The Knights Templar School

The Knights Templar School

The Knights Templar School images


What we are trying to achieve with our History students

History is a popular and successful subject here at Knights Templar School. Due to a combination of dedicated and hardworking staff and a varied, interesting and well balanced curriculum, students benefit in many ways from their time in our department.

Our fundamental aim is to engage students in their study of the past to maximise their enjoyment of History. We develop their interest in a range of periods of History to enable them to understand the country and the world in which they live in as fully as possible. We aim to enrich their understanding of areas in which they have prior knowledge, to introduce them to new topics and to enthuse them enough that they seek to find out more about the endless and ever changing world outside of the classroom. At its heart, History encompasses many great stories and we hope some of these leave our students wanting to know more about what we have taught them as well as fostering the desire to investigate other areas we do not cover. 

A knowledge of History is crucial for children to become good citizens. We hope that when our students are made aware of current affairs on the television, radio, internet, newspapers or in general conversation, that they are able to put what happens today into context and generally have a better understanding of what happens around them. Maybe they can help avoid some of the mistakes made by our predecessors! 

We also aspire to develop key skills which our students can then go and use outside of the classroom; in their everyday lives; in future studies; and in employment. Literacy is inevitably a crucial area where we seek to help our students. We also endeavour to widen their skills of debate, interpretation and evaluation which are useful to them in a myriad of ways in their lives. We strive to encourage our students to be confident in making judgements which they are able to fully explain and support. Other less obvious areas we seek to develop are their understanding of causation, significance and diversity. 

Finally, we give students the opportunities to see History outside the classroom and we therefore run an extensive range of trips which you can find out more about below. This links back to our primary aim of maximising their enjoyment of our fascinating subject!


Members of staff

Mrs C Robertson, Head of History and Politics Mrs Robertson joined the school in 2012 and has never looked back. Despite recent changes to the A-Level offerings meaning that her beloved Churchill is no longer an examination topic, Mrs Robertson is still particularly interested in early modern/modern political history and very much enjoys teaching the British side of the A-Level course.

Miss S Barker, Teacher of History and Deputy Head Miss Barker joined the school in 1991 and has held almost every position of responsibility available at KTS. Miss Barker’s students are incredibly lucky as they are able to benefit from her amazing organisational skills, but more importantly her wealth of knowledge and experience. Her specialist areas are the US revolutionary period and 19th century British History.

Mrs K Lardeaux, Teacher of History Mrs Lardeaux joined the school in 2015 following a career in industry and all of her students (as well as  the department) are able to benefit from her unique skills developed in the world of business. Mrs Lardeaux expertly juggles her History teaching with her role as Year Leader and creates a warm, safe and buzzing classroom environment. Mrs Lardeaux has a History and Politics degree and is incredibly well-placed to teach the Cold War side of the A-Level course.

Ms E Thompson, Teacher of History (currently on maternity leave) Ms Thompson joined the History Department in September 2016 and alongside teaching History, she is responsible for the Extended Project Qualification. Ms Thompson brings invaluable skills and expertise to the school having previously worked in university admissions and dedicates a great deal of time to working with Sixth Form students, including co-ordinating the UCAS process. Ms Thompson also completed a PhD focusing on American history, making her a fantastic resource to her GCSE students who will be looking at the USA from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Mr P Thornley, Teacher of History. Mr Thornley joined the school in October 2019 following the completion of his teacher-training qualification at Worcester University. Mr Thornley brings fresh ideas to the classroom and includes his passion for music in many of his lessons. Mr Thornley is not only responsible for teaching History, he also helps to oversee the Extended Project Qualification and teaches PSHCE.

Miss C Watson, Teacher of History  Miss Watson joined the school in May 2020. Miss Watson is a very knowledgeable teacher with over 20 years of classroom experience under her belt. She has spent most of her career up to this point at a school in London but has recently moved to the Hertfordshire area. KTS is very lucky to have gained such a seasoned pro!


Our Courses

Year 7:

For most classes, Year 7 will be run on a carousel basis with Geography, wherein students study one of the subjects at a time. Students will study either History or Geography for 6 lessons a fortnight for half a term, before swapping to the other subject, repeating this pattern throughout the year.

During each half term, students will study a range of different topics, as follows:

Half Term 1 – An introduction to History skills, an introduction to the medieval period, the claimants to the throne in 1066 and the Battle of Hastings.  Students will complete their first assessment on the Battle of Hastings.

Half Term 2 – A castles project, medieval life and the Black Death. Students will complete their second assessment on the plague (the Black Death)

Half Term 3 – An introduction to the Tudor period, the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII, religious changes under Henry and his children, life in the Tudor times and the reign of Elizabeth I. Students will complete their final assessment on Henry VIII.

Year 8:

Students will study 3 hours of History during each 2 week cycle. During the year, the students will cover the following topics:

Unit 1: Tudors and Stuarts – The Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot and the English Civil War. Students will complete their first assessment on Charles I and the Civil War

Unit 2: The Industrial Revolution – changes in agriculture, life in the mills, industrialisation and inventions, changes to life in towns and cities and the impact of Jack the Ripper. Students will complete their second assessment on the conditions in the mills and factories.

Unit 3: Empire and Slavery – where the British Empire was and how Britain benefited, the legacy of the Empire, the trade triangle, conditions on ships, experiences of slave auctions, life and work as a slave and reasons for the abolition of slavery. Students will complete their final assessment on the abolition of slavery.

Unit 4: Women’s suffrage – the position of women in the Victorian period, the work, tactics and experiences of the Suffragettes and the Suffragists, the role of women during WW1 and how and why some women were given the vote in 1918 and all in 1928.

Year 9:

Students will study 4 hours of History during each two week cycle. Year 9 will also be crucial in offering students an introduction into the topics studied at GCSE and the skills required. Students will cover the following:

Unit 1: WW1 – The long term and short term causes, life in the trenches, the role of animals, the Battle of the Somme, life at home during the war, why the war ended and the Treaty of Versailles. Students will complete their first assessment on the Treaty of Versailles.

Unit 2: The Nazis – Hitler’s rise to power, life in Nazi Germany including the use of violence, intimidation and propaganda, the role of women and the experience of young people. Students will complete their second assessment on the reasons for Hitler’s popularity in Germany in the 1930s.

Unit 3: The Holocaust – what the Holocaust was, the different groups who suffered from persecution, ways in which the Jews and others attempted to resist the Nazis, experiences in ghettos and concentration camps, Anne Frank, the experience of liberation and remembering the Holocaust today.

Unit 4: WW2 – long term and short term causes, the role of Hitler’s foreign policy and the policy of appeasement (GCSE topic), life at home during WW2, key battles and turning points, the Atomic bomb and the end of the war. Students will complete their final assessment on the causes of WW2.

Unit 5: Black History – The Long Black Freedom Struggle, Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s, Migration, including Wind Rush.


KS4 and 5


Exam board - AQA

This qualification focuses on students developing their insight and understanding of how the world we live in today has been shaped by the past. By looking at both breadth and depth studies, students will have the opportunity to examine social, political and economic changes over time and the specific effects these have had on different groups of people.



Students will take two written examinations at the end of Year 11:

Paper 1 Understanding the Modern World (50% of GCSE)

Paper 2 Shaping the Nation (50% of GCSE)

There is no coursework


Course content:

Students are required to cover:

  • One period study
  • One thematic study
  • One wider world depth study
  • One British depth study including the historic environment

Period Study - America 1920-1973: Opportunity and Inequality (Paper 1) (Y10)

  • American people and the Boom – benefits, social/cultural developments, divisions in society
  • Bust – Americans’ experience of the Depression and New Deal – impact of the Depression, effectiveness of the New Deal, impact of WW2
  • Post-war America – the economy, racial tension and civil rights, social policies/changes


Wider World Depth Study - Conflict and tension, 1918-1939 (Paper 1) (Y10)

  • Peace-making – Armistice, Treaty of Versailles, impact of the Treaty
  • The League of Nations and international peace – formation and organisation, diplomacy, collapse of the League
  • The origins and outbreak of the Second World War – tension, escalation, outbreak of war


Thematic Study – Britain: Health and the People: c1000 to the present day (Paper 2) (Y11)

  • Medicine stands still - Medieval medicine, the medical process and public health in the Middle Ages
  • The beginnings of change – The Renaissance, disease – treatment and prevention
  • A revolution in medicine – Germ Theory, surgery, public health
  • Modern medicine – treatment of disease, impact of war, modern public health


British Depth Study – Elizabethan England, c 1568-1603 (Paper 2) (Y11)

  • Elizabeth’s court and parliament – Elizabeth’s background, difficulties of a female ruler
  • Life in Elizabethan times – Golden Age, the poor, English sailors
  • Troubles at home and abroad – religion, Mary Queen of Scots, conflict with Spain
  • The Historic environment of Elizabethan England – a study of a historic site (set by the exam board) that they are examined on as part of Paper 2 (10% of the overall course)

If you would like to purchase a revision guide to support your studies, we recommend the My Revision Notes: AQA GCSE History 9-1 guide as it covers all sections of our course. It is available on Amazon:


There are several other revision guides and workbooks available, including the Oxford revision guides, but they cover each topic in a separate book so will be more costly overall. If you do want to purchase  the Oxford guides, the links are as follows: – Health – USA – Elizabeth – Conflict and Tension


Exam board - AQA

From September 2015, History has been taught as a linear A-Level, wherein students study two components in depth, which are both examined at the end of Year 13 (Britain and the Cold War). Students also complete a third component – a 4000 word piece of coursework on Indian Independence in the context of 1857-1947.

Year 12:

Industrialisation and the People: Britain c. 1783-1885 (Y12 runs up until 1832)

The AS course is split into two main sections – Pressure for change, 1783-1812 and Government and a changing society, 1812-1832.

The first section of the course covers the British political system in 1783, William Pitt and his successors, economic developments and industrialisation, social developments and the class system, pressures on the government including the French Revolution and the political, social and economic condition of Britain by 1812.

The second section of the Year 12 course covers Lord Liverpool, the Corn Laws, reform and repression, the Combination Acts, Canning, Goderich and Wellington, Catholic Emancipation, economic developments, the effects of industrialisation on standards of living and the working classes, Luddism, anti-slavery movements and the early ideas of socialism. The Year 12 course then ends with looking at the change in the extent of democracy and the Great Reform Act 1832.

The Cold War, c. 1945-1991 (Y12 runs up until 1963)

The AS course is split into two main sections – The origins of the Cold War, 1945-1963 and the widening of the Cold War 1949-1955

The first section of the course covers the relations between US, Britain and USSR in 1945, growing tensions at Yalta and Potsdam, Soviet occupation of eastern and southern Europe, the Iron Curtain speech, the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, the Berlin blockade, the division of East and West Germany and the formation of NATO.

The second section of the Year 12 course covers US containment, US-Japanese relations, China, Taiwan, the defensive perimeter strategy, support for South Korea, the Korean War, attitudes and actions of the UN,USA, USSR and China, military involvement and settlement. The course then looks at increasing tensions, McCarthyism, isolation of China, FRG and NATO, Warsaw Pact, Eisenhower, Dulles and ‘brinkmanship’, domino theory and the Geneva Conference.

Year 13:

Unit 3 Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)

The NEA makes up 20% of the A-Level and is a 3500-word piece of coursework covering the context of 100 years. We have chosen to focus on the move towards Indian Independence 1847-1947.

Students must include with their work accurate historical context, used to support and evaluate their chosen question. They must also refer to at least two historians’ views and compare, analyse and evaluate them, whilst also supporting their work with at least three primary sources.

Students will be taught the background information they will need for the essay but it is very much up to them to carry out their own independent research and find relevant historians and sources to include within their work. They will receive a bibliography to use as a starting point.

Students will work on the NEA from September, with a draft deadline of October half term and a final deadline for completion of the week before the Christmas holiday.

Industrialisation and the People: Britain c. 1783-1885 (Y13 begins from 1832)

The A2 course is split into two main sections – the Age of Reform 1832-1885 and Economy, Society and Politics 1846-1885.

The first section covers the aftermath of the Great Reform Act, the decline of the Whigs and rise of the Tories, reforms and reactions to social change, pressures for change and the Conservative response to change, economic and social developments and the changing lives of the urban poor.

The second section of the course covers changes in government and political organisation, Gladstone and Disraeli as Prime Ministers, social campaigns and other pressures for change and economic and social developments caused by the mid-Victorian boom. Finally, students will sum up the political, economic and social condition of Britain by 1885.

Year 13 students will then need to revise the Y12 content, which will also be referred to throughout Y13.

The Cold War, c. 1945-1991 (Y13 begins from 1963)

The A2 course is split into three main sections – Confrontation and Co-operation 1963-1972, The Brezhnev Era 1972-1985 and the Ending of the Cold War 1985-1991.

The first section of the course will cover the Vietnam War, Nixon’s policies concerning Vietnamisation and relations with China, co-operation between Kennedy and Khrushchev and pressures on the USSR from Czechoslovakia and the Brezhnev Doctrine.

The second section will cover the USA and SE Asia, the extent of Détente up to 1979, the Second Cold War and the reasons for renewed hostilities and developments in Africa and the Americas including Cuban intervention in Angola and Ethiopia and the impact of US intervention in Latin America.

The third section of the course will cover Gorbachev and the ending of the Cold War, the summits between the USA and the USSR, the collapse of Communism in the Eastern European soviet satellite states, the end of the Brezhnev Doctrine and the significance of events in 1989. Finally the course will cover the ending of tensions in Asia, including Afghanistan, the Americas, Cuba, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Africa, Angola and Ethiopia and ultimately the collapse of the USSR and the resignation of Gorbachev.

Year 13 students will then need to revise the Y12 content, which will also be referred to throughout Y13.

Key Websites