What Is History?

What is history?  It sounds such a simple question doesn't it?  But it can cause a lot of disagreement. Napoleon called it 'a set of lies' and Henry Ford called it 'bunk'!  Other people have argued that it is much more important. Over 2000 years ago, Roman Philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero claimed ‘To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.’


Whatever they think about the usefulness of history most people will, however, agree that history is the study of the past.  In fact, historians are a bit like detectives - using evidence to find out what happened and why.  This is not an easy job. Historians must be able to recognise evidence, decide how useful it is and come to conclusions based on what they have found out. 


In History, students will, Investigate, question and seek to understand the opinions, motives, prejudices and beliefs of individuals and societies of the past. At various stages in their study of history, students might find themselves having to question their own value systems, separate fact from opinion and uninformed judgements from reasoned conclusions. 


Students will develop skills of a wide ranging nature. For example, how to process information, make decisions, solve problems, draw conclusions and assess the significance of individuals and events in history.


We feel that the study of History is one, if not the most important, of the ways in which a pupil can seek to develop an understanding of the world in which we live.

At Key Stage 3:


Yr 7:

In Year 7, pupils study a variety of topics under the heading ‘Wales and Britain in the Medieval World, 1000 – 1500 AD’.  These

topics, or ‘Big Questions’, include:


  • Did the people of England and Wales benefit or suffer after the Norman conquest of 1066?

  • Why did people go on crusade?

  • Why did kings find it difficult to control the church?

  • How did people challenge the authority of kings?


Yr 8:

In Year 8, pupils study a variety of topics under the heading of ‘Wales and Britain in the Early Modern World, 1500 – 1760 AD’. 

These topics or ‘Big Questions’, include:


  • Why do people have different interpretations about Henry VIII?

  • Does Mary Tudor deserve to be called ‘Bloody Mary’?

  • What were the causes of the English Civil War?


Yr 9:

In Year 9, pupils study a variety of topics under the heading of ‘Wales and industrial Britain, 1760 - 1914’ and the ‘Twentieth Century World’.  These topics, or ‘Big Questions’ include:


  • Were industrial towns death traps?

  • Why is it important that we remember World War One?

  • What days in the 20th century shook the world?


At Key Stage 3 pupils will be assessed at the end of each topic studied.  Pupils will produce an extended piece of writing answering a Big Question. 


We assess pupils in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes. The aims of our assessments are as follows;


  • Making sure that pupils are aware of what has been learnt, allowing the teacher and pupil to plan progress and development.

  • Identifying areas of difficulty allows for appropriate assistance to be given to each pupil. It can also allow teachers to negotiate ways in which pupils can improve.

  • Assessment allows teachers to recognise the overall achievement made by a pupil at the end of a particular module or unit of work.

At Key Stage 4:

Students study the WJEC GCSE syllabus, which is divided into four units.  In Year 10 students will complete two units; a controlled assessment task focusing on the effects of war on Wales and England during the twentieth century and an overview study of the USA, 1930-2000. In Year 11 two more units are studied covering the history of Russia, 1905-1924 and the history of Germany, 1919-1947. Each of the four units is worth 25% of the total marks.  The whole range of pass grades, A*-G, is available to all candidates. 


Year 10


  • Controlled Assessment (this is completed in school, under exam conditions).

  • USA 1930-2000 (summer term exam).


Year 11


  • Russia 1905-1924 (summer term exam).

  • Germany 1919-1947 (summer term exam).

Outside Lesson-time:

The History Department aims to visit places of local and national interest.  Each year, Year 7 pupils have the opportunity to visit a castle. Key Stage 4 and 5 will be visiting Auschwitz in October 2013.

Call Us:

(01656) 740294

Cynffig Comprehensive School, East Avenue, Kenfig Hill, Bridgend, CF33 6NP

Fax Us:

(01656) 747940


Want to know what we have achieved? Click on the buttons to view the ESTYN Inspection Reports.


© 2013 Cynffig Comprehensive School