

The English Civil War 

Key Focus – Roundhead or Cavalier, Life during the Civil War, Battles, Execution of Charles I, Cromwell 

The 17th Century Witch craze 

Key Focus - Pendle witches, Salem, Matthew Hopkins, European Witchcraft 

 

Year 8 - Spring term 

Empires Comparison 

Key Focus - Aztecs, Spain, Mughals, Pirates, Early English Empire 

The British Empire 

Key Focus – Migration, Life in the Empire, Law and Order, Pax Britannica, Effects of the Empire 

Slavery 

Key Focus – Pre-Colonial West Africa, Capture and Middle Passage, Auctions, Plantation Life, Resistance, Abolition 

Industrial Revolution 

Key focus – Agricultural Revolution, Causes, Worst Jobs, Inventors and Inventions, A Smaller World 

Local Industrial Revolution Study 

Key Focus – Early Industrial Revolution, Later Industrial Revolution, The Workhouse 

Year 8 - Summer term 

Warfare in the Industrial Revolution 

Key Focus – Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War, U.S. Civil War, Technology, British Empire at War 

Victorian Society  

Key Focus – The Cholera Epidemic, Medical Improvements, Jack the Ripper, The Victims of Jack the Ripper, Holidays and Social Life 

Popular Protest 

Key Focus – The French Revolution, What was wrong with Democracy? Chartists, Suffragists and Suffragettes 

Year 9 - Autumn term 

Changes in Warfare 

Key Focus – Recap on Industrial Warfare, Long-Term Causes of WW1 

WW1 

Key Focus – Assassination, Short-Term Causes, Why did People Fight?, Schlieffen Plan, Trench Warfare, Victory 

The Interwar Years 

Key Focus – The Treaty of Versailles, Weimar Republic, Russian Revolution, USA-Prohibition, Rise of the Dictators 

 

WW2 

Key Focus – Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, War in the Atlantic, Global War, Bletchley Park, D-Day, Victory 

WW1 and WW2 Local Study 

Home Front, Local Soldiers, Evacuees WW2 

Year 9 - Spring term  

The Holocaust 

Key Focus – Pre-War Jewish Life, Indoctrination, Discrimination, Persecution and Genocide, Memorialization 

The Cold War 

Key Focus – The Atom Bomb, Communism v Capitalism, McCarthyism, Spies and Propaganda, The Space Race 

The End of Empires 

Key focus – China and Communism, Britain and the End of Empire, Korean War, Vietnam War, The Break-up of Africa 

Warfare in the Modern World 

Key Focus – Arab-Israeli Crisis, Suez Crisis, USSR Invasion of Afghanistan, Falklands War, Yugoslavia 

Year 9 - Summer term  

Civil Rights 

Key Focus – Reconstruction and Jim Crow Laws, Black Soldiers, Martin Luther King, Women in Civil Rights, Malcolm X, Black Panthers 

Popular Protests 

Vietnam Protests, Apartheid and Nelson Mandela, Miner’s Strike, Tiananmen Square, Poll Tax Riots, Arab Spring 

At KS3 Homework is on a fortnightly basis and is in booklet format to consolidate and expand students historical knowledge of the time period being studied 

 

 

 

Key Stage 4 

History is a popular choice at Key Stage 4, students are entered for Edexcel GCSE History. 

Final assessment of these GCSEs will take place at the end of Year 11, in the form of four separate topics in three formal examinations. Paper 1 is on Crime and Punishment c1000 to the Present Day including a Depth Study on Whitechapel c1870 to c1900. Paper 2 is a combined paper in two parts on The Anglo-Saxons and Norman England c1060 to C1088 and Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941 to 1991. Paper 3 is Weimar and Nazi Germany 1919 to 1939. There are 5 History lessons a fortnight at KS4 for students. 

Over the course of the two years, students will be assessed regularly, and their progress tracked. Students are also provided with revision guides and have the opportunity to buy further revision resources at a discounted price. Formal mock examinations take place at the end of Year 10 and in the autumn term of Year 11. To extend students’ learning, we offer a range of extra-curricular activities including a trip to Berlin and we are also aiming to put on trips to York Dungeons and local historical sites related to the course content. In the spring term of Year 11, students are provided with an extensive revision programme in preparation for their final exams, which take place at the end of Year 11. 

Year 10 - Autumn term 

Key Topic 1: Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest 1060-66 

Anglo Saxon Society 

Edward the Confessor and the Succession crisis 

The rival claimants to the throne 

The Norman invasion 

Key Topic 2: William I in power: securing the kingdom, 1066-87 

Establishing control 

Anglo-Saxon Resistance, 1068–71 

The legacy of resistance to 1087 

The revolt of the earls, 1075 

Key Topic 3: Norman England, 1066-88 

The feudal system and the Church 

Norman government 

Norman aristocracy 

William I and his sons 

 

Year 10 - Spring term 

Key Topic 1: c1000-c1500: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in medieval England 

Crime, punishment and law enforcement in Anglo-Saxon England 

Crime, punishment and law enforcement in Norman England 

Crime, punishment and law enforcement in the later Middle Ages 

Case study: the influence of the Church on crime and punishment 

Key Topic 2: c1500-c1700: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in early modern England 

Changing definitions of crime, c1500-c1700 

Law enforcement and punishment, c1500-c1700 

Case study: The crimes and punishment of the Gunpowder plotters, 1605 

Witchcraft and the law, c1500-c1700 

Key Topic 3: c1700-c1900: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in the 18th and 19th centuries 

Changing definitions of crime, c1700-c1900 

Changing attitudes to punishment, c1700-c1900 

Law enforcement, c1700-c1900 

Case study: The separate system at Pentonville Prison 

Case study: The reforms of Robert Peel 

Year 10 - Summer term 

Key Topic 4: c1900 – present: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in recent times 

Crimes and definitions of crime, c1900-present 

Law enforcement, c1900-present 

Changes in punishment, c1900-present 

Case study: Conscientious objectors in WW1 and WW2 

Case study: The Derek Bentley case and the abolition of capital punishment 

Key Topic 5: Whitechapel, c1870-c1900: Crime, policing and the inner city 

Context: Policing the nation 

The local contest of Whitechapel 

Tensions in Whitechapel 

Police organisation in Whitechapel 

Investigative policing in Whitechapel 

 

Year 11 - Autumn term 

Key Topic 1: The Weimar Republic, 1918-29 

The origins of the Republic, 1918-19 

The early challenges to the Weimar Republic, 1919-23 

The recovery of the Republic, 1924-29 

Changes in society, 1924-29 

Key Topic 2: Hitler’s rise to power, 1919-33 

Early development of the Nazi Party, 1920-22 

The Munich Putsch and the lean years, 1923-29 

The growth in support for the Nazis, 1929-32 

How Hitler became Chancellor, 1932-33 

Key Topic 3: Nazi control and dictatorship, 1933-39 

The creation of a dictatorship, 1933-34 

The police state 

Controlling and influencing attitudes 

Opposition, resistance and conformity 

Key Topic 4: Life in Nazi Germany, 1933-39 

Nazi policies towards women 

Nazi policies towards the young 

Employment and living standards 

The persecution of minorities 

Year 11 - Spring term 

Key Topic 1: The Origins of the Cold War, 1941-58 

Early tension between East and West 1 

Early tension between East and West 2 

The development of the Cold War 1 

The development of the Cold War 2 

The Cold War intensifies 1 

The Cold War intensifies 2 

Key Topic 2: Cold War crises, 1958-70 

Increased tension over Berlin, 1958-61 

The Cuban Missile Crisis 

The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968 

Key Topic 3: The end of the Cold War, 1970-91 

Attempts to reduce tension between East and West 1 

Attempts to reduce tension between East and West 2 

Flashpoints 

The collapse of Soviet control of Eastern Europe 1 

The collapse of Soviet control of Eastern Europe 2 

 

KS4 Homework is on a weekly basis and is used to consolidate and encourage independent research. This can include: Assessment question practice, research topics, quizzes, film reviews 

Key Stage 5 

At KS5 The Department offers courses in both History and Politics. Both courses have proved to be popular with numbers of Sixth Form students opting to study History and Politics. Through varied and creative teaching methods, within a supportive academic environment, students are encouraged to become independent, evaluative learners, studying History and Politics to the highest levels. 

We teach OCR A Level England 1485-1558: The Early Tudors (Enquiry topic: Mid Tudor Crisis 1547-1558) and Russia 1894-1941 in Year 12 History.  In Year 13 History we teach China and its Rulers 1839 to 1989 and an Independent Topic based Essay, which provides students with the opportunity to focus on a historical topic of their choice. There are 8 lessons a fortnight for History 

Academic study is complemented by a number of extra-curricular enrichment opportunities, which aim to broaden and develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the subjects in different contexts. Previous opportunities have included visits to Parliament, guest speakers and visits to York University Library. We regularly welcome visiting speakers to provide enrichment for our students and are aiming to work closely with the National Archives in London to enhance our use of primary source material. 

The Tudors and Russia are taught in Year 12 with a 5-3 split. The Tudors module focuses on the reigns and policies of Henry VII and Henry VIII where you will learn about pretenders to the throne, domestic strife, foreign policies, wars, powerful men and women, court intrigue, the reformation and rebels and traitors. We then move onto the Mid Tudor Crisis, which is source based, and study Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey and Mary I and the religious rollercoaster and subsequent problems that arise.  

Assessment for the Tudors is one 1 ½ hour examination 

Year 12 - Autumn term  - The Tudors 

Henry VII – The beginning of a Dynasty 

Opposition to Henry VII 

Relations with the Nobility 

Royal Government 

England’s position in 15th Century Europe 

Henry VII’s Foreign Policy aims 

Key events and actions 

Henry VIII’s personality 

The Age of Wolsey 

The divorce and Wolsey’s fall 

Year 12 - Spring term - The Tudors 

Religious change and opposition 

The Dissolution of the Monasteries 

The Pilgrimage of Grace 

The fall of Henry’s wives 

The rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell 

Foreign Policy in the 1540’s 

Faction in the 1540’s 

The stability of the Monarchy 

Weaknesses of the Mid Tudor Monarchs 

Marriage and securing the succession 

Government and faction 1549-58 

Year 12 - Summer term 

The Tudors 

Religious changes – key figures 

The religious and ecclesiastical policies 1547-1558 

Reaction to religious changes 

Causes and nature of rebellion and unrest 

Social and economic problems and their role in rebellion 

The rebellions of 1549 

Rebellions against Mary Tudor 

Russia 

Russia focuses on the last years of Imperial rule under the Romanovs and includes sections on the problems of reform, the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and the 1905 Revolution. Russia’s entry and subsequent defeat in WW1, Rasputin and the Romanovs, the 1917 Revolutions and the execution of the Royal family. The Russian Civil War and Lenin finishing with the dictatorship of Stalin. 

Assessment for Russia is one 1-hour examination 

Year 12 -  Autumn term – Russia 

Late Imperial Russia 1894-1905 

Economic reform under Witte 

The Russo-Japanese War 1904-5 

The 1905 Revolution 

From revolution to war 1905-14 

Economic policy under Stolypin 

The dumas 

From war to revolution1914-17 

Impact of war and growth of opposition 

February Revolution 1917 

Year 12 - Spring term – Russia 

The Provisional Government and its problems 

The October Revolution 

Bolsheviks in power 

Russian Civil War 

Lenin and control 

Lenin’s legacy 

Stalin’s rise to power 

‘Permanent Revolution’ versus ‘Socialism in one Country’ 

Stalin’s victory 

Year 12 - Summer term – Russia 

Stalin’s economic policies 

Stalin’s dictatorship 

The purges 

Stalin and the cult of personality 

Stalin’s foreign policy 

Stalin’s record by 1941 

China is predicted to become the biggest economy in the world overtaking the USA within 20 years. Its power and dominance is only growing so understanding the history of China is important for understanding how the 20th Century affected China and how China will affect the 21st Century. It is a complex but fascinating story. 

The focus of the module is on the nature of Chinese government and its impact on Chinese people, society and the wider world. You will learn about similarities and differences between the nature of the Qing dynasty in Imperial China, the Presidency of Yuan Shikai, the Warlord Era, the Nationalist Government and the Communist government after 1949. We study the time period 1839-1989. 

Assessment is one 2½ hour examination. 

Year 13 - Autumn term - China 

First Opium Wars 

Second Opium Wars 

Treaty of Nanjing 

Taiping rebellion 

Self-Strengthening Movement 

First Sino-Japanese War 

Boxer Uprising 

The Qing Emperors and the influence of Dowager Empress Cixi 

Year 13 - Spring term – China 

The fall of the Qing dynasty 

The New Republic 

The rule of Yuan Shikai 

The Warlord Era 

The rise of the GMD and Chiang Kaishek 

The Second Sino-Japanese War 

The victory of communism in 1949 

The Great Leap Forward 

The Cultural Revolution 

Year 13 - Summer term - China 

Social development after 1975 

Death of Mao and his legacy 

Mao’s successors 

China as a regional power until 1989 

Protest and the rise of the middle class 

The independent study coursework is on a historical topic of your choice that you have not studied at A level. It is a 3,000 to 4,000 word assignment which prepares you for writing dissertations at Degree level. OCR provide a bank of questions you can choose from or you can choose your own question subject to approval from the examination board. This is the coursework element of your A level qualification. 

Year 13 - Autumn term – Independent Study 

Working out a topic 

Doing research 

Reading and taking notes – strategies that work 

What’s the question? What’s the problem? 

Planning the essay 

The introduction, make or break 

Spring term – Independent Study 

Handling primary sources 

Building blocks of the essay: Developing your argument, building a paragraph 

Developing your argument using secondary sources 

Writing your conclusion 

Presenting your work 

Summer term- Independent Study 

Completion of work and submission 

Full specification is here https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/170128-specification-accredited-a-level-gce-history-a-h505.pdf 

Subject: Politics 

Subject/Curriculum Leader: Mr J Wigby 

Democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, communism and republic – how do these political systems work and what impact do they have on citizens around the world? 

Government and politics affects every aspect of our lives; our freedoms, our laws, the opportunities we have to succeed in life. At home in the UK debate continues on immigration, the health services and education. 

We also look at the politics of the USA which has come under so much scrutiny over the last few years and is undergoing huge change currently. 

You will study the features of government and political systems at local, national, and international levels. You do not need to have studied the subject before, but you must have an interest in politics and current affairs. 

Topics include: 

UK Government and Politics 

Political Ideas (liberalism, conservatism and socialism) 

US Government and Politics 

Non-core political ideologies including anarchism and nationalism. 

The popularity of the Politics department can be seen with large numbers of Sixth Form students opting to study Politics. Through varied and creative teaching methods, within a supportive academic environment, students are encouraged to become independent, evaluative learners, studying Politics to the highest levels. 

Academic study is complemented by a number of extra-curricular enrichment opportunities, which aim to broaden and develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject in different contexts. Recent opportunities have included a visit to Houses of Parliament.  We also welcome visiting political speakers to provide enrichment for our students. 

Year 12 - Autumn term 

Democracy and participation (unit 1) 

Political Parties (unit 1) 

The Constitution (unit 2) 

Structure and Functions Parliament (unit 2) 

Year 12 - Spring term 

Electoral systems (unit 1) 

Voting Behaviour and the Media (unit 1) 

Prime Minister and the Executive (unit 2) 

Relations between Branches (incl. Judiciary) (unit 2) 

Year 12 - Summer term 

Core political Ideas (liberalism, conservatism, socialism) (unit 1) 

Non-core political ideas (anarchism and nationalism) (unit 2) 

Year 13 - Autumn term 

US constitution (unit 3) 

US Presidency (unit 3) 

US Supreme Court and Civil rights (unit 3) 

Year 13 - Spring term 

US Congress (unit 3) 

US Democracy and Participation (unit 3) 

Year 13 - Summer term 

Comparative theories (unit 3) 

Revision of topics and exam skills preparation (all units) 

Assessment is 3 x 2 hour examinations. One on Unit 1, one on Unit 2 and another on Unit 3. There are source based questions on the unit 1 and 2 papers. 

The full specification is here 

 

KS5 Homework for both History and Politics is on a weekly basis and involves independent research including the reading of historical/political texts, assessment practice questions and analysis of various resources