Key Stage 3 History

Key Stage 3 History

Key Stage 3 History


What is Key Stage 3 History and what has to be taught? This curriculum is for English schools and international schools abroad that wish to follow the English system. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have autonomy on educational matters. Key Stage 3 is for the first years of secondary school, Years 7, 8 & 9 (the 11-14 age range). Middle schools, where they still exist, also teach Key Stage 3 in addition to Key Stage 2.









Key Stage 3 History


So what does the curriculum say? It says that pupils should extend and deepen their chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history. This must be in enough depth so that it provides a well-informed context for wider learning. Pupils should identify significant events, make connections, draw contrasts, and analyse trends within epochs over a long period of time. They should use historical terms and concepts in increasingly sophisticated ways. They should pursue historically valid enquiries including some they have framed themselves. That means that they should ask their own questions in some cases. Then they should create relevant and structured accounts in response, supported by evidence. They should understand how different types of historical sources are used to make historical claims. Following this they need to recognize how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.


What Pupils should learn


The aim is to give good knowledge from 1066 until the present, with provision to study an additional earlier period. There are seven separate items to be studied, but the exact content of study is left fairly open. This gives enough flexibility for teachers to create and express, but also for students to learn independently. Only the numbered headings are compulsory. The examples are suggestions of possible content and are not compulsory.

  1. The development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509

Examples (non-statutory)

This could include:

  • the Norman Conquest
  • Christendom, the importance of religion and the Crusades
  • the struggle between Church and crown
  • Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament
  • the English campaigns to conquer Wales and Scotland up to 1314
  • society, economy, culture, e.g. feudalism, religion in daily life (parishes, monasteries), farming, trade and towns, art, architecture and literature
  • the Black Death and its social and economic impact
  • the Peasants’ Revolt
  • the Hundred Years War
  • the Wars of the Roses; Henry VII and attempts to restore stability


  1. The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745

Examples (non-statutory)

This could include:

  • Renaissance and Reformation in Europe
  • the English Reformation and Counter-Reformation (Henry VIII to Mary I)
  • the Elizabethan religious settlement and conflict with Catholics (including Scotland, Spain and Ireland)
  • the first colony in America and first contact with India
  • the causes and events of the civil wars throughout Britain
  • the Interregnum (including Cromwell in Ireland)
  • the Restoration, ‘Glorious Revolution’ and power of Parliament
  • the Act of Union of 1707, the Hanoverian succession and the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745
  • society, economy and culture: e.g. work and leisure, religion and superstition, theatre, art, music and literature


  1. Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901

Examples (non-statutory)

  • the Enlightenment in Europe and Britain, with links to 17th-century thinkers and scientists; the founding of the Royal Society
  • Britain’s transatlantic slave trade: its effects and its eventual abolition
  • the Seven Years War and The American War of Independence
  • the French Revolutionary wars
  • Britain as the first industrial nation – the impact on society
  • party politics, extension of the franchise and social reform
  • the development of the British Empire with a depth study (for example, of India)
  • Ireland and Home Rule
  • Darwin’s ‘On The Origin of Species’


  1. Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

In addition to studying the Holocaust, this could include:

Examples (non-statutory)

  • women’s suffrage
  • the First World War and the Peace Settlement
  • the inter-war years: the Great Depression and the rise of dictators
  • the Second World War and the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill
  • the creation of the welfare state
  • Indian independence and end of Empire
  • social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society
  • Britain’s place in the world since 1945


  1. A local history study

Examples (non-statutory)

  • a depth study linked to one of the British areas of study listed above
  • a study over time, testing how far sites in their locality reflect aspects of national history
  • a study of an aspect or site in local history dating from a period before 1066
  • for international schools, a local study relevant to them


  1. The study of an aspect/theme in British history that consolidates and extends pupils’ chronological knowledge from before 1066

Examples (non-statutory)

  • the changing nature of political power, traced through selective case studies from the Iron Age to the present
  • Britain’s changing landscape from the Iron Age to the present
  • a study of an aspect of social history. For example, the impact through time of the migration of people to, from and within the British Isles
  • a study in depth into a significant turning point, for example, the Neolithic Revolution


  1. A study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments

Examples (non-statutory)

  • Mughal India 1526-1857
  • China’s Qing dynasty 1644-1911
  • Changing Russian empires c.1800-1989
  • USA in the 20th century


For more details, Visit the official government National Curriculum website

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