At John Kyrle, History lessons focus on stimulating curiosity, interest and enjoyment about the past. As well as cultivating knowledge of key historical events and their causes and effects, the Department also concentrates on teaching students a range of valuable and transferable skills, such as interpretation, analysis, evaluation and the effective communication of ideas and opinions.

The Department delivers the curriculum using a variety of teaching methods so that all students, regardless of ability, can fully engage with the learning that is taking place. We endeavour to enable students to become both talented historians and inquisitive citizens of the world who are ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century.

Teaching Staff


Mrs Sarah Gooch, Joint Head of History, email: s.gooch@jkhs.org.uk
Mr Tom Hotchkiss, Joint Head of History, email: t.hotchkiss@jkhs.org.uk
Miss Helen Mather
Mr Thomas Moore
Miss Grace Paddock

Miss Sophie Harding


Mr Tom Hotchkiss

Joint Head of History

Mrs Sarah Gooch

Joint Head of History

Key Stage 3


In Years 7-9 students study a range of topics broadly in line with the requirements of the National Curriculum. Students receive 3 lessons per fortnight and are taught in their tutor groups. We aim to teach topics which engage students, develop key skills and cover a wide range of historical events which shaped our world. In doing so, pupils will develop into thoughtful, tolerant and knowledgeable citizens. The table below shows the topics that your child will be studying over the course of the year:


Key Stage 4


At GCSE, students follow the Edexcel History syllabus.  The topics chosen aim to develop upon the areas studied at Key Stage 3 while at the same time developing a wider range of knowledge in topic areas that have dramatic relevance to today’s world. The variety of these topic areas allow for students with multiple historical interests to engage with the subject and showcase their talents. Students are taught in mixed ability groups and all sit the same exam papers at the end of Year 11.

Paper 1:  British Thematic Study with Historic Environment (30%)


  • Students will study Crime and Punishment through time, with a particular focus on Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper.

Paper 2: Period Study and British Depth Study (40%)


  • For the Period Study students will focus on the American West, particularly conflict between the White Settlers and the Native Americans.

  • For the British Depth Study students will focus on the early part of the reign of Elizabeth I.

Paper 3: Modern Depth Study (30%)

  • This will focus on American Civil Rights and also USA’s involvement in Vietnam. 


You can find more information, specifications and exam materials here.  

Key Stage 5

At A-Level students study 4 Edexcel units. These topics are chosen deliberately to inform upon the issues faced both at home and abroad, build an understanding and interest in social, economic and political history and enable teachers to teach in areas of expertise. This enables students to get a holistic covering of key events and eras to help inspire, motivate and engage.


Year 12


Unit 1: Russia, 1917-91 – from Lenin to Yeltsin (30%)

You will learn about the key political, social and economic features of communist rule in Russia during the twentieth century, an era that saw its authority and influence rise to the status of a superpower, only to diminish and decline later in the            century.  You will examine how such a revolutionary yet oppressive regime controlled its people and attempted to bring about political and economic change.

Unit 2: The German Democratic Republic – 1949-90 (20%)

You will study the creation, development, decline and collapse of the communist East German state, 1949-90.  For the whole of its existence, East Germany was a key focus of world attention as it lay on the frontline of the Cold War, where contrasts      between East and West could be seen at their starkest.  From the Berlin Wall to the Stasi – you will explore key features of the regime.

You can find more information, specifications and exam materials here.


Year 13


Unit 3: Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors – 1485-1603 (30%)

You will explore the nature of rebellion and disorder under the Tudors and the way the various challenges were met, the      nature of change in government over the period and the changing relationship between the Crown and society.  This unit    enables you to understand the way in which, despite a shaky start, the Tudors were able to establish their dynasty as one of the most powerful England has seen.

Unit 4: Coursework (20%)

The coursework is an independent enquiry and the majority of students focus either on the Causes of the First World War or alternatively the Causes of the Russian Revolution. By agreement with staff, some students may focus on a topic of their own choice. The coursework enables you to develop skills in the analysis and evaluation of interpretations of history, in a chosen controversy, as part of an independently researched assignment.  You will be required to form a critical view based on relevant reading on the question.  This is an opportunity to show flair, individualism and a critical understanding of questions which still provoke debate within history today.

You can find more information, specifications and exam materials here.