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 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 should we remember Henry VIII?

  • Which Tudor monarch had the most significant impact on people’s lives, 1547-1603?

  • Why were people so scared of witches?

  • Were industrial towns ‘death traps’?


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 the police to blame for failing to catch Jack the Ripper?

  • Why should we remember the Titanic?

  • Which days shook the world in the 20th Century?


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 reasons why Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 and how life changed for Germans in Nazi Germany, and a study of the USA, 1910-1929. In Year 11 two more units are studied covering British history (Depression, War and Recovery 1930-1951) and Changes in Health and Medicine, 1340-present day.  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: A nation of Contrasts, 1910-1929 (summer term exam).


Year 11


  • Depression, War and Recovery, 1930-1951 (summer term exam).

  • Changes in Health and Medicine, 1340-present day (summer term exam).

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.


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