The History Department at Bodmin College believes History is a unique, rigorous and valuable academic subject.

  • How can you make sense of the present unless you have a good understanding of the past?
  • How are you going to change the world if you haven’t looked at how it got in the state it’s in?
  • How will you carry on building up your own set of values without looking at how others have done so in the past?
  • How are you going to participate in the system if you don’t know how it works?

History is about real people, who face real situations.

In History you investigate people and events using the evidence that survives. You analyse the evidence, deal with contradictions and ask awkward questions. You put together clear explanations in an organised way; supporting the points you make and justifying your conclusions. History provides a meaningful context for developing valuable skills and understanding. History students are independent thinkers, open-minded, disciplined and good at problem solving.

The History teachers are enthusiastic and committed to providing valuable and enjoyable opportunities for students.

History Department Fieldtrips:

Classroom activities for all years are enriched by several opportunities to visit historical sites and museums. These change from year to year but may include: Pendennis Castle, The Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, the Tower of London and Hampton Court, London Dungeons and the American Museum and Roman Baths. We have also run a successful residential trip to Munich, which included visits to the Nuremberg rally grounds and Dachau concentration camp.

  • Miss Littlewood (Head of Department)
  • Mr Diskin
  • Miss Pearce



In KS3 the History department aims to provide students with a wide range of events from different historical periods to study. We want students to be interested and engaged with the subject and to acquire an understanding of significant events, issues and concepts. We also want students to develop the skills required to continue with History to GCSE and beyond.

(The KS3 curriculum is currently under review in the light of recent changes to GCSE and A level).

Year 7

  • How did medieval monarchs rule and what happened when they were challenged?
  • How did the relationship between monarch and parliament change in the 16th and 17th centuries?
  • Why and how did people gain more power in 19th and 20th century Britain?
  • How did African-Americans campaign for their rights?
  • Why do people live longer?
  • Was 1920s USA a boom time?

Year 8

  • How did the Industrial Revolution change people’s lives?
  • Why do conflicts begin and how do they end?
  • Did people pull together during the Second World War?
  • Why was there a Cold War?
  • Why were Jews persecuted in Germany in the 1930s and 40s?



OCR B GCSE History

Years 9, 10 and 11 follow GCSE syllabus OCR B J411.

Students sit 3 examination papers that assess their knowledge, understanding and ability to evaluate sources and interpretations.

Extended learning is set according to the college timetable.

Revision for the final examinations begins in January in Year 11 and revision books endorsed by OCR are available for students to purchase. The department also offers after school revision sessions.


By examination – you will need to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the issues you have studied
  • Explain and analyse cause and consequence, continuity and change and significance
  • Analyse, evaluate and use sources to make substantiated judgments in context
  • Analyse, evaluate and make substantiated judgments about interpretations in context

Year 9

Crime and Punishment, c.1250 to present.

How was the nature and extent of crime, the enforcement of law and order and the punishment of offenders affected by beliefs, attitudes and values, wealth and poverty, urbanisation, government, technology and communications and to what extent did crimes, punishments and law enforcement change?

The Elizabethans, 1580–1603.

  • How much power did Elizabeth have?
  • How serious was the threat from the Catholics?
  • What was daily life like in Elizabethan England?
  • Why was England known as “Merry England”?
  • What was the significance of England’s connections with the wider world?

Year 10

Living under Nazi Rule, 1933–1945.

  • How did Hitler establish his dictatorship?
  • How did the Nazis maintain control and deal with opposition?
  • How did people’s lives change?
  • What impact did war have?
  • How were countries affected by Nazi wartime occupation?

History Around Us.

  • Investigation of a local historic site: Pendennis Castle

Year 11

Viking Expansion, c.750-c.1050.

  • What was life like in the Viking homelands in Scandinavia?
  • How did Vikings interact with Russia, the Arab world, Constantinople and the Byzantine empire?
  • What impact did Vikings have as raiders and invaders in the west?
  • What was the impact of Viking settlers in the British Isles, France, Iceland, Greenland and North America?
  • What was the significance of Viking Kings including Harald Bluetooth, Jelling, Svein Forkbeard and Cnut?

Revision (from January).



OCR A Level History

The course is about 16th, 19th and 20th century British, American and European history. Through understanding of the past students will develop a deeper understanding of social, political and economic issues and understand today’s world by understanding the past. They will explore different historical interpretations and take part in discussion, research, role-play, seminar papers, debate and appropriate visits. Students become part of a well organised, skilful, supportive and happy department.


England 1485-1547, the Early Tudors

Three questions in a 1 hour 30 minute examination. Use four short sources to assess how far they support a view and then choose an essay. (25%)

The USA in the 19th Century: Westward expansion and Civil War 1803-c.1890

One question requiring a comparison of two factors and one essay. There is a choice of question. This is a 1 hour examination. (15%)

Russia and its Rulers, 1855-1964

One question evaluating how convincing two interpretations are and then choose two essays in a 2 hour 30 minute examination. (40%)


Students frame their own question for historical enquiry and investigate it. They write a 3000—4000 word independently researched essay, (20%). The coursework has to evaluate a range of sources and interpretations.

Year 12

England 1485-1547, the Early Tudors

This considers all aspects of the governments of Henry VII and Henry VIII: pretenders to the throne, foreign policy, reform, opposition and change. Part of this unit is a related enquiry topic Mid Tudor Crises 1547-1558. This is about instability during the reigns of Edward VI and Mary: the persecution, rebellion and unrest that emerged from their reforms.

The USA in the 19th Century: Westward expansion and Civil War 1803-c.1890

This unit considers the causes and impacts of Westward expansion, the plight of Native Americans, the increased tension between northern and southern states, secession, the Civil War and its consequences.

Year 13

Russia and its Rulers, 1855-1964

This unit focuses on the nature of Russian government and its impact on the Russian people and society. Students find out about the similarities and differences between the autocratic rule of the last three tsars and the subsequent Communist dictatorships of Lenin, Stain and Khrushchev


This is a free choice and is an opportunity for students to indulge their particular interest in an issue, period or personality.

Previously students have asked and answered questions such as:

  • To what extent was Mao’s Cultural Revolution a popular revolution?
  • How successful was the restoration of the Pope and Roman Catholicism in England 1553-1558?
  • Assess the reasons for the collapse of France in 1940.
  • To what extent was the Vietnam War lost because of the hostility of much of the American media?
  • Assess the view that the Vikings were interested in Ireland for settlement.
  • To what extent was the end of the Constitutional Monarchy largely the fault of Louis XVI himself?