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The Langton History department is dedicated to the provision of high quality teaching and aims to inspire students to pursue their interests in the subject beyond the classroom. The department is staffed by researching historians who bring their breadth of knowledge, expertise and passion for the subject to bear in the classroom. The students are challenged to read beyond their curriculum and to develop a high level of critical thinking; the success of this is borne out by the number of students who go on to study History at university.

The department fosters academic links with other departments to forge the ‘academic connections’ between subjects, with an emphasis on the local historical environment. This allows us to promote the historical significance of our school and its founder and the historical connections to Canterbury and of our nation. We are keen to take the study of History beyond the classroom by working with local sites, such as the Cathedral and its archives and St Augustine Abbey, to enhance our students’ understanding. This is further developed with trips to Ypres and the Somme battlefields in Year 9 and study trips to Berlin and Russia in years 11 and 12/13. The focus on the history of the local environment is also emphasised by our departmental research projects and our growing relationship with Historic England.

We currently have two projects already running and one, ‘Digital Kent Mapping Project’, which is new for 2017. The ‘The Forgotten Front: WWI Research project’ and ‘A People’s History of Kent’ have joined together to focus on local history research, aimed at students in Year 12 and 13, in order to foster and cultivate a unique culture of research within History and the Humanities and prepare them as future undergrads. The ‘Digital Kent Mapping Project’ is designed to promote the academic links between the History, Geography and English departments and is run in partnership with CCCU.

Study the past if you would define the future. (Confucius)

It is an article of faith that knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present. (K. Stampp)

History at KS3

The History Department strives to provide a rich and varied programme, which emphasises the importance of a good rounded understanding of key historical principles.  Alongside the traditional approach, focusing on Kings and Queens, we explore the roles of ordinary people in shaping the historical landscape.  In terms of a theme, to provide continuity through Key Stage 3, the department is keen to focus on power and politics by exploring and evaluating the movement from absolutism to democracy.  However, each year the boys undertake depth studies and thematic studies across time, which are guided by the particular research interests of the History staff.

The History department teaches a programme that allows boys to see History as a broad discipline; one that engages with politics, literature, art, and sociology for example.  For this reason, several of the department are also involved in teaching the History of Ideas programme from Years 7 to 11, which celebrates the significant position History holds in shaping a broader understanding of the world.

The study of History at Key Stage 3 is composed of the same “key elements” prescribed by the National Curriculum at Primary school, but at an appropriate level.  The key elements are:

Chronology: understanding the importance of the causes and consequences of events, the significance of change and continuity in History, and appreciating the different features of historical situations.

Interpretation: understanding how and why interpretations of History can differ.

Historical enquiry: using historical sources as evidence and assessing the reliability and value of such evidence in order to reach conclusions.

Organisation and communication: development of the ability to recall and select historical information, use relevant terminology and communicate one’s knowledge by the written and spoken word.

The programme of study for Key Stage 3:

Year 7: Medieval Realms; Britain 1066 – 1500 

Term 1 – Why study History? Historical skills and handling evidence

Term 2 – Who were the Normans (taking power)

Term 3 – Power Changes in the Medieval World

Term 4 – Life in the Medieval England (Social History)

Term 5 – Depth Study – Medieval warfare

Term 6 – Exam period and Thematic Study across time – Slavery across time

Year 8 – Tudor and Stuart Power and change  

Term 1 – Introduction to Early Modern Period (Tudor focus)

Term 2 – Religious Crisis in the Tudor World

Term 3 – Renaissance Reputations

Term 4 – Migrants and Mavericks

Term 5 – Depth Study – (Significance) – Speeches from Around the World

Term 6 – Exam period and Thematic Study across time – English Women’s Rights Across Time

Year 9 – The 20th century and war 

Term 1 – Origins of WWI

Term 2 – Life on the Western Front

Term 3 – Change and Consequences of War

Term 4 – The Holocaust – Why we still need to remember the Holocaust today

Term 5 – Period Study – The Story Behind 9/11 and Exam Period

Term 6 – Start of GCSE options​

History at KS4

Study the past if you would define the future (Confucius)

At the Langton, History is one of the most popular subjects at GCSE, A Level and as a choice for university. Students are impassioned and excited by the history they are taught in the upper school, which is testament to the quality of the staff, in particular their ability to prepare students for university life through the delivery of academic, challenging lessons and a rich extra-curricular programme.

Of course History is much more than an effective stepping stone to a successful career (a recent Telegraph survey placed only the options MFL and History in the top ten of graduate subjects leading to employment); it is an enthralling, engaging and edifying subject. History is dynamic too – our understanding of the past can determine both our present and future, for example, if we revise our understanding of Britain’s imperial past as something glorious then there is every chance that contemporary policy makers will attempt to emulate those former glories. Therefore, a deeper understanding of History helps us improve the world we live in, and hopefully, preventing us from replicating the mistakes of the past.

It is an article of faith that knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present. (K. Stampp)


As part of the first two units (listed directly below), the History Department offers a residential trip. Spread across five days, students visit sites such as, the Reichstag, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall, and a Cold War nuclear bunker. The trip explores Berlin in depth; many locations are off the tourist path and accessed with a guide who knows the city intimately. We have found that such trips have a deep and lasting impact on the students, not only on their ability at History but in terms of their maturity. This trip provides a rare opportunity at GCSE for travel and adventure.


This GCSE is examined in two 2 hour papers to be sat in Year 11.

Paper 1

Understanding the Modern World: 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.

Understanding the Modern World: Conflict and Tension between East and West 1945-72

The Cold War shaped the latter half of the last century and this course will introduce students to the innumerable fault lines that opened up between the East and West. This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of different states and individuals and the ideologies they represented, which is vital for the large number of historians who go on to read Politics at A Level and beyond. The course considers revolutionary movements during this time. It focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions which arose during the Cold War. This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and how they were affected by and influenced international relations.

Paper 2 

Shaping the Nation: Britain: Power and the People (c.1215 to present)

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of the development of the relationship between the citizen and the state in Britain over a long period of time. It considers the causes, scale, nature and consequences of protest to that relationship. By charting the journey from feudalism and serfdom to democracy and equality, it reveals how, in different periods, the state responds to challenges to its authority and their impact. It allows students to construct an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the citizen.

Students will have the opportunity to see how ideas, events or developments in the wider world affected the course of Britain’s political development and will promote the idea that ideas of authority, challenge and rights did not develop in isolation, but these developments should be seen in terms of how they affected Britain and British people.

This study is relevant to any students who wishes to take their study of History further and also for students considering Politics at A Level too.

Shaping the Nation: Elizabethan England c1568-1603

The new History GCSE allows us to offer the opportunity to study the early modern period. The specific depth study chosen, is a focus on the last 35 years of Elizabeth I’s reign. The study focusses on the major events of her reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising from contemporary and historical controversies. This is a dynamic component that builds a solid foundation for the A Level module on Stuart England and the English Revolution.

Thinking beyond GCSE

History GCSE is a stepping stone to further study in both History and Politics at A Level and beyond. Our students, and staff, are passionate about their subject and develop this outside, as well as inside, the classroom. GCSE students are encouraged to attend History Society talks that are organised by the Year 13 members which will enhance their classroom studies and broaden their historical perspectives. Many of our GCSE students go on to study History at A Level and even write their EPQ dissertation on a wide variety of historical topics. There are also additional research projects that are available to A Level students, run by various members of the department.

History at KS5

What use is history?

A lot of use. You have a trained mind. The capacity to abstract information rapidly and the ability to communicate in a clear and analytical way. Well, we would say that because we believe History will aid your academic development. It is a fascinating subject and perhaps and it has been identified a very useful A level and degree course.

“The successful conduct of business requires the use of skills well-known to trained Historians”

Robert Powerby of the International American Development Bank

“History is made by people. When you understand people, you can live a full life”

Charles Miller-Smith, Chairman, Imperial Chemical Industries

The general thrust of our programme is to move away from traditional, elitist histories and to explore history from the perspective of the marginalised and oppressed. With that in mind we explore two great revolutions, one bourgeois and the other proletarian, one born in Britain and the other Russia. At A level we have a broader study of the US in the 20th century through which we analyse its development in terms of women, labour and ethnic minority rights. Perhaps the most exciting element of the new course is the coursework component. Students will effectively be able to study any history that engages them, it could be Mexican political history in the early 20th century or a study of guild socialism in Iceland over a millennium ago. We are one of only 20 schools nationally that uses JSTOR (online academic journals) and this will provide a massive advantage to our historians on this particular element.

In Year 12 you will study two units as below:

Y108     Early Stuarts and the Origins of the Civil War 1603-1660

  • James I and Parliament
  • James I and religion
  • Charles I 1625-1640
  • Charles I and the victory of Parliament 1640-1646

Y249     Russia 1894-1941

  • The rule of Tsar Nicholas II
  • The 1917 Revolutions
  • The Civil War and Lenin
  • The rule of StalinIn Year 13 you will study two units as below:

Y319     Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992

  •  African Americans
  • Trade Union and Labour Rights
  • Native American Indians
  • Women
  • Civil Rights in the ‘Gilded age’ c.1875-c.1895
  • The New Deal and Civil Rights
  • Malcolm X and Black Power

Y100 Coursework

Students will be required to complete a 4000 word essay. They will have a free choice on subject matter, subject to approval, with the standard option being to pursue an aspect of the Russia course in greater depth.  Amanda Richter.“History provides you with Key Skills that will be useful in life. The analytical, research and debating skills provide a good base for university and a future career.” 

  • “Due to my ambition to have a career in Law as a practising Barrister, I continued to study History from GCSE to A level. History is a valuable subject for many careers due to the key skills learnt during the course.”

What the students think

 “Due to my ambition to have a career in Law as a practising Barrister, I continued to study History from GCSE to A level. History is a valuable subject for many careers due to the key skills learnt during the course.”

Amanda Richter.

“History provides you with Key Skills that will be useful in life. The analytical, research and debating skills provide a good base for university and a future career.”

Richard Bore.