The intent of the History Curriculum

History is all around us, and has made us who and what we are. In a complex world, students need to be able to walk down the street or watch the news on the TV and be able to relate and evaluate the ‘here and now’ within a political, economic, social, cultural and religious context. Alongside this, students must be able to master the secondary concepts of History, and have the confidence to argue effectively in a constantly evolving discipline; students must be able to see how different contexts can result in different constructs of the past. Finally, it is the intent of the History Department to ensure that it is not a subject that just concentrates on what has already happened, but is a bridge to the wider world beyond life at Diss High School in terms of a lifelong love of studying the past but also in terms of life skills necessary to lead happy and prosperous lives.

How is the History Curriculum implemented?

Diss High School students study a broad range of historical contexts, whether local, national or international, diverse ethnic groups, different genders or the history of individuals from LGBTQ+ communities. These are all based around the concepts of Power, Beliefs, Individuals, Ordinary lives and Cultural encounters. Additionally, there are opportunities to develop students’ history skills so that they can master the craft of the historian. Each topic of study will begin with an overview of what will be studied and there will be a knowledge mat to accompany each study, resulting in a ‘core knowledge test’ to identify strengths and gaps of knowledge. Each half term will produce a piece of work that will be marked in detail and will often require students to do their own research.

Every summer term the History Department will re-evaluate the KS3 History Curriculum, looking for ways to improve further still.


Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Autumn Term

An introduction to Key Stage 3 History and Britain’s earliest immigrants


How significant was the Norman Conquest?

Did the French Revolution achieve its aims?


Did life get better for everyone during the Industrial Revolution?

Would Ernest Coleman have regretted joining WWI?


Total War: How did people around the world experience WWII?

Spring Term

What was life like in the Middle Ages?


How did the Tudors change England?

Slavery and the development of the British Empire: Should Britain apologise?


How were Civil Rights achieved in the USA?

How and why should we remember the Holocaust?


Immigration Nation: What does it mean to be ‘British’?

Summer Term

Was King Charles responsible for having his head cut off?


How Glorious was the Glorious Revolution?


End of year overview

What about ‘Her-story’?


How did a serial killer escape justice?


End of year overview

How did Germany end up with Hitler as leader?


What was life like inside Nazi Germany?

The impact of the History Curriculum at the end of Key Stage 3

The KS3 History Curriculum gives students an overview of important local, national and world events supported by enhancing the invaluable skills required so that students can make an informed decision about furthering their study of the past at GCSE. Our curriculum also allows students to maximise their potential so that they have a lifelong interest in the past. Many students opt to study history at KS4 and onto KS5, and are well placed to do so. It’s a source of pride for our department that students have frequently studied History at University, and many have returned to our department as part of their preparation for embarking on a career in history teaching by doing some observation.

How is History assessed?

Half termly knowledge tests and formal assessments are completed by each student. Homework will be set regularly and will be a mixture of core knowledge, project work, research and extended writing.

How can I help my child?

Provide opportunities for enrichment during weekends or holiday, visiting, for example, places of historical interest. Watching historical documentaries or current affairs programmes helps students to make sense of the world, particularly when discussed as a family.

Useful websites and resources

The following websites will provide a wealth of information regarding KS3 history:

  • BBC Bitesize History;
  • Spartacus Educational;
  • Historyonthenet;
  • Seneca learning (History)         

History and Careers

Studying History enables students to develop a range of important lifelong skills which are essential for them to lead independent and happy lives. These include excellent communication and written skills; the ability to construct an argument; the ability to research, investigate, analyse, evaluate and communicate ideas and problem solve. These talents are what employers look for, and so the study of history is useful in helping students in a range of future opportunities, including journalism, law, business, politics, marketing and teaching.


At GCSE students will follow the AQA History course that will build on the knowledge and concepts studied during Key Stage 3.

Students prepare for two terminal exams:

- Paper 1 will look at a modern breadth and modern depth study - this will be Germany 1890-1945 and Conflict and Tension 1945-72.

- Paper 2 will focus on the Thematic Study of Power and the People c. 1100 -2000 and a British Depth Study based on the Normans, 1066-1100.

As well as developing their knowledge and understanding of the key events, students will develop their skills of thinking and communicating ideas effectively so that when they sit their final exams, students are confident that they can reach their full potential.