The aim of the History Department at Abbs Cross Academy is to develop the student’s real interest in the past to help them understand the present. In this sense we support the Humanities faculty in its aim of teaching students about humans’ interaction with the historical, the geographical, cultural, spiritual and moral dimensions of the world we live in.

History can empower students, open up academic opportunities and skills important to the modern working world. It will help young people understand the society in which they live, help develop a common identity and appreciation of modern British values: democracy, rule of law, liberty and tolerance.

In order for students to study history we appreciate they must be equipped with both literacy and critical thinking skills. We therefore aim to support the school’s whole school literacy plan and help students become academic writers.

At Key Stage 3, pupils develop an understanding of causation, significance, interpretations and source analysis skills in order to prepare for Key Stage 4. They engage with history through a study of British and international history, organised chronologically. Students are regularly assessed and monitored so that we can celebrate achievement and adapt teaching and learning. At Key Stage 4, we follow the Edexcel exam syllabus. We have organised a successful Jack the Ripper tour of Whitechapel for Year 8 and a very popular visit to the Imperial War Museum for Year 9 and will be making future visits to Berlin with GCSE students.

We encourage students to approach every History lesson and homework as a positive learning opportunity and to work to the best of their ability. We often carry out historical research by investigating the significance and importance of events, which will require them to have an open mind and a wider curiosity of the past.

At times in History, we deal with very emotive topics – such as slavery and the Holocaust that must be discussed with high levels of maturity, sensitivity and understanding.


At KS3 the students will follow the approved National Curriculum, studying British History from 1066 to 2000.


Year 7

Medieval England 1066 – 1485.  We investigate why William Duke of Normandy defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings and how the Normans kept control of England. We also look at why the Medieval Church was so powerful and what life was like as a peasant. Our final piece of work is an in depth study into the mystery of the princes who disappeared in the Tower of London in 1483.

Early Modern England c.1500 – 1603. Students at first learn about the English Reformation and how iconic Monarchs such as Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I brought about religious changes that affected people’s lives. 

Early Modern England c.1500 – c.1750. Students first learn about the English Reformation and how iconic Monarchs such as Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I brought about religious changes that affected people’s lives. They then move onto the Stuart Kings and how key events such as the Gunpowder Plot, the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution led to significant political changes.


Year 8

The growth of British towns, c.1750 – 1900. Pupils will engage in learning about how increases in the population and industrialisation contributed towards major changes in living conditions. We learn about the living conditions for the poor in slums and workhouses and how such poor living conditions led to outbreaks of cholera.

The British Empire c1780 – 1900. This was investigate the reasons and outcomes of Britain’s growth as a colonial power and the implications this had on the peoples they ruled.

The Road to Emancipation. We study the growth of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and treatment and conditions for African slaves during “the Middle Passage” and on a slave plantation. Our work then moves to the 20th Century, where we look at like for Black Americans during the era of segregation and the roles of key individuals such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in winning Black Americans greater equality.

Immigration to the UK since 1945. This looks at the experiences of immigrants who came to Britain and the impact of Britain becoming and multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society.


Year 9

The First World War. This is an in depth look at the conflict, with a focus on it’s causes, recruitment into the British Army, life on the Western Front and the Battle of the Somme. This is followed by study into the post war settlement of the Treaty of Versailles.

The Holocaust. An essential unit to teach, this looks at the rise of the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler in Germany and the creation of the Third Reich. Essential issues that are explored are how the Nazis took such total control over Germany society and the events that led to the policy of genocide of Europe’s Jews during the unique horror of the Holocaust.

The causes and events of the Second World War. Many key aspects that are covered includes Britain’s policy of appeasement towards Hitler, the evacuation of Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the D-Day Landings. This also includes a local area study of Hornchurch Country Park site of the present day Hornchurch Country Park, once the location of RAF base from 1915 – 1962.


Year 10

Paper 1

Thematic Study: Medicine through time, c1250–present.
Pupils focus on the themes of continuity and change to Medicine over time and complete an essay based exam paper.

Historic Environment: The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–c19: injuries, treatment and the trenches.
Pupils are required in the examination to make source based written responses.

  • This is a 1 hour 15 min examination, which is 30% of the GCSE.


Paper 2

British depth study: Early Elizabethan England 1558 – 1588
A study of the problems and challenges facing Queen Elizabeth from within England and the resultant  conflict with Spain.

Period Study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941 - 91

This investigates the global rivalry and tensions between the USA and the USSR that dominated international politics throughout the second half of the 20th Century.

  • This will be a 1 hour 45 min examination and 40% of the GCSE.


Year 11

Paper 3

Modern Depth Study: The USA, 1954 – 75: Conflict at home and abroad
A close and detailed study on the development of The USA, focusing on the civil rights campaign for Black Americans, then the events and impact of the Vietnam War.

  • This will be a 1 hour 20 min examination and 30% of the GCSE.

GCSE Results 2022

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving 64% grades 9-4.

GCSE Results 2023

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving 62.2% grades 9-4.

Useful Links

KS3 & KS4

Revision guides

 Edexcel GCSE (9 – 1) Pearson Revision Guide and workbook for:

  • Crime and Punishment in Britain c1000 – Present
  • Spain & the ‘New World’ c.1490 – 1555
  • Anglo Saxon & Norman England c.1060 – 1088
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 - 1939