Hellesdon High School


Welcome to the History Department at Hellesdon High School. History has always been a very popular subject and within the Humanities faculty we are a thriving department with five History specialists and additional support staff. Our staff include a Specialist Leader of Education for Norfolk’s Teaching and Leadership Excellence Centre and a Lead Practitioner. The principal aims of the department are to foster a life-long interest in the past and to develop students’ analytical skills. We strongly believe that providing students with both substantive and disciplinary historical knowledge will help them become politically and socially engaged adults and we have designed our curriculum to support our students as they navigate the challenges of our twenty-first century society

History Teachers - Education and experience

We are keen to bring academic history and scholarship into our classrooms and we work closely with the Norfolk Record Office, the Norfolk Museum Service’s Education department and UEA’s History outreach group to extend our students’ knowledge and engagement. The History teachers all mentor PGCE students from UEA’s Education faculty and we welcome the wealth of ideas and energy these trainee teachers bring to our department. Our staff are also delighted to be able to participate in research projects (such as an EU-funded international project on the use of popular history magazines in the classroom) and they take every opportunity to attend conferences, workshops and exam board webinars. We are also a Beacon School for Holocaust Studies and send students to Poland every year on the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. Our students and staff also regularly participated in UCL’s Institute of Education First World War Centenary Programme.

We are very proud of our History students and departmental staff and we hope that the information we provide here will answer your questions. Please contact the department on humanities@hellesdon.net with any additional queries.


Examination Courses

Key Stage 4 - Edexcel GCSE

The History department follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE. Over two years, students study four topics:

  • Medicine in Britain c.1250—present (including a unit on injuries and medical treatment in the British Sector of the Western Front, 1914-18)
  • Early Elizabethan England 1558-88
  • Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39.

At the end of the course, students will sit three written examinations. There is no longer a coursework requirement.

All GCSE students benefit from two specialist History teachers and we maintain high expectations of our students. The GCSE History course is challenging in terms of content and skill and we support the students with engaging lessons, a wide range of knowledge recall and retrieval activities and regular, detailed feedback on how to improve written work. As a result, we know our students’ strengths and weaknesses very well and use this knowledge to provide personalised support and guidance.

To support their learning and foster a love of History, GCSE students have an opportunity to travel to the Western Front to explore the nature of trench warfare and its impact on injuries and medical treatments. They also visit the Castle Museum where they explore changes and continuities in the cause, treatment and prevention of disease over time.

Key Stage 5 - AQA specification at A-level

The History department follows the AQA specification at A-level. Over their two-year course, students study:

  • The Tudors: England, 1485-1603.
  • Revolution and Dictatorship: Russia, 1917-1953.

They also undertake an historical investigation (Non-Examined Assessment) on the Crusades.

As members of the Historical Association, our students benefit greatly from open access to articles, podcasts and webinars by academic historians. We also invite academics to the department to share their current research on the crusades and this has been hugely beneficial in inspiring our students and challenging them to achieve the highest levels.

Sixth-Form History students have also attended the Historical Association/UEA Sixth Form Conference and have regularly been involved in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project. A-level lessons combine seminar-style student-led presentations with more traditional teacher-led instruction. Students also work in small groups and take responsibility for their own learning. As a result, they are well-prepared for the demands of university and beyond.

We have an established record of sending our sixth-form students to both Oxford and Cambridge universities in addition to the Russell Group of universities and we take pride in the fact that our students stay in touch, often years after they leave Hellesdon High School. We also welcome their desire to return and advise our current students on future pathways involving History.