Sir Graham Balfour School

A member of the Sir Graham Balfour Multi-Academy Trust


If you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.

Michael Critchon

Subject overview

Our Curriculum at Sir Graham Balfour has been created with the intention of instilling a lifelong passion for History in our students. We aim to nurture historical skills in our students such as analysis, interpretation, significance, change and continuity and cause and consequence supporting our young people in exploring British, European and International History as well as giving context to the world they live in. The appealing nature of History is that is allows us to facilitate the inquisitiveness of our young people by exploring some of the most significant events of our past. We strive to support student’s investigations of political intrigue, social upheaval and religious revolution and form their own opinions supported by focused factual knowledge, developed understanding and coherent and analytical arguments. Our curriculum holds these principles at its core regardless of key stage, we have high expectations of our young people and in return we deliver lessons that encourage young people to think, discuss and write like an historian and take these attributes in other subject areas.


Students follow the Pearson Edexcel Advanced GCE course studying 4 distinct modules over the 2 year course. We fully believe this qualification builds upon the skills developed by students at GCSE, adds significant challenge and provides students with a well-regarded qualification for their future careers. They are able to explore a range of historical topics from the European witch craze, the rise and fall of the Stuart era and Russia in Revolution, refining their source analysis skills and developing their analytical arguments

The modules which students follow are:

  • Unit 1 – Revolutions in early modern and modern Europe: Britain, 1625–1701: conflict, revolution and settlement.
  • Unit 2 – Revolutions in early modern and modern Europe: Russia in revolution, 1894–1924.
  • Unit 3 – The witch craze in Britain, Europe and North America, c1580–c1750.
  • Unit 4 – Historical Enquiry: The nature and topic of the enquiry question is open to negotiation with the student allowing for personalisation of this module. All we will ask of students is that they generate a suitable complex and interesting question where the key focus has generated disagreement between historians.

Units 1 & 3 are both worth 30% of the final GCE qualification assessed at the end of the two-year qualification.

Unit 2 & 4 are both worth 20% of the final GCE qualification assessed at the end of the two year qualification.


Students follow the Edexcel GCSE (9-10) course that is made up of 4 main elements that are divided across three examined units at the end of the course:

Paper 1 - is made up of a breadth study exploring Crime and Punishment from C1000 – to the present day and a depth study on Whitechapel c1870-1900. Students will explore: the concepts of Crime, Law enforcement and Punishment and with a focus on change and continuity across the time period. Case studies will exemplify this content focussing on trial by ordeal, the Gunpowder plot, the Witch Finder General, Conscientious objectors and the end of the death penalty in Britain.  Finally, they will study the problems of Policing in Whitechapel in London and the infamous case of Jack the Ripper.

Paper 2 – is made up of two distinct areas of study a British depth study focused on Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, 1060-1088 and a period study focused on The American West, 1835 – 1895. The depth study explores areas such as: Anglo Saxon Society, the Battle of Hastings, development of Castles and the Normanisation of England. With the period study students will explore topics such as, the Plains Indians and their way of life, migration and settlement, lawlessness and the development of the cattle industry.

Paper 3 – is a modern depth study on Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918 – 1939. With this paper student’s will explore some of the following: creation of the Weimar government, impact of the Treaty of Versailles, ‘Golden years’ of the Weimar, creation of the Nazi party, Hitler rise to power, creation of a dictatorship and life in Nazi controlled Germany.  

Year 9

  • The Treaty of Versailles and its impact on Germany.
  • The Causes of World War II.
  • The formation and early years of the Weimar Republic.
  • The rise of right wing politics in Germany and the growth of Nazism.
  • Life in Nazi Germany

Year 8

  • Victorian Britain and the improvements to Public Health.
  • The population explosion and the Industrial Revolution.
  • 20th Century overview – a century of monumental change.
  • The Titanic investigation.
  • Causes of World War I
  • Life in the Trenches a First World War study.

Year 7

  • The importance of religion and the Middle Ages.
  • Henry VIII – and the break with Rome.
  • The religious rollercoaster of the Tudor era.
  • The causes of the English Civil War.
  • The rise of Oliver Cromwell and the Interregnum.



Sir Graham Balfour School
North Avenue
ST16 1NR

For Sat Nav directions:

ST16 1NJ


01785 223490