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A Brief explanation of the English National Curriculum for history

This page briefly outlines what the English National Curriculum for history is like. It is intended to enable students and teachers from other nations to make use of this site.

I would appreciate teachers from other countries to e-mail me a brief description of what the curriculum they follow is like, this will help me to make my site as accessible to all students as possible.

Examples of other nations curriculum's, as described by contributors to this site, can be viewed by clicking on the links below. Other descriptions are available on the European Virtual School.

United States

A new Revolution in Russia, an examination of History Resources in the post communist Russian education system.

English Terminology used on this site.

Year group Age of students Content usually taught: a longer description is available below this table. Compulsory?
11-12 Medieval England and an Optional unit (in my case the Romans). Yes
12-13 Making of the United Kingdom and an optional, Non European unit. (Rise of Islam in my case) Yes
13-14 Britain 1750-1900 (Expansion, Trade and industry) and the Twentieth Century World. Yes
14-16 There are 3 main courses available to teachers: Modern World history, Social and Economic history and the Schools History Project (see descriptions below) No

Content Areas

These are often referred to as 'Study Units'. The Department for Education has broken these down into even smaller parts in their schemes of work (medium term plans) which can be viewed at the Standards Site.

Medieval Realms: History of England, Scotland and Wales in the period 1066-1500. Usually this consists of a study of the Norman Invasion, life in Medieval Towns and Villages, a study of some of the problems that were faced by monarchs at the time and a study of Castles and/ or Cathedrals. Other aspects of Medieval life can, and often are, covered, though usually in less depth. Usually taught in Year 7.

Making of the United Kingdom. British history 1500-1750. The eras of the Tudors and the Stuart dynasty's to all intents and purposes. This study unit looks at the religious turmoil in England and Europe during the Reformation, the conflicts with Spain, Colonisation, the Gunpowder Plot, the causes, events of and consequences of the English Civil War, social, technological and economic change during the period. Usually taught in Year 8.

Britain 1750-1900 (Expansion, Trade and Industry). This unit covers the era of the Industrial and Agricultural revolutions. Local History is a key part of this study. The Unit also covers the expansion of the British Empire, the Slave Trade, Social and Political Change and technological advances of the era. Usually taught in Year 9.

The Twentieth Century World. This Study Unit looks at the causes events and consequences of the First and Second world wars. It analyses the changes in the global community over the past 100 years and looks at social and economic changes within Britain and Europe. This unit is usually taught in Year 9.

Optional Study Units

Schools must teach one unit on a period of pre 1914 European history. Popular choices for this study Unit are the Roman Empire (which is my personal choice) and the French Revolution. Schools choosing the Roman Empire usually teach this within Year 7. Many schools opting for the French Revolution would teach this in Year 8 or 9, moving the Making of the united Kingdom unit to allow the French Revolution course to fit in chronologically.

Schools must also teach one non European civilisation. My choice has been the Rise of Islam: due to the ethnic make up of my school. Other popular choices are, the Black people's of America, the Ancient Egyptians, the Moguls and the Incas. Usually this study unit is taught in Year 8 or 9.

Schools are not required to teach these study units in any particular order. Most schools teach them in chronological order though.


This site offers resources on the Schools History Project. This is a study of a development (Medicine through time), Weimar and Nazi Germany, a local study (Skipton Castle) and a Modern world Study (Northern Ireland).

Other examinations are available covering the Modern World, which is a study of Global issues over the past 100 years and Social and Economic history, which is a study of changes in Britain over the past 200 years. offers extensive resources for the Modern World syllabus.

ESchola offers a wide variety of activities from around Europe, you should be able to find activities suited to any History curriculum on this site.


Page last updated 07/05/01
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