The History Department at St Mary’s is committed to encouraging a curiosity and love of learning, which will create an enthusiasm for history that will last a lifetime. Every student is encouraged to think critically and creatively, and we aim to create an environment where everyone is stimulated and challenged. Students are encouraged to make sense of the world they live in by examining the past through thought-provoking, engaging and challenging lessons. The product of this commitment to historical education is consistently excellent examination results. As a department, we are passionate about history and we sincerely hope to transmit this to all of our students.

We provide a stimulating and relevant History curriculum throughout the school, with a consistent focus on the skills of a historian, regular links made with other subjects and the modern world. We have embedded skills, knowledge and understanding throughout the three key stages in order to allow each student to fulfil their potential both in examination achievement and in their wider education.


Years 7, 8 and 9

History is a compulsory subject for all students in Years 7, 8 and 9, and is taught for one hour every week. The key skills the students need for GCSE, and to engage critically with the world they live in, are embedded from the start of Year 7, and they study a wide range of topics from 1066 to the 21st century, and from local history through to a global context. Examples of topics looked at that relate to their lives as British and global citizens include: The significance of religion in the Middle Ages (Year 7), the impact of ‘terrorism’ through analysing the Gunpowder Plot (Year 8), Britain’s ‘place in the world’ through the industrial revolution, issues of Empire and the First World War (Year 9).



History is an option for GCSE, with at least two classes opting to continue their historical studies every year. The students have two and a half hours a week of History in Key Stage 4. We currently follow the OCR Modern World syllabus, looking at Germany 1918-45, the Cold War 1945-75, Russia 1905-1941 and Britain 1906-1918. This course builds on students' work in Key Stage 3 and allows them to further their skills and understanding. There is a particular focus on key skills of the developing arguments, extended writing and analysing sources. 


For more information about the current GCSE syllabus, please download the latest St Mary's GCSE Options Guide:

Beyond The Classroom

Beyond the classroom the History Department offers a wide range of trips, in-school workshops and activities. There are regular activities for all Key Stages and in recent years these have ranged from Year 7 having an activity day at Hedingham Castle, Year 9 visiting the battlefields of the First World War, to the GCSE students visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau. We also have re-enactors coming into the school to lead Tudor, Stuart and World War One days, and GCSE masterclasses led by experienced senior examiners.

history staff
Head of History Mr Benjamin Rassell BA (Hons) MA PGCE
Teacher Mrs Angela Bush BEd (Hons)

In this section