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Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College


Head of Department: Dan Hayward

We are a team of enthusiastic and dedicated teachers who share a passion for History.  We are committed to bringing History to life for our students and making it enjoyable and accessible to all.  Our key aim is to cultivate a life-long love of the subject among our students by carrying out historical investigations that develop their understanding of past events and the different ways that they have been interpreted.  We strongly believe that it is a relevant and fascinating subject that helps students understand the society in which they live.

Key Stage 3 

At Key Stage 3 we aim to inspire students’ curiosity and equip them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, and begin to analyse evidence in order to develop their own opinions of past events.  Students are encouraged to devise their own theories and find evidence to support them.  Across the two years students develop their understanding of historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance.

During Years 7 and 8 students have 4 lessons per fortnight and will receive homework twice per fortnight.

In Year 7 students are introduced to the skills of historical enquiry through the ‘Mystery of the Skeletons’ as well as gaining an insight into the key changes to people’s everyday lives between Iron Age and Norman Britain.  Following this they are taught a variety of topics that cover the history of Britain and the wider world between the years of 1066 and 1745.  Including:

Introduction to Historical Enquiry

  • What is History?
  • Mystery of the Skeletons
  •  Overview: from the Iron Age to the Norman Conquest.

Development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509

  • Norman Conquest Depth Study: How did William the Conqueror gain control of England?
  • How did castle design change over time?
  • What was it like to live in the Middle Ages?
  • Why was the Magna Carta so significant?
  • What does the Black Death tell us about Medieval minds?

Development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745

  • Why did Henry VIII make the break with Rome? (The Reformation)
  • Local study: Torre Abbey
  • What were the key causes of the English Civil War?
  • Did the King deserve to lose his head?
  • Why was the Republic short lived?

In Year 8 students are taught a variety of topics that cover the history of Britain and the wider world between 1745 and the present day.  Including:

Ideas, political power, industry and Empire 1745-1901

  • How did life change between 1750 and 1900 in Britain?
  • Impact ofthe Industrial Revolution on Public Health and working conditions
  • Why did Britain have such a large empire by 1900?
  • How did Britain benefit from the slave trade?
  • Why was slavery abolished?

Challenges to Britain Europe and the Wider World 1901-present day

  • How did women in Britain achieve the right to vote?
  • What were the key causes of the First World War?
  • What were conditions like in the trenches?
  • How fair was the Treaty of Versailles?
  • Democracy and Dictatorship: What are the key differences?
  • What were the causes of the Second World War?
  • Dunkirk: A significant triumph or disaster?
  • Local Study: What was the impact of the Second World War on Plymouth and the surrounding area?
  • Was the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan justified?
  •  Why is it important to remember the Holocaust?

Civil Rights in Britain and the Wider World:

  • What was the impact of the Windrush?
  • How was apartheid abolished?
  • What was the significance of Civil Rights in America?

Key Stage 4 

History at GCSE level is a stimulating, useful and relevant subject through which students are taught how to research effectively and understand a range of interpretations of past events.  Students are encouraged to construct arguments and debate their opinions in order to form their own judgements about the significance of historical events and the role of key individuals.  Through the course students develop the skills of explanation and analysis that are very much valued in the work place.

Students can access a number of excellent educational websites to support their study at GCSE level as well as features in history magazines, newspaper articles and documentaries.


Year 9 (2020 onwards)

Edexcel GCSE History (9-1)


Years 10 - 11 (September 2015 onwards)

OCR GCSE (9-1) History B (Schools History Project) J411

Aims of the course

  • To actively engage in the process of historical enquiry by using a wide range of evidence
  • To develop understanding of what caused significant world events
  • To develop critical and reflective thinking
  • To help develop independent learners


Thematic study and historic environment: Medicine in Britain, c1250-present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914-18 (30%)

  • These two units combine to allow students to explore the changing nature of medical improvements in Britain from the Medieval to modern periods. Students will research critical events such as the Black Death, Cholera and creation of the NHS. There is also an in-depth investigation into the medical procedures undertaken during WWI and how the horrors of war allowed for some improvements in medicine.

Period study: The American West, c1835-1895 (20%)

  • This unit investigates a critical period of American history when the expansion of states led to issues such as Plains Indian reservations, lawlessness and poverty. Students will also follow themes to research who prospered within the United States as the border in the West expanded past Mexico towards California, helping to create the America they are familiar with today.

British depth study: Early Elizabethan England 1558-88 (20%)

  • Students will explore the initial problems that Elizabeth I encountered upon becoming queen, such as religious turmoil, and then move towards Elizabeth’s period of domestic stability and compare it to her tribulations with foreign policy. Enquiries will allow students to improve their skills of analysis, such as significance, cause and consequence

Modern depth study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39 (30%)

  • This unit will follow a period of history that saw democracy denounced and fascist dictatorship widely celebrated. Students will gain an understanding of the factors that allowed Nazism to flourish, such as economic downturn and nationalism. Within this unit students will improve their ability to identify and analyse interpretations of leading historians on different topics within this period of history.

All of the units will be externally assessed through examination at the end of Year 11.



Key Stage 5 

A Level History is a subject that will broaden the inquisitive mind and foster an appetite for discussion and debate.  The History A Level is a subject in which students can discuss different views and opinions before formulating their own judgements about historical events.  Evaluation and judgement are at the heart of the History A Level and it is these skills that students utilise effectively upon continuation of their educational journey at university. 

The History Department is extremely well resourced with exam board specific textbooks and a wealth of material for the Historical Enquiry unit. 

Exam board: AQA A Level History 7042

Aims of the course

  • To develop key historical skills, for example, evaluation and judgement.
  • To captivate the analytical mind with a range of contemporary sources and interpretations of the past.
  • To fuel the enquiring mind with a study of Tudor England.
  • To stimulate a passion for 20th century history with a in-depth study of Russia. 
  • To encourage an awareness of how current affairs have been shaped by the past.

A Level History Units:

1C: The Tudors 1485-1603 (40%)

  • This unit provides students with the opportunity to learn about the entire Tudor period.  Students will start with the reign of Henry VII and the consolidation of his power, followed by Henry VIII and his struggle for Royal Supremacy.  Students will also gain knowledge of his successors, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.  Key themes that students will study include; the volatile arena of foreign policy and religious turmoil.

2N: Russia, revolution and dictatorship 1917-53 (40%)

  • This unit provides students with the opportunity to study the collapse of Tsarist Russia, followed by the establishment of the Communist state and the rise of Stalin.  Key events that students will study include the return and impact of Lenin, the devastating policy of War Communism, the terror and purges and the unprecedented industrial preparation for World War Two.

Historical investigation: The Status of African-Americans in the 19th and 20th Century 1860-1980 (20%)

  • This unit enables students to conduct an individual enquiry into the status of African American’s across a 100 year period.  Students will have the opportunity to select their own coursework questions from an approved list and their chosen question will give them the opportunity to thoroughly investigate and interrogate a wealth of sources and interpretations.  This could include gaining knowledge of key individuals such as Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

A Level History examinations will take place at the end of Year 13.

A Level History is a popular A Level choice and it is one in which combines well with English language and English literature, Sociology, Psychology, Languages and it also compliments Maths and the Sciences.

Our History A Level students have enjoyed much success in securing university places on History, Law and Politics courses to name a few.  Employers view History as an A Level that demonstrates an analytical mind that is capable of constructing and arguing a case and articulating it with passion.

Ultimately A Level History is a subject that has retained its integrity as a rigorous academic subject that is well respected by employers and universities.