History is a vibrant department at Loreto and we believe that the study of history helps stimulate students’ curiosity about the way people lived in the past, both in Britain and the wider world. By engaging in the past, students develop their understanding of:

  • The characteristic features and diversity of British society and of a range of societies; political structures,
  • Cultures and beliefs that influenced the actions of people in the past.

Key Stage 3

Pupils will study the features and changes that took place in Britain and the wider world over the past millennium. They will develop and extend their skills in explaining and assessing causation, understanding the significance of events, judging the relative merits of differing historical interpretations and using historical evidence.

In Y7, pupils are expected to spend about half an hour per week on their homework, rising to about 45 minutes by the end of Year 9. To further support their learning, pupils carry out History Trails to St Albans Cathedral to complement their studies on the effects of the Black Death and the Reformation in England under Henry VIII.

Useful websites for KS3 include:

BBC History KS3
BBC Schools History

Key Stage 4

Pupils are working towards the new GCSE in History – AQA Syllabus B (8145). This contains two units:

  • Unit 1: Understanding the Modern World
  • Unit 2: Shaping the Nation (British History)

Pupils need to spend approximately one and a half hours on homework during this course. They are also encouraged to attend a revision session held at the school with an external examiner.

GCSE Exam board materials

Useful websites for KS4:

www.johndclare.net (very useful for revision)
School History
National Archive

A Level History

Our Y12 and Y13 students are following AQA specification 7042, which contains the three components detailed below. At the end of Year 13 they will sit A-level exams on Components 1 and 2.

Component 3 is a Non-Exam Assessment, to be undertaken and completed during Y12 and 13.


British History Breadth Study: Stuart Britain and the Crisis of Monarchy, 1603-1702

Part One: Absolutism Challenged: Britain 1603-1649

  • Monarchs and Parliaments, 1603-1629
  • Revolution, 1629-1649

Part Two: Monarchy restored and restrained: Britain 1649-1702

  • From Republic to Restored and Limited Monarchy, 1649-1678
  • The Establishment of Constitutional Monarchy, 1678-1702


European History Depth Study: The Reformation in Europe, c1500-1564

Part One: The Origins of the Reformation, c1500-1517

  • The condition of the Church, c1500-1517
  • The Challenge of Luther, 1517-1521
  • The Protestant Challenge, 1521-1531

Part Two: Reformation Europe, 1531-1564

  • The expansion of the Reformation, 1531-1541
  • The second wave of Protestant reform, 1541-1564
  • The Catholic Reformation, 1531-1564


Historical Investigation (Coursework: 3,000-3,500 words): A European Society in Change

  • The “Golden Age” of Spain, 1474-1598
  • The Kingdoms of Spain in 1474: why was Spain such a divided nation?
  • The role of Ferdinand and Isabella: the creation of a “New Monarchy”
  • To what extent did 1492 mark a key turning point for Spain?
  • Why did the Habsburg accession in 1516 both make Spain the greatest power in Europe and lead to long-term disaster?
  • To what extent did Spain’s “Golden Age” reach its height under Philip II?
  • Philip II’s aims: “universal monarchy” or crisis management?
  • Was Spain already in decline by the time of Philip’s death in 1598?

Useful website for Y12 and Y13 students:

AQA Exam board materials
www.earlymodernweb.org (useful for understanding wider themes about the Early Modern period, 1500-1800)

History & Careers@Loreto

Want to find out more about History work skills, then check out this infographic poster, which can also be found on the Maths corridor.