at Cockermouth School


History is about people; something in which we all take an interest in some way. Whether we enjoy a good gossip, reality TV, celebrity magazines, soap operas or just a chat with friends we are interested in people and their stories. History is the study of people and how their lives were affected by the times they lived in which often makes them even more interesting to us.

At Key Stage 3 students study various periods of History from the Medieval period up to the Twentieth Century. Each year group has a programme of study with a skill focus. In Year 7 students will focus on essay writing skills, in Year 8 they will focus on source analysis and in Year 9 they will look at interpretations in History.

At Key Stage 4 students complete one depth study The American West and one development study Medicine Through Time both of which are examined at the end of Year 11. They also complete a coursework component based on Hadrian’s Wall.

Finally, at A Level our students take their historical skills of evaluation, assessment and analysis which they have gathered at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and from September 2015 students will follow new A Level programmes of study. See below.

History is about people, all you need is a bit of curiosity about the lives of others to help you access the courses offered by the History department. We offer a variety of courses spread over many different time periods in order to hook students’ interest and allow them to develop the important skills needed for the future such as writing to persuade, using and evaluating evidence and opinions and considering how the past can be interpreted differently by different people. These are useful skills in a variety of jobs.

Key Stage 3

Students begin with a study of Medieval Britain in Year 7. They look at William the Conqueror and how he took control. They then look at what it would have been like in a Medieval village. Finally, they look at the Voyages of Discovery and the impact on Medieval Life in Britain. The skill focus is essay writing.

In Year 8 students look at Henry VIII and the Reformation. They then do a local study unit on Georgian life and how things changed. Finally, they move on to look at the British empire and how people were affected by it. The skill focus is using sources to support and challenge statements.

In Year 9 students look at the twentieth century world starting with World War One and life in the trenches. They then study the Holocaust and why it happened. Finally students look at World War Two and the blitz and its impact on British civilians. The skill focus is interpretations.

Key Stage 4

Students follow the OCR Schools’ History Project GCSE. This is comprised of 3 elements;

The American West 1840-1895. This is a depth study which covers life for the Plains Indians, the various groups of settlers who crossed or set up home on the Plains and finally, the conflict between these two groups. It is examined at the end of Year 11.
Hadrian’s Wall. This is a local study which is assessed by an 8 hour controlled assessment carried out in lessons at the end of Year 10. Students will go to Housesteads Fort in order to carry out fieldwork to complete the assessment.
Medicine Through Time. This is a development study which looks at change and continuity over a broad sweep of time. Students begin with Prehistoric medicine and come up to the present day looking at medical progress and/or lack of it. This is examined on the two exams undertaken at the end of Year 11.

Key Stage 5

Students follow Edexcel’s ‘The search for rights and freedoms in the twentieth century’ units at AS and A Level. This is comprised of 4 units in total.
AS and A Level: In search of the American Dream 1917-1996. This is assessed by exam at the end of the AS or A Level.
AS and A Level: South Africa 1948-1994, from apartheid state to rainbow nation. This is assessed by exam at the end of the AS or A Level.
A Level: Poverty, public health and the state in Britain, c1780–1939. This is assessed by exam at the end of the A Level.
A Level: Personal Study – a controlled assessment of about 3500 words based on any of the units studied.

Outside the Classroom

Students will complete fieldwork at Housesteads Fort, Hadrian’s Wall for the GCSE and will have the opportunity to visit the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds to help with the medicine course. A programme of revision sessions is delivered every year for students completing GCSE and AS and A Level courses. We also run a number of competitions for Key Stage 3 students such as the castle model building competition in Year 7 which is always hotly contested! They can also enter competitions for making trench and Anderson shelter models in Year 9.