Welcome to the History Department at The Lakes School!

We are a passionate, dedicated and experienced team of History enthusiasts who are utterly committed to delivering what we believe to be the very best History curriculum anywhere in the area.

Please take a moment to see what we have to offer. If you have any questions about any aspect of what’s on this subject page, or anything else to do with the History Department, please contact the school office and we’ll be happy to answer. Enjoy!

Lakes School GCSE students enjoy their visit to the Empire State Building, New York, Feb 2020

Lakes School A-level History students enjoy meeting TV historian Dan Jones, October 2019

A dedicated staff team

Mr Pickering studied History and Archaeology at the University of Exeter, graduating with a 2.1 in 1995. After a brief stint in the Civil Service, he decided to indulge his passion for the past and train to be History teacher, qualifying in 1999. In his time, he has taught all sorts of forms and periods of History to pupils of all sorts of backgrounds and abilities right across the country, has had several articles published in History Matters, appeared on BBC television and Radio 4 and even delivered INSET training to fellow teachers at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Miss Fisher studied History with Heritage at Bath Spa University, graduating with a 2.1 in 2012. She then continued her studies at the University of York, gaining an MA in Cultural Heritage Management in 2013. Following a fascinating career in museums, she decided to follow her love of sharing history with a variety of audiences and train to be a History teacher, qualifying in 2018. Whilst teaching is her main passion, she remains an active member of the heritage community, most recently taking part in archaeological excavations along Hadrian’s Wall.

Both are utterly dedicated to delivering interesting, engaging and relevant lessons so that all pupils willingly embrace the learning experience provided. History teachers have a powerful responsibility to help develop informed and active citizens and The Lakes School History Department takes this responsibility most seriously.

An exciting range of trips

In Year 7, pupils are taken to visit Brougham Castle near Penrith. Founded in the early 12th century, its remarkable state of preservation and clear phases of development make it a fascinating and rewarding destination for Year 7 pupils during their study of ‘Medieval England 1066 to 1485’.


In Year 8, pupils are taken to Quarry Bank Mill near Wimslow in Cheshire. Built in 1784, the mill is one of the best preserved textile mills in the entire country and therefore gives Year 8 pupils a unique and wonderful insight into the workings of, and conditions in, the very factories that they study as part of their ‘Industrial Britain 1750-1900’ topic.


In Year 9, pupils are taken to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester. Opened in 2002, this remarkable facility, one of five IWM sites around the country, offers students an invaluable opportunity to see for themselves how Britons’ lives were affected by the great, international conflicts that they study as part of their ‘Modern World 1900-90’ topic.


Year 10 and 11 History GCSE students are offered the opportunity to visit New York, USA. During their time in the ‘Big Apple’, they enrich their understanding of their ‘The USA 1920-73’ unit by visiting the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Wall Street, Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, the Rockefeller Centre, Fifth Avenue, Radio City, Central Park and Harlem to meet with a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement. They also touch upon their study of the Korean War in their ‘Conflict in Asia 1950-75’ unit by dropping by the United Nations Headquarters.


In Years 12 and 13, students are taken to the annual BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend in Chester. After passing the day touring the Medieval sites in the city centre, the evening is spent with some of the most famous historians in the country. This chance to ask your most burning questions and secure those much-coveted autographs is not to be missed!



An innovative approach to homework

Here at The Lakes School History Department, we take an exciting and unusual approach to homework: we let students choose which tasks they’d like to complete!


Well, study after study has shown that, when pupils are given a choice of tasks for homework, they engage with it more willingly and pursue it to a higher standard. It also gives us the opportunity to push students’ learning experience in wholly new directions: pupils are now free to record podcasts, film documentaries, make models, draw diagrams, visit local historical sites and more!

And on top of these benefits is the simple but important that fact that our Homework Grids grant us the opportunity to broaden pupils’ historical learning even further, giving them the chance to explore unusual, important and fascinating topics well beyond the scope of those that pupils normally encounter in their lessons. 

Below is one of our Homework Grids from Year 7. Which tasks which you choose?

A unique link to our past

You may have seen the BBC drama ‘The Windermere Children’ on BBC2 early in 2020. Well, that moving tale brought to life the unique story of what happened on our school site in 1945. Over 300 Jewish child-refugees from the recently liberated Nazi death camps of Eastern Europe were brought to what was then the Calgarth Estate here at Troutbeck Bridge. For six months, they slowly rebuilt their lives here, where our school now stands, before being resettled around the UK. At The Lakes School, we are immensely proud of our association with this incredible story and do our utmost to ensure that it remains at the forefront of our school community’s consciousness.

Arek Hersh’s visits: Every year, we are utterly blessed to receive a visit from one of the few remaining Windermere Boys, Arek Hersh MBE. Arek comes to speak to our Year 9 pupils and to answer any questions they may have about his experiences of the Holocaust. His talks never fail to capture our pupils’ imaginations and, for many, remain a personal highlight of their time at The Lakes School.

Our Button Project: Inspired by one of Arek’s visits, one of our past Year 9 pupils came up with the idea of collecting buttons to commemorate the lives lost during the Holocaust. As news of the appeal spread, over six million flooded in from as far afield as South Africa, New Zealand and the USA and BBC Radio 4 came to speak to our pupils about the project: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000c0bm (The feature on our Button Project begins at the 9m 14s mark).

Ongoing excavations: So unique and important is the story of what happened on our school site that we are currently working with the internationally-renowned Holocaust archaeologists Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls and Associate Professor Kevin Colls. BBC Four’s ‘Digging for Britain’ filmed the first dig: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000c5yk/digging-for-britain-series-8-4-wwii-special (The feature on our excavation begins at the 9m 25s mark).

Pick any two schools at random and their Key Stage 3 History curricula are likely to be very similar. A broad, chronological sweep through British and international history from 1066 to the 1990s tends to be what the vast majority of History Departments aspire to deliver and it’s the same here at The Lakes School. However, we also make sure to deviate from the well-trodden path as often as we can and that’s another reason why we’re so proud of our provision.

The curriculum reflects the ambition that teachers now have for all pupils.

Ofsted 2019

Year 7

Medieval (1042-1485) and Tudor (1485-1603) Britain:

Alongside the traditional study of the Norman Conquest, medieval life and religion, the break from Rome and Elizabeth I’s ‘Golden Age’, Lakes School pupils also explore topics such as of the life of Edward the Confessor, the motives of the First Crusaders and even Elizabeth I’s attempted colonisation of North America.

Year 8

Stuart (1603-1714) and Industrial (c.1750-1900) Britain:

Accompanying the standard investigations of the English Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and the growth of the British Empire are in-depth looks at topics such as the evolution of the East India Company, the Peterloo Massacre and even the English settlement of Australia and New Zealand.

Year 9

The Modern World (1900-90):

As well as the expected explorations of the First World War, Nazi Germany, Second World War and Cold War, Lakes School pupils are also given the chance to learn about such topics as the Moroccan Crises, Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, the founding of the United Nations and even the significance of Mikhail Gorbachev.

PLEASE NOTE: Lakes School pupils’ learning opportunities are widened even further through our innovative Homework Grid system where topics as varied as Alfred the Great, the Renaissance, the Mayflower, Galileo, the Enlightenment, Napoleon, the Wright Brothers, Gandhi, the Moon Landing, the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the Chernobyl Disaster and more are all to be found! For more details, please see our Homework page.

An uncommon GCSE curriculum

If, when the time came, you chose to study History at GCSE level, you’d pursue four of the more unusual Units on offer. In our opinion, too many schools choose to retread paths at GCSE that have already been taken in Year 9. We don’t do that here at The Lakes School. Why study Nazi Germany all over again when you can study something fresh and new and interesting and extend your skills and understanding in new directions?

The well-planned curriculum has led to improvement in pupils’ achievement.

Ofsted 2019

Lakes School History GCSE students with Civil Rights veteran Mark Levy, New York, Feb 2020

PAPER 1 SECTION A: America, 1920–1973

This period study focuses on the development of the USA during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of both opportunity and inequality when some Americans lived the ‘American Dream’ whilst others grappled with the nightmare of poverty, discrimination and prejudice.

PAPER 1 SECTION B: Conflict and Tension in Asia, 1950–1975

This wider world depth study focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War in Asia and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions which arose. The two main foci are the Korean War (1950-53) and the Vietnam War (1959-75).

PAPER 2 SECTION A: Power and the People, c1170 to the Present Day

This thematic study enables you to gain an understanding of the history of protest and rebellion over time and the associated development of our democratic rights and institutions. The Unit explores event after event in depth, seeking to spot common themes across the centuries.

PAPER 2 SECTION B: Norman England, c1066–c1100

This focusses on the major aspects of the Normans’ conquest of England and their rule over it in the subsequent decades. It offers a wonderful opportunity to study not only a key turning point in our nation’s history but to re-visit the very first topic you studied when you first arrived in Year 7!

A radically different A-Level curriculum

A 2013 survey by Cambridge University found that 50% of the top ten most popular A-level History courses in the UK focussed on just two people, Henry VIII and Hitler, and that the single most popular topic in the entire country was the Russian Revolution. That is why we don’t teach those courses here at The Lakes School. We want you to stand out from the crowd. Instead, we seek to stimulate your sense of intrigue and discovery and develop your skills of enquiry and debate by pursuing two more unusual and yet highly respected topic areas.

In the Sixth Form, students have also benefitted from the improvements in the curriculum.

Ofsted 2019

UNIT 1: The Age of the Crusades, 1071-1204

In this topic area, you would study the repeated attempts by Christian Europe to take back the Holy Land from Islamic hands. By investigating the causes and events and outcomes of the first four Crusades, and historians’ interpretations of them, you would gain an uncommonly robust understanding of this seminal period in the history of Europe and the Middle East and a valuable perspective on global events today.

UNIT 2: The Wars of the Roses, 1450-99

In this topic area, you would study the challenges faced by those in power during one of the most convulsive periods our nation has ever undergone. By investigating key players’ motivations, actions and impact through first-hand contemporary accounts, you would gain an incredible insight into the social, political and religious forces at work as our country emerged painfully from the Medieval period and into the Early Modern era.

UNIT 3: Historical Investigation on a chosen pre-1485 topic

For your coursework, which you would research, plan and write up independently over the two year course, you would be free to choose from a varied list of questions. All relate to the Ancient and Medieval periods only. Topics range from Alexander the Great, the triumph of Athens and the fall of the Roman Republic up to Alfred the Great, the Vikings, the Norman Conquest, King John and Henry V.

Lakes School A-level students enjoy meeting Tom Asbridge, author of their recommended text ‘The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land’, Oct 2017

Lakes School A-level students enjoy meeting Helen Castor, author of ‘She-Wolves: The Women who Ruled England Before Elizabeth’, Oct 2017

Finally, the History Department is immensely proud of all its students but especially so of one particular member of the 2020 cohort who was successful in his application to St John’s College, Oxford, to read Archaeology and Anthropology.

Well done!!

Curriculum Vision: Introduction

This Curriculum Vision has been drafted in light of the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and therefore is largely constructed around the newly identified foci of Intent, Implementation and Impact.

Nevertheless, a few points are worth making at the outset. It is the absolute belief of all members of staff in The Lakes School History Department that our subject is, perhaps, the most important of all, without which pupils can have no serious understanding of their place in their community, within their nation or on the international stage. It is therefore incumbent upon the History staff to ensure that our lessons are interesting, engaging and relevant and that they are delivered with passion and dedication so that all pupils willingly embrace the learning experience provided. We have a powerful responsibility as History teachers to help develop informed and active citizens and we take this responsibility most seriously.

In fact, so committed are we to the development and provision of a newly-robust and high-quality Key Stage 3 Curriculum, that we have taken the time and effort to completely overhaul our established provision not only in light of the new EIF but also with reference to the latest pedagogical research and advice from professional institutions such as The Historical Association. We have also taken care to ensure that it acts as both an introduction and a support to further, optional study at both Key Stages 4 and 5 and that the later GCSE and A-level topics on offer here at The Lakes School do not simply retread well-worn paths but instead complement and extend our pupils’ learning and understanding by broadening and deepening their studies in brand new areas.

In conclusion, it is hoped that the Curriculum laid out here will provide a pathway right across potentially seven years’ worth of historical study which the young people of The Lakes School will both enjoy and value and which is successful in helping them to grown into socially, politically and culturally aware young adults keen to contribute actively and effectively to the society in which they live.

History Department

The Lakes School

September 2019

Curriculum Vision: Intent

Ofsted EIF: “leaders … construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners … the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life … (It) is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.”

The Lakes School History Curriculum (Years 7-13) meets these criteria in a number of ways. It sets out to make full use of the generous amount of teaching time the Department is granted at Key Stage 3 and in Years 8 and 9 specifically. It is intended to explore the political and social development of our kingdoms in some substantial depth and to tackle key concepts of particular relevance in our current climate. The development of our constitution and the gradual accretion of our rights over the centuries are two clear foci. Alongside these, Britain’s place on the international stage is explored repeatedly across all three years and the experiences of different parts of the world and the histories of different cultures are also promoted. At Key Stages 4 and 5, new and relevant topics are pursued where possible and any revisiting of prior topics is consciously intended to complement and extend, rather than repeat, earlier studies.

Year 7: Medieval Britain 1042-1485; Tudor Britain 1485-1603

Themes: royal authority, parliament, popular rights, centrality of faith, global context: colonisation

Links back: –

Links forward: Year 8 (royal authority), GCSE (Normans), GCSE (Power: Magna Carta, Peasants’ Revolt)

Year 8: Stuart Britain 1603-1714; Industrial Britain c.1700-1900; Imperial Britain c. 1700-1900

Themes: development of constitution, creation of UK, democracy, global context: trade, slavery, empire

Links back: Year 7 (royal authority, colonisation)

Links forward: Year 9 (empire), GCSE (Power: Civil War, Reformers, Chartists)

Year 9: World War I c.1900-18; Inter-war Years 1918-39; World War II 1939-45; Cold War 1945-91

Themes: systems of government, global context: war, empire, diplomacy

Links back: Year 7 (popular rights), Year 8 (empire)

Links forward: GCSE (Conflict in Asia: Cold War), GCSE (Power: Women’s Suffrage)

GCSE: USA 1920-73; Conflict in Asia 1950-75; Power & the People 1170-Present; Normans 1066-1100

USA 1920-73: chosen so as not to repeat prior learning on Germany or Russia (see Year 9) and instead to raise pupils’ geographical and political awareness of Britain’s key ally, the most powerful nation on Earth.

Conflict in Asia 1950-75: chosen so as not to repeat prior learning on World War I, the inter-wars years, World War II or the Cold War (see Year 9) and instead to raise pupils’ geographical and political awareness of an increasingly relevant part of the world.

Power & the People 1170-Present: chosen due to the valuable opportunity it provides to revisit, consolidate and embed the constitutional history that is such a focus of Key Stage 3 and so vital to the development of an informed and active citizenry.

Normans 1066-1100: chosen due to the valuable opportunity it provides to revisit, consolidate and embed the first topic studied in Year 7, thereby emphasising the scale of the learning journey that has occurred, and to link forward to the medieval religiosity and papal ambition of the A-level’s Age of the Crusades unit.

A-level: The Age of the Crusades 1071-1204; The Wars of the Roses 1450-99

The Age of the Crusades 1071-1204: chosen so as to provide students with a rare and yet increasingly relevant understanding of the most contentious interactions between the Christian West and Islam.

The Wars of the Roses 1450-99: chosen so as to provide students with a rare and fascinating glimpse into the end of the medieval era, the birth of Early Modern Britain and the emergence of our most famous dynasty.

Curriculum Vision: Implementation

Ofsted EIF: “teachers present subject matter clearly, promoting appropriate discussion … (Over) the course of study, teaching is designed to help learners to remember in the long term the content they have been taught … (Teachers) use assessment well, for example to help learners embed and use knowledge fluently … The resources and materials … reflect the provider’s ambitious intentions for the course of study”

The Lakes School History Curriculum (Years 7-13) meets these criteria in a number of ways. Teaching staff employ a wide range of techniques and a broad spectrum of resources to deliver engaging and yet challenging learning experiences that facilitate rapid pupil progress. Lesson enquiries across all years are consciously structured so as to necessitate deep thinking and encourage extended written responses. Feedback, both verbal during lessons and written in exercise books, is focussed both on the commendation of achievement and practical guidance on improvement. In order both to lessen the burden of formal assessment on staff and improve pupils’ ability to absorb and recall an extended body of knowledge, assessments have been completely overhauled. They are now much briefer and yet more frequent and now include numerous short questions promoting and improving factual recall.

It is hoped by all members of staff in the History Department that this newly overhauled approach to all three Key Stages will result in the young people at The Lakes School being inspired to engage passionately with their historical studies, being challenged to raise their expectations of themselves and feeling empowered to contribute knowledgably and constructively to their community.

Curriculum Vision: Impact

Ofsted EIF: “learners develop detailed knowledge and skills … and, as a result, achieve well. Where relevant, this is reflected in results … that meet government expectations … (Learners) are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. Where relevant, they gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests, aspirations and the intention of their course of study.”

The Lakes School History Curriculum (Years 7-13) meets these criteria in a number of ways. At Key Stage 3, through both the content covered and the methodology used, pupils accrue the key knowledge and skills that will prepare them for progression onto GCSE study. Their progress is monitored through the frequent assessments detailed above. Due to the quality of provision, the great majority of pupils perform in line with their targets and yet, where underachievement is identified, it is tackled early with a range of intervention techniques. At Key Stage 4, pupils once more develop rapidly the necessary knowledge base and skills for examination through repeated knowledge tests and timed, written practice right from the start of the course. Again, progress is monitored through effective marking and data analysis and underachievement is tackled swiftly. As a result, the majority of pupils meet their targets. At Key Stage 5, as is to be expected, pupils take a greater degree of responsibility for their learning but are required to read substantial academic texts in their own time on a regular basis. Underachievement, on the rare occasion it occurs, is again tackled immediately. As a consequence, all History A-level students are successful in moving on to their desired next destination.

It is hoped by all members of staff in the History Department that the high expectations and quality of support across all three Key Stages will result in the young people at The Lakes School being inspired to aim as high as they can, being challenged to take greater responsibility for their learning and feeling empowered to progress onto the next stage in their learning or working lives with confidence.