History Curriculum Overview

Welcome to History at Noel-Baker Academy

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

George Orwell – 1984

In History at Noel-Baker Academy, we learn about the journey taken through the past to get to the present day. We have adapted our curriculum to shift from a traditional overview of History topics to make it less ‘His-story’ and more ‘Our-story’. We have done this by changing the narrative of what we teach to make sure that inclusion, equality and diversity is at the heart of what we do. We look to weave this narrative throughout our curriculum to make learning new knowledge about the past have relevance for our students today.

In creating ‘our story’ we want to make sure that previously marginalised groups are represented, so that we can provide the broad and balanced interpretation of the past that our students are entitled to. This includes more focus on women, black people through history and migration. There is also a history of Derby over time, as a theme running across each unit, to give our subject a specific relevance to NBA students and their locality – in order to instil a sense of connection and value for the wider community.

Year 7 Curriculum Overview


Unit 1: 1000 Years of Migration

This unit provides the foundation for the study of Medieval Britain at Noel-Baker. They will learn about the arrival of Anglo-Saxons to Britain following the fall of the Roman Empire. They will explore whether or not this time should be considered the ‘Dark Ages’ by comparing and contrasting the Saxons and the Romans and considering the impact of Christianity on life in England. The arrival of the Vikings and Alfred the Great and the ‘Golden Age’ of the Anglo-Saxons also feature.


Unit 2: Norman England

This unit provides an investigation into the fight for the English throne following the death of Edward the Confessor. Students will explore the contenders to the throne, and the ultimate Norman Conquest following the Battle of Hastings. There is opportunity to explore the development of the Feudal system within England and the Norman monarchs which dominated this period in history. Within this we look at the creation of the Domesday Book and look at how Alvaston was mentioned in this.


Unit 3: The Power of Medieval Religion

This unit explores the series of religious wars organised by Western European Christians. They will explore the Islamic world, the first Crusade of 1096-1099 and the crusader states. There is opportunity to explore medieval knights and the medieval methods of crime and punishment. Additionally there is a developing theme of religion to look at the impact of the Islamic world on knowledge and understanding as well as the further development of Christianity and Judaism.


Unit 4: The Power of Medieval Religion  

This unit explores the Black Death, the Great Plague which came to Europe form 1347. Students will examine protest in Late Medieval England, accumulated in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. Pupils will study the Wars of the Roses- the series of English civil wars fought between the House of Lancaster and the House of York for control of the English throne. This topic ends with the Battle of Bosworth field, the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses.

Year 8 Curriculum Overview


Unit 1: Decline of Catholicism (Henry VIII)

This unit provides the beginning of the development of the modern world by exploring the rule of Henry VIII from 1509 to 1547 and the Reformation which spread throughout Europe. There is opportunity to assess the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, and the rise of the Protestant faith throughout England. There will be analysis of Henry VIII’s motivation for the English Reformation. Following the short rule of Edward VI, pupils will learn how Mary I ruled England with her Counter Reformation and how she came to be known as ‘Bloody Mary’.


Unit 2: Emergence of Britain

This unit considers why the rule of Elizabeth I became known as the ‘Golden Age’, it looks at Elizabeth’s religious reforms and early examples of wider exploration across the world. They will learn about the Spanish Armada and how both rich and poor people lived in Tudor England. This will include looking at ‘Bess of Hardwick’s’ rise to fame and also how Black Tudors were treated at this time in England and Ireland.


Unit 3: The British Empire

This unit explores the expansionist nature of the British Empire, establishing control within America, India and Australia. They will learn how wealth and trade developed throughout this period, and the dominant position of the British Empire in the world. It focuses on the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and what life was like for a slave. Also how slaves fought against their treatment as they looked to change their futures, with examples such as the rebellion of Nanny and the Maroons as well as more typical examples. This topic concludes with the abolition of slavery.


Unit 4: The Age of Reform (The Industrial Revolution)

This topic looks at the revolutionary nature of the Industrial Revolution. It considers important developments such as the steam engine and cotton textiles and how transport was revolutionised, including the age of the railway. This topic also offers an investigation into how society changed following the Industrial Revolution with a focus on the impact on Derby. This will include the mass demographic shift through urbanisation.
During this period, people moved in to the cities to work in industry and there will be a focus on what life was like for factory workers and what social and political reform followed as industrialisation continued. The topic concludes with analysis of women’s fight for right to vote, including consideration of the role of Alice Wheeldon as a suffragette from Derby, as women were finally successful.

Year 9 Curriculum Overview


Unit 1: The Great War

This unit explores the long term and short term causes of WWI. They will learn about the Western Front, a stretch of land between France and Belgium, and the allied victory of Britain, France and Russia. This topic concludes with an overview of how the war impacted of a range of different people and groups such as women, black soldiers from America and even how the war affected the people of Alvaston.


Unit 2: Rise of Political Extremism

This unit uncovers the period in time between the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII. It introduces Communism and how Marxist ideology developed within Russia, and the creation of the USSR. It continues to explore the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany and compare this to the rise of Fascism in Britain under the guidance of Oswald Moseley, as well as looking at how Fascism was received in elections held in Derby during the 1930s. Why dictators were more successful in gaining power in particular countries, and the importance of these dictators in the road to the Second World War, will also be analysed.


Unit 3: Second World War

This topic looks at the war in Europe which caused mass destruction. It looks at the British home front, and the role women played in entering the workforce to support their nation. Reference will be made to the role played by Rolls-Royce in Derby to help the war effort. It progresses to study the atrocities of the Holocaust and the war in Asia. This topic concludes as the Second World War ends in Allied victory.


Unit 4: Civil Rights, Equality and Integration (Decolonisation)

This topic begins with a review of the American Civil war. They will learn how the end of slavery did not lead to equality. Rather, the period of reconstruction was dominated by segregation and the development of the civil rights movement in America. This will be compared and contrasted with the experiences that people migrating to Britain experienced during a similar time frame, with consideration of ‘The Empire Windrush’ and subsequent migration into British society following the breaking down of the British Empire and the decolonisation of India, the Middle East and Africa. Whilst there was achievements, this topic concludes with the persistence of prejudice in society.


Unit 5: Post-war Europe

This topic looks at how British society was shaped following the conclusion of the Second World war and what happened as life progressed through the 1950s-1980s. This includes looking at wider changes in Europe also with identification of the Cold War and contrasting East and West ideologies before the collapse of Communism and wider integration within Europe.

Year 10/11 Curriculum Overview (KS4)


Key stage 4 History Pupils will sit AQA GCSE History at the end of year 11. The GCSE courses provide pupils with access to four units of learning before they sit two 2 hour exams.


Period Study – Germany 1890-1945: Democracy and Dictatorship
Wider World Depth Study) Conflict and Tension: the inter-war years 1918-1939


British Depth Study – Norman England 1066- c.1100
Thematic Study – Britain: Migration, empires and the People c.790 to present day


Unit 1: (Period Study) Germany 1890-1945: Democracy and Dictatorship

This period study focuses on the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism following the end of WWII. Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments. They will begin this module with Germany and the growth of democracy. They will learn of the difficulties of ruling Germany, the impact of the First World War and Weimar Democracy. Students will investigate the impact the Depression had on the growing support for Nazis and the establishment of Hitler’s dictatorship. This module concludes with an investigation into the experiences of Germans under the Nazis. This includes economic changes, social policy and practices, and the use of control.


Unit 2: (British Depth Study) Norman England 1066- c.1100

This unit looks at how after the death of Edward the Confessor, the English throne was fought for by Viking, Saxon and Norman claimants to the throne. The key battles of Fulford Gate, Stamford Bridge and the Battle of Hastings ensured Norman Conquest and control. They will investigate how the Normans established and maintained control through the Harrying of the North, King William’s leadership and government and William II and his inheritance. This depth study will look at the life under the Normans, including the development of the Feudal system and the economic and social changes and their consequences. Students will learn about the church, the reform of the English church and its organisation. They will, in depth, analyse the Norman reforms, their building of abbeys and monasteries and Latin usage. Students during this module will also investigate the historic environment of Norman England. In depth, students will learn a specific site in depth in preparation for their exam, this site changes annually.


Unit 3: (Thematic Study) Britain: Migration, empires and the People c.790 to present day

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of how the identity of the people of Britain has been shaped by their interaction with the wider world. It will consider invasions and conquests. It will also study the country’s relationship with Europe and the wider world. It will consider the ebb and flow of peoples into and out of Britain and evaluate their motives and achievements. It considers the causes, impact and legacy of Empire upon the ruled and the ruling in the context of Britain’s acquisition and retreat from Empire.


Unit 4: (Wider World Depth Study) Conflict and Tension: the inter-war years 1918-1939

This wider world depth study enables students to look at concepts such as national self-determination and the complex interests of different individuals and states during this time. Students will learn of peace making, notably the armistice and the Versailles settlement. They will learn about the formation of the League of Nations, diplomacy outside the League and the collapse of the League. Students will look into the origins and the outbreak of the Second World War. They will analyse how tension developed and escalated with the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, Mussolini and the ending of appeasement. The module concludes with the outbreak of the Second World War.

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