Our aim is that all students leave Sir Jonathan North as good historians

Curriculum rationale

Our aim is that all students leave Sir Jonathan North as good historians. We believe that skills, knowledge and understanding that makes a good historian will help to develop good people. Students studying history will develop a love for the past and understand their place in the world, how and why the world and society has changed and the diverse experiences of people in the past. By doing this, students will develop tolerance and establish a world view that will provide a foundation, not just for their historical study, but for their wider lives.

Our vision is to connect history to young people’s lives and make our subject meaningful for all learners by providing a history curriculum that:

  • Encourages young people to become curious about the past
  • Allows them to develop their own opinions and values
  • Instils a respect for evidence
  • Builds a deeper understanding of the present by engaging with and questioning the past.

In history we want to create good historians who have a deep-seated love of learning by:

  • developing students understanding of British and Global History that is diverse and inclusive
  • inspiring student’s intellectual curiosity by understanding the creation of Britain as part of a global tapestry
  • considering history from multiple perspectives to allow them to develop tolerance and mutual understanding
  • developing creative and analytical thinkers with a skill set to question authority
  • developing students who can weigh evidence, sift and structure arguments, and write logically valid essays.

Our curriculum is designed to equip students to ask perceptive questions about the world and think critically. Students will be able to understand how the world has changed and empower them to continue development in the future and become resourceful and responsible citizens.

Curriculum Design

Our curriculum is structured to develop mastery over successive units and years.

  • It is structured chronologically so that students gain a coherent understanding of how the world has changed over time.
  • Units build up skills and knowledge of substantive and threshold concepts over time that are developed and revisited each year.
  • We use a combination of depth and breadth studies to ensure that students understand the big picture of the past but also the nuances and complexities that come from a depth study.
  • Enquiry questions have a clear focus on a threshold concept or substantive concept such as Revolution, Empire, Cause and consequence, etc. By structuring lessons as enquiries focused on core concepts it will allow concepts to be revisited in successive topics and develop their understanding of substantive concepts.


Our curriculum is sequenced to ensure that core knowledge and important concepts are embedded incrementally over time. Knowledge of substantive concepts such as empire, revolution, government, and freedom are developed through the use of concrete examples in each year and key stage.

Key performance indicators are used to assess the progress that students are making in history across units, years and key stages. These are grouped into four strands: knowledge, evidence, concepts and communication. Each year has benchmarks to show their development and progression in these core skills and foundational knowledge.

History GCSE year curriculum plan


Year 10

Year 11

Autumn Term

Health and the People

Life in Nazi Germany

Spring Term

Norman Conquest

Making of America

Summer Term

History Around Us: Nottingham Castle


Curriculum Assessment

Subject-specific assessment statements correlate with the core concepts, knowledge and key skills within history, allowing the students to understand their development and take ownership of their own progress and development.

In KS4 students have an exam practice question after every topic (on average every 3 weeks) and a summative assessment at the end of each unit (about every term). These help to develop students’ ability to write essays and help teachers to assess if students have understood the content.

Students receive feedback in a variety of formats. This involves whole class feedback, individual targets. Student work is marked using a combination of peer and teacher feedback. Peer assessment is used to help students understand what is required to write a good answer and the mark scheme and to engage in metacognition to think about their own answers.

Extra-curricular opportunities

Students are encouraged to take part in the annual essay writing competitions by the Historical Association and School History Project. This year we are working with Historic England and Holocaust Education Trust to find ways in which students can have the opportunity to engage in local history and research outside of the classroom. This includes visiting local archives and historical sites. In addition students who take GCSE history will have the opportunity to visit Nottingham Castle as part of the local site study.