"The core mission of the department is to make history accessible and attractive to all young people so that they continue to engage with history once they leave full time education. We use a variety of teaching methods to achieve this and we pride ourselves on the positive ethos which we have worked hard to build up. We also put great emphasis on extra-curricular in order to bring the subject to life - from trips to clubs, we constantly review our provision. The coat of arms represents the high academic standards we set the students and ourselves and can be seen hanging in the entrance to the department (see above). We run regular competitions and this year's will be "Who Do You Think You Are?" where we will invite all members of the Balcarras Community to submit their own interesting family history narratives for display in the department.

Curriculum Map


Autumn 1 

Autumn 2 

Spring 1 

Spring 2 

Summer 1 

Summer 2 

Year 7 

Anglo Saxons and Vikings 

Medieval Realms 

Mediaeval Realms 

Mediaeval Realms 

Song & Yuan Dynasties 

Song & Yuan Dynasties 

Year 8 

The Making of the UK 

The Making of the UK 

The 13 Colonies 

Industrial Britain and the 19th Century 

Industrial Britain and the 19th Century 

The Qing Dynasty 

Year 9 

Edwardian Britain & Titanic 

World War One and the interwar years 

Second World War era 

The Holocaust 

Post War World – Terrorism/ Post Colonialism 

20th Century China 

Year 10 

Kaiser’s Germany and Weimar 

Nazis 1933 -1945 

Conflict and Tension 

Conflict and Tension – Mock Revision 

Restoration Britain

Restoration Britain

Year 11 

Migration Mediaeval 

Migration Early Modern

Migration 19th Century 

Migration to 20th Century - Mock revision 



Year 12 

Political Britain 1783-1812 


Social Britain– Economic 1783 – 1812 


Political Britain1812 – 1832 

Social & Economic 1812 – 1832 

Britain by 1832 
Kennedy & USA by 1963 

NEA Prep and Planning & Year 12 Consolidation 

Year 13 

Political Britain 1832 – 1846 


Social- Economic Britain 1832- 1846 


Political Britain 1846 – 1885 


Social & Economic Britain 1846 – 1885 

Ford & Carter 

Britain up to 1885 
America up to 1980 



Year 12 Politics 

Component 1- Politics 

Democracy & Participation 

Political Parties 

Component 1- Politics 

Electoral Systems 

Voting Behaviour 

Component 2 - Government 

The Constitution 


Component 2 - Government 

PM & Executive 

Relations between branches 

Component 1 & 2 consolidation & Component 3 – USA 

The Constitution 

Component 3 – USA 

The Constitution 

Year 13 Politics  

Component 3 – USA 

US Congress 


Component 1 & 2 Core political ideas 

Component 3 – USA 

US Presidency 


Component 1 & 2 Core political ideas 

Component 3 – USA 

US Supreme Court 


Component 1 & 2 Non-core political ideas 

Component 3 – USA 

US Democracy & Participation 


Component 1 & 2 Revision 



We have five full time teachers; Mr Michael Stoker, Mr Darren Leatherbarrow, Mr Patrick Sexton, Miss Jodie Wilkinson and Mr Andrew Harding. Our head teacher, Mr Burke, also teaches various groups. We are based in our own suite of five classrooms, one of which is a multi-purpose computer room with another being a sixth form seminar room. Our department also offers excellent mentoring year after year of trainee teachers. We take great pride in the look of our department and we were very pleased to yet again be in the top 3 places for best departments in the school for the previous 5 years."

The major features of our curriculum are listed below.

Key Stage 3

Our overall approach to KS3 History is to study British History chronologically from the Medieval period to the 20th century. Alongside this we also study a number of comparative international courses.  In Year 7 we study British history from 1066 to 1485. To add an international dimension we study American history focussing on Native Americans. In year 8 students again focus on British history looking at the rise of modern Britain from the Tudors and Stuarts through to industrialisation in the 18th/19th century. Students also look at the French revolution as a comparison with the British civil wars.  A local study is also made of Cheltenham during this period by considering its rise to prominence as a Spa town.  The Year 7s also get a chance to explore various African states in the pre-colonial era as part of a curriculum day focus

In year 9 we focus on twentieth century history. Students study the Titanic to find out what it can teach us about Edwardian society. They then study WWI and WWII with a look at the rise of dictatorships between these two global conflicts.

We also complete an in depth study of the Holocaust which we teach thoroughly and sensitively. In the summer term students consider international events of significance from the second half of the 20th century such as civil rights or the impact of terrorism.

Other events for KS3 students

One of the most successful activities run by the department at KS3 is our modelling club. Over the last 8 years the club has produced models of several significant battles including Waterloo, D-Day and Rorkes Drift. Currently students are working on a Battle of Britain dog fight as well as their own individual projects.

As well as this the department has recently run a curriculum day for year 9 students called “Days that shook the world: The curator challenge.” This required students to compete to research, plan and present a concept for a museum about a significant event or topic from 20th century history.


Take up for GCSE is very strong with history continuing to be one of the most popular option subjects. We started the reformed GCSE in September 2016 and we are following the AQA specification. In paper 1 we study Germany 1890-1945 and the Cold War 1945-1972. In paper 2 we study a thematic course on British history from 790AD to the present day looking at migration and the development of empire. In the final unit of paper 2 we complete a depth study on Restoration England 1660-1685.  For the first two cohorts, on average our history students get 20% or higher than any other students of GCSE History in the country

One of the most popular elements of the GCSE course is a 6 day trip to Berlin. For the last two years we have taken nearly 90 students which is the largest trip run by Balcarras School. This trip provides an excellent opportunity for students to understand the modern courses we study in an active and engaging way. We visit a variety of places in and around the city including Sachsanhausen concentration camp, the Reichstag and many other sites of importance.

A Level

We have in recent years organised a study visit to New York in October half term and this occurs every two years. Keep an eye out as are always looking to adapt trips. Our results at A level are also very successful since starting the new specification we have had an average of 62% of our students getting A*-B and above 92% of A*-C.

A Level Politics

From September 2009 the department has offered A level Government and Politics. In year 12 students study British politics and in year 13 they study the development of political ideologies. The course is taught in a variety of ways and in particular there is a real emphasis on students engaging with current affairs in order to bring their knowledge and understanding up to date. 

As well as this we go on a number of visits and arrange talks. In recent years the department has organised a school mock election in 2015 and a mock referendum in 2016. The most recent election we were very fortunate to have the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats deliver excellent speeches to students from our entire school. Our students have also recently taken part in a model United Nations day in Oxford and are regular participants in Youth Parliament and Young EU discussions, despite the recent political realignment.   


We have a number of study visits including a comparison visit to Chepstow and Berkeley Castles, Parliament, The Commandery in Worcester, and the Imperial War Museum to support students in studying across all the different key stages. We also run a guided visit to the WWI battlefields in France and Belgium every activities week for Year 8s. As well as this we organise a number of visits from various historical backgrounds such as a WWI Tommy, local museum curators, and even guest professors from leading universities.