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Hadleigh High School


Staff Members

Mr Neal Watkin, Miss Kym Charlesworth, Mr James MacRae, Mrs Charlotte Tunaley

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 History is about understanding why the world has turned out the way it has. We start locally by looking at the impact of events in Hadleigh and Suffolk and gradually work our way out until we are tackling the issues that are troubling the world today. This work is based around three connected and important questions:


  • Year  7: So, who are we now and who were we then? 
  • Year 8: What are the BIG ideas that shaped Britain and its identity? 
  • Year 9: Why did the world need to see inside Black Panther’s Wakanda?


Behind these big questions is a range of units that cover different types of History. Some are sweeping units that allow students to see the grand scope of a part of History, while others drill down on specific events that affected the local, national or global landscape. There are a range of different activities that mix creative and imaginative tasks with serious academic study. The specific content can be seen in the list below:


YEAR 7: So, who are we now and who were we then?

Why is it so hard to find out about the early History of Suffolk? – This unit looks at the benefits and limitations of studying archaeology and introduces students to the main ways in which Historians use evidence.

Did the Romans really transform Britain? – Studying the Romans in Britain gives us a chance to explore the written sources of Roman Historians and compare them to the archaeology of Celtic and Roman sites. We do this to assess whether these writers gave us an accurate picture of what the Romans did in Britain.

How smoothly did the Saxons come to dominate England by 1065? – When the Romans left Britain the Saxons moved in, and they stayed around until the Normans took over in 1066. This unit looks at whether their rule was easy or whether they had to fight for the throne.

How far did England change after the Norman Conquest? – William of Normandy took the throne in 1066, but how did he and his followers gain control of the whole country? Who accepted him, who did not and what were the big changes that he made to the country?

How was the power of the Plantagenet kings challenged in 1154-1307? – They were murderers, thieves and warmongers, but they were also builders, conquerors and devoted Christians; so who challenged them and how successful were they at limiting the absolute power of Britain’s bloodiest dynasty? This unit looks at Henry II, Richard I, John, Henry III and Edward I.

How did Hadleigh become the most industrious town in England? – There was a time when the people of Hadleigh made more goods per person than any other town. What was at the heart of this incredible achievement and how did it affect the people who lived here?

How did the village of Allton experience the Black Death? – The effects of the Black Death were huge for England, but it is easier to grasp if we focus on just one village and experience this seismic event through the people who lived through it.
Why did those involved in the Peasants Revolt have such different perspectives? – Take one event in 1381 and look at the views of the people within it. How can they have experienced the same things and yet have such different views on what happened?

How Renaissance was Shakespeare? – This may seem like a silly question, given that he was the most famous writer of the English Renaissance, but many of his plays were set in the Ancient World and medieval times. Why was the Bard so inspired by the past and what does this tell us about the world in which he lived?

How did the world become more connected between 500 and 1600? – This overview unit looks back at all the units that were studied in Year 7 and draws out the links between countries that made the world a much smaller place.



YEAR 8: What are the BIG ideas that shaped Britain and its identity?

Were the Roses always at war? – The popular image of this period is that two branches of the royal family, one with banners adorned with a white rose and the other sporting a red rose, spent 30 years continually fighting for the throne of England. However, careful examination of the evidence might show a very different type of conflict and reveal that ‘The Wars of the Roses’ might not even be a very appropriate name.

Was Martin Luther the ‘Father of the Reformation’? – The story of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg is one of the most dramatic scenes in History and is meant to have kick started changes in Europe that led to many leaving the Catholic Church. This unit aims to put the event in a wider context to examine its true significance.

What did the candle in Morebath Church see? – Morebath is a small village in Devon. It is unremarkable in every way, except one: the priest of the village kept a book where he wrote down exactly what happened to the village in the Tudor period. This unit allows students to take on the role of one of these villagers and experience the religious changes of the 16th Century through their lives.

When did England first have an Empire? – The Elizabethans were great explorers and their influence was felt across the globe, from the shores of Canada to the coastline of India. At what point did exploring and sailing turn into settling and conquering? Which moment marks the point where England could have truly said that it had an Empire?

What did John Winthrop take with him to America? – John Winthrop lived in the village of Groton, just a few miles to the west of Hadleigh. At the beginning of the 1600s he was busy working on a plan to quit England and start a new life in the Americas. Why did he decide to swap Suffolk for Massachuetts and what did he take with him on the long journey to set up his new colony?

How did Charles I lose control of England? – Charles I was a controversial king who brought civil war to the country. In this unit students explore the reasons why Charles lost control and they will use counter-factual History to help explain this.

Why did it take so long for Parliament to gain control of England? – Parliament has placed limits on royal power since the time of the Plantagenet king Henry III, but it wasn’t until 1928 that true parliamentary democracy began. What were the key moments in creating the Parliament and voting system that we have today and what did the road to democracy look like? Students will create a ‘road map’ full of signs and hazards to describe the journey.

Who cared about the French Revolution? – No one would doubt that the French Revolution was a turning point for the people of France, but who else saw something important in the death of Loius XVI and the rise of the Republic? Who retold the stories and drew their own lessons from the brave and tragic experiment undertaken by the French people?

Was there a common experience of the Industrial Revolution? – Between 1780 and 1850 Britain went through a profound change: it stopped being a country of farming villages and became a land of factory towns and cities. Such a big change produced many different experiences, both good and bad, so how does the Historian write a clear account of the period? How should it be remembered?

Why do Historians disagree about who is to blame for the Great War? – No other event has had such a powerful hold on British society and it remains a cornerstone of our identity today. Despite its importance historians find it hard to agree on why the war began and who was most responsible for it. The unit looks at why these disagreements exist and asks students to make their own judgements about the topic.

What did Britons remember about the Great War? – There are so many stories that have emerged from the First World War. This unit re-examines some of the most famous, and a few lesser known ones, to look at how they have shaped our identity.

How did the myth of the Blitz Spirit develop? – The Second World War saw Britain withstand the attacks of Germany with a determination and patriotic pride. However, is only part of the story and the way the Blitz Spirit developed is both surprising and revealing…

Have the causes of conflicts changed from 500 BCE to 2019? – Year 8 ends with a look back at the theme of war, drawing on the units from the past two years and asking students to look for similarities and differences in the way wars have been started.


YEAR 9: Why did the world need to see inside Black Panther’s Wakanda?

Why don’t the Chinese play cricket? – Cricket is only played by a small number of countries across the globe; what connects them and what do these connections tell us about Britain?

When was India free? – India became officially free of British control in 1947, but the story of how they got there and what each of the stages meant for India is both surprising and exciting. This unit asks students to create a road map that looks at India’s journey from colony of the Empire to a free and independent state. The main focus through this unit is the role and inspiration provided by Mahatma Gandhi.

In the History of Black presence in Britain, how big a change was the slave trade? – Black people arrived in Britain was part of the Roman Army (one of Britain’s Roman Governors was Ethiopian) and there has been a black presence in the country ever since. How was this well-established community affected by the transatlantic slave trade and did British attitudes towards them change as a result of this murky chapter in our History?

Who noticed Britain was changing in the Industrial Period? – Change is rarely dramatic and sweeping, it mostly creeps in unnoticed while people are busy getting on with their lives. However, there are always a few visionaries that can see through trappings of daily life and pinpoint the issues of the day. This unit analyses the poets, politicians and painters who were able to capture that change and move Britain in a new direction.

Why did it take so long for women to get the vote? – The suffragette story is being celebrated at the moment: 100 years after women first got the vote in Britain and we still need #metoo. This unit gets students to identify and explain the barriers that were placed in front of women in their quest for the vote and the ways that they overcame them.

Whose lives were changed by the Second World War? – This unit links to the previous three and asks students to think about the impact of World War II. When the radioactive dust had settled and the fighting had stopped, what did differences did people see? Had the ‘people’s war’ been worth the sacrifices made?

Did emancipation free the enslaved in America? – In 1863 President Lincoln pronounced that, “all persons held as slaves within any State… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” This officially ended the practice of slavery in America, but did it make a difference to the lives of black people in America? At what point did they feel ‘free’?

Why did those involved in the Peasants Revolt have such different perspectives? – The fact that Martin Luther King had a dream is well known, but what views were held by other leading Civil Rights activists like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Why did leaders like Martin Luther King preach integration, while others like Marcus Garvey fought for separation of Black people? This unit explores the variety of responses to the crucial question of how America should deal with equality.


How far did the Adolf Eichmann trial change ideas about ‘truth’? – In 1961 leading Nazi Adolf Eichmann was put on trial in Jerusalem for crimes against humanity. This landmark event sparked a renewed interest in the Holocaust, an event that was not talked about in the 1950s. In this unit students explore the reasons why memory of the Holocaust was brought back into the public consciousness and how the events of the late 1950s and early 1960s shaped the way we view the Holocaust today.


Was 1968 more about Civil Rights, Civil Unrest, or Civil Wars? – This small unit looks at the events of a crucial (but sometimes forgotten) year in modern History and asks students to come up with an appropriate way of describing the events that took place.

Did the Universal Declaration of Human Rights make any difference? – On the back of the atrocities carried out in the Second World War, the United Nations commissioned a document that would lay out the rights of every citizen on the planet. In this unit students look what impact it had on the world and if it reduced the abuses it was designed to stop.

How did a prisoner become a leader in his country? – The name Nelson Mandela is known by most people, but the full story of how he became leader of South Africa is still not that well known. This unit looks at Madela’s entire life and evaluates his importance to the modern world.


Key Stage 4

The History Department offers two different and exciting options at GCSE. Students can take either one or both courses in Year 10 and 11.



Students follow the OCR (SHP B) Specification. There are five components in this exciting and dynamic course. Each one builds on the knowledge and skills students have learned in Years 7 to 9.

Unit 1 - Migrants to Britain, c.1250 to present

The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • The reasons why people migrated to Britain
  • The experiences of migrants in Britain
  • The impact of migrants on Britain


Learners should be able to explain the ways in which the following five factors influenced changes and continuities in migration to Britain:


  • Government
  • Relations with the wider world
  • Attitudes, beliefs and values
  • Communications
  • Economic forces


Unit 2 - The Norman Conquest, 1065–1087


The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • The character of late Anglo-Saxon England
  • How and why William of Normandy became King of England in 1066
  • The establishment of Norman rule between 1067 and 1071
  • The nature and purpose of Norman castles in England to 1087
  • The impact of the Norman Conquest on English society to 1087


Unit 3 – History Around Us


The unit allows students to explore a site within the local area and see how it had changed over time.


Unit 4 - Viking Expansion, c.750–c.1050

The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • The Vikings in Scandinavia: landscape, society and everyday life
  • Viking ships, seafaring and trade c.750
  • Viking beliefs and rituals
  • The changing nature of Viking (Rus) trade and settlement in Russia from c.750
  • The nature of Viking trade and interaction with the Arab world
  • Viking relations with Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire
  • The nature and causes of Viking raids on the British Isles and France, 793–850
  • The nature of Viking warfare: warships, warriors and tactics
  • The ‘great heathen army’ in England and the establishment of Danelaw, 865–879
  • The nature and extent of Viking settlement in the British Isles and France
  • Viking life in Jorvik
  • The nature and extent of Viking settlement in the Atlantic (Iceland, Greenland, America).
  • Harald Bluetooth, Jelling and the conversion of the Vikings to Christianity
  • Svein Forkbeard and his invasions of England
  • Cnut’s Anglo-Scandinavian Empire, 1016–1035


Unit 5 – Living Under Nazi Rule, 1933–1945

The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • Hitler and the Nazi Party in January 1933
  • Establishing the dictatorship, January 1933 to July 1933
  • Achieving total power, July 1933 to August 1934
  • The machinery of terror including the SS, law courts, concentration camps and Gestapo
  • The range and effectiveness of Nazi propaganda
  • Opposition to Nazi rule including the Left, church leaders and youth groups
  • Work and home: the impact of Nazi policies on men and women
  • The lives of young people in Nazi Germany including education and youth movements
  • Nazi racial policy: the growing persecution of Jews
  • The move to a war economy and its impact on the German people, 1939–1942
  • Growing opposition from the German people including from elements within the army
  • The impact of total war on the German people, 1943–1945
  • The contrasting nature of Nazi rule in eastern and western Europe
  • The Holocaust, including the Einsatzgruppen, ghettos and the death camps
  • Responses to Nazi rule: collaboration, accommodation and resistance




Students follow the OCR Ancient History Specification. There are four components in this rigorous and exciting introduction to the Ancient World. Each unit has a list of prescribed sources that students must learn and analyse.


Unit 1 – The Persian Empire, 559–465 BCE


The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • The rise of the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great 559–530 BCE
  • Cambyses II, Smerdis and the accession of Darius 530–522 BCE
  • The reign of Darius the Great 522–486 BCE
  • Xerxes I and the Greeks 486–465 BCE


Unit 2 – Alexander the Great, 356–323 BCE


The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • Upbringing, character, beliefs and life of Alexander
  • Alexander’s campaigns: The reasons for his expeditions and the main battles
  • Significant events in Alexander’s life
  • The Macedonian army under Alexander


Unit 3 – The foundations of Rome: from kingship to republic, 753–440 BCE


The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • The legendary kings: Origins of Rome 753–616 BCE
  • The Etruscan kings: 616–509 BCE
  • Origins of the Republic: 509–494 BCE
  • Securing the Republic: 494–440 BCE


Unit 4 – Britannia: from conquest to province, AD 43–c.84


The unit focuses on the following issues:


  • Claudius’ invasion of Britain
  • The changing policies of the various Roman governors. The significance and success of these governors
  • Cooperation between Romans and Britons and the effects of Roman rule
  • Resistance after the invasion



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