Department Staff Teaching

  • Mr T Piotrowski – Lead Practitioner
  • Mrs W Barham 
  • Mr R Silvester 
  • Mr J Sladden


The History department at Queen Elizabeth’s aims to instill an enthusiasm and lifelong passion for the past for all students through the study of a variety of historical periods. In truly historic surroundings, the pupils are encouraged to think about the wider significance of events and how the past has shaped the world in which we live today. Extra-curricular clubs and school trips enrich this experience, further enabling pupils to transfer the fundamental historical skills of research, analysis and evaluation to other areas of the curriculum, whilst developing their role in society as responsible citizens, truly appreciative of their historic past.

Key Stage 3

In years seven and eight, emphasis is placed on introducing pupils to the historical skills they will need throughout their time at Queen Elizabeth’s. After establishing the use and value of history, pupils move on to study the Roman Empire and events in Britain until 1750, including such topics as the importance of King John, the Tudor Monarchs and the English Civil War. Studies of societies in other countries such as the Medieval Middle East and the French Revolution encourage pupils to draw comparisons between societies, as well as appreciating that different people experience history in different ways. During year eight, students will study the causes and effects of World War One and Two as well as undertaking an in depth study into the events of the Holocaust. In year eight pupils make their GCSE option choices; and as a department, it is very much hoped that pupils will continue their study of history in order to further develop their understanding of their place in the world.

Key Stage 4

At GCSE level, pupils build further on the skills of historical enquiry gained at key stage three. Assessment is at the end of Year 10, with an exam on each unit. The History department follows the specification from AQA.  AQA is an excellent exam board for many reasons. Its content is exhilarating. You will study:

Year 9

Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of how medicine and public health developed in Britain over a long period of time. It considers the causes, scale, nature and consequences of short and long term developments, their impact on British society and how they were related to the key features and characteristics of the periods during which they took place. Although the focus of this study is the development of medicine and public health in Britain, it will draw on wider world developments that impacted on the development on medicine, surgery and public health in Britain.

Elizabethan England, c1568–1603

This option allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last 35 years of Elizabeth I's reign. The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, such as her relationship with Mary Queen of Scots, conflict with Spain and the difficulties of being a female ruler in the 16th century.

Year 10

Conflict and tension, 1894–1918

This depth study enables students to understand the complex and competing interests of the Great Powers and other states. It focuses on the causes, nature and conclusion of the First World War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred, and why it proved difficult to bring the war to a conclusion. This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

Germany, 1890–1945: Democracy and dictatorship

This period study focuses on the development of Germany during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of democracy and dictatorship – the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism. Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in influencing change. They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

Key Stage 5

The history department staff at Queen Elizabeth’s specialise in a variety of different periods, which is reflected in the broad range of topics studied at A level, following the AQA specification. The AQA GCE (A-Level) History course comprises of three components. Components 1 and 2 make up 80% of the overall course and are assessed by written examination at the end of the Year 13. Component 3 makes up the final 20% of a student’s overall mark and is a historical investigation (coursework) where a student can choose from a range of questions that cover a period of at least 100 years.

Examined Components

Component one

Historical Themes in Breadth - The Tudors: England, 1485-1603

The course covers the reigns of Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. It gives students the opportunity to study in breadth one the most fascinating royal dynasties in English history.  The course focuses on the character and aims of each monarch as well as the religious, political, social and economic changes which took place during their reigns. Furthermore, it looks at the structure of Tudor society, how it was governed, trade and exploration as well as cultural movements like Humanism and the Renaissance.

Component two

Historical Depth Study - Revolution and Dictatorship: Russia, 1917-1953

This option provides for the study in depth of the coming and practice of communism in Russia. It explores concepts such as Marxism, communism, Leninism, and Stalinism, ideological control and dictatorship. It also enables students to consider issues of political authority, the power of individuals and the inter-relationship of governmental and economic and social change.        

Component three

Historical Investigation (Coursework Essay) - France and Revolution 1689-1789

Students also have the chance to investigate, research and write an extended essay about an aspect of the events and monarchs that caused the French Revolution. Students will use Term 6 of Year 12  to acquire the historical knowledge and skills so as to equip them for success in this unit. Students choose from a list of pre-approved questions and are then directed to key books, debates and sources as well as having the opportunity to deduce key arguments for themselves. Writing is only undertaken after considerable reading and planning is completed.            

History in years twelve and thirteen equips pupils with the skills they will utilise to study history at university level. The popularity of history at Queen Elizabeth’s is demonstrated in the high uptake numbers in Year 12, and we have many students each year who choose to pursue their study of history at university. History also trains the mind for any career but especially journalism, police work, law, the armed forces and a life in business.


The study of history is enriched at Queen Elizabeth’s through a variety of trips and cross curricular activities which take place across the key stages in order to build upon existing knowledge and encourage pupils to become more aware of their immediate surroundings in such an historic location.

In key stage three pupils take part in an Elizabethan day to understand the huge changes this society had on their local surroundings. On a more regular basis, pupils have the opportunity to attend the Horrible Histories House Club, which introduces them to the rich variety of historical studies available, including film, fashion and food.

Cross curricular trips to the World War One battlefields of Ypres and Shakespeare’s Globe allow pupils to understand the significance and importance of history within the wider curriculum. During GCSE study, pupils have the opportunity to visit the Imperial War Museum and Berlin in order to gain a more in depth understanding of the periods studied at key stage four. Trips are used to supplement learning in the classroom and are therefore viewed as extremely valuable. In years twelve and thirteen, pupils have the opportunity to visit sites associated with the Tudors and a number of conference study days in order to enrich learning.