The Grey Coat Hospital

Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls


The subject of History is delivered by a five strong team and is one of the most popular option choices for students at both GCSE and A Level.

We aim to provide as much variety of historical study as possible in order to give students a real insight into the past. Key Stage 3 History provides an overview of British history from 1066 to the Twentieth Century, as well as providing students with an understanding of a number of major events in European and international history and the history of Black people in the USA and the UK. Our GCSE course allows more in-depth studies of Weimar and Nazi Germany, International Relations during the Cold War, the reign of Elizabeth I, in addition to a study of Medicine in Britain and the trenches of the First World War. History continues to be an extremely popular choice at A Level and the variety of subject content serves to inspire students’ curiosity about the past. In Year 12, students learn about the legacy of Empire, colonialism and segregation and the building of a new democratic society in South Africa 1948-1999. They also study the history and legacy of the Wars of the Roses in England. In Year 13, students are immersed in the history of capitalism, communism, democracy, autocracy, and dictatorship by studying a century of modern Russian history from 1855 to 1964. Studying a curriculum so varied in place, time, and scope means that students gain experience of a wide variety of different human perspectives, behaviour and cultures. This encourages them to question their own views and assumptions, and promotes tolerance of other points of view. Our history curriculum educates students about more recent events, such as the Cold War, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the two world wars, revolutions in Russia, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, migration to the UK, the struggle for Civil Rights in America. This enables students to begin to understand the forces and events which have shaped the society and world they live in today. The breadth of our curriculum encourages students to think thematically and conceptually, and to make connections between different time periods and events. It is our intent that history students learn to think more carefully and more critically, and for them to understand the world they live in on a deeper level.

Key Stage 3

  • Year 7: Medieval England 1066-1485; The Renaissance; Tudor England 1485-1603
  • Year 8: Stuart England 1603-1714; Industrial Britain and the British Empire c.1750-c.1900; Migration to the UK and the struggle for Civil Rights in the USA
  • Year 9: The Twentieth Century World: Women’s Suffrage; The First World War; Nazi Germany and the Holocaust; The Second World War


Students will follow the Edexcel GCSE History course which comprises the following elements:

  • Y10 Thematic Study: Medicine in Britain c.1250 AD to the present day
  • Y10 Historic Environment: The British sector of the Western Front, 1914-18; injuries, treatment and the trenches
  • Y10 Modern Depth Study: Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39 
  • Y11 British Depth Study: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88
  • Y11 Period Study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91

The course is assessed over 3 exam papers, two of which are each worth 30% of the final grade and one which is worth 40%

A Level History

Students will follow the OCR History A course.

In Year 12, students will study TWO units:

  1. Apartheid and Reconciliation: South African Politics 1948-1999
  2. Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII 1445–1509  

In Year 13, students will study TWO units:

  1. Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964
  2. Coursework on Elizabeth I

Enrichment and Extra Curricular Activities

Enrichment activities including History Club, History Society, and the wide variety of trips and events organised by the department give students the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom and to broaden their understanding of the past. We have a thriving History Club at Lower School, which organises a wide range of projects, events and trips. In Year 7, all students take part in the re-creation of a Medieval Fair in December. Each form group is charged with the responsibility of setting up a stall that mimics a medieval market stall and the students are encouraged to dress up in medieval costume. Every summer, Year 7 students also take part in an annual trip to Hampton Court Palace to tie in with the study of the Tudors.

In Year 9, students have been to visit the Voice and Vote exhibition at the Houses of Parliament and also been on a trip to the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark. In Year 10, students have visited the Western Front exhibition at the Science Museum and the National Archives in Kew. In Year 12, students visit the National Portrait Gallery as part of their study of Elizabeth I’s reign and also the National Archives in Kew to support their study of the Wars of the Roses. Four students went to Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen last year and then gave assemblies and shared their experiences with the wider school community. When appropriate, Year 12 and 13 students are also taken to lecture days on the relevant courses studied at A Level. In 2018, a new joint Art and History trip was established for the Sixth Form to Berlin and Wittenberg. Around 40 students went on this trip and it hugely enhanced their study of the German Reformation (which we previously taught at A Level) and wider German history through going to key sites in Berlin. The Berlin trip will take place every two years so that every Sixth Former has a chance to attend. We run a trip to Florence every other year as well, starting in 2019.

In 2018, an Upper School History Society was established for KS4 and KS5 students. We have run debates, had a great range of speakers come in (including Graham Tomlin on Martin Luther and Laura Gowing on women and gender in the 17th century) and A Level students have given presentations on their particular areas of interest. GCSE and A Level students are also supported in their revision with in-house revision guides and a comprehensive schedule of revision classes.