Welcome to our History Department webpage!

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.

Ultimately, 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.

The History Department, The Lakes School June 2023



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.


Key Stage 3: Year 7-9

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

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

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

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


Key Stage 4: GCSE

 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.


Key Stage 5: A-level

 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.

Our History Curriculum


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.


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.



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.


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


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:

(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:

(The feature on our excavation begins at the 9m 25s mark.)


Arek Hersh MBE with some of our Year 9 pupils

The Lakes School in the heart of the lakes