Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise

History at Durham Johnston School

History is a rich and varied subject that always rewards its students. Furthermore, we believe that its importance lies in its challenge and ability to fascinate. The opportunity for students to investigate historical subjects in detail, experience historians’ debates and develop their own arguments is very fulfilling. We are passionate about History, and hope through our teaching of KS3-KS5, students will become so too.





Further details



What is history? How has Durham changed over the past 2000 years?

Norman conquest: The Battle of Hastings, why William won and the ‘contenders’ situation prior to1066.

Norman control: Castles, feudalism and Domesday book. How did William assert power and achieve control?


The power struggles of Crown versus State: Becket’s murder and Magna Carta.

Everyday life (struggles) in Medieval England: The impact of the Black Death and Peasants’ Revolt on the British Isles.


England abroad’ (Global struggle): Exploration of foreign policy in the medieval age.

A history of Northern England including the history of the site of Durham cathedral and the Battle of Neville’s Cross.


Contenders for throne; 1066: Stamford Bridge and Hastings; Investigation of how and why William won.


Norman control through establishment of feudalism, Domesday survey, and castles.



Struggle between Church and Crown: Becket’s murder in 1170; Emergence of Parliament and wider legacy of Magna Carta 1215.


Black Death 1348-50 in European and British context; impact of ¼ of population dying; Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 to be studied in context of power struggle that contributed to emergence of modern state.


Crusades; Edwards I & II in Wales and Scotland; Hundred Years War 1337-1453; Revisit Battle of Neville’s Cross 1346.


2 assessments per half term: combination of source and essay-style questions. Additional and frequent factual tests feature too.



Henry VIII and the break from Rome: Wars of the Roses; the Church in Europe; Henry’s ‘Reformation’; Edward VI.

Mary and Elizabeth Tudor: ‘Bloody’ Counter-Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement.


Gunpowder plot and Civil Wars: The Stuarts and the descent into civil war.


Cromwell’s Interregnum and the Restoration: From Lord Protector to the Restoration of the monarchy; Act of Union; Great Fire of London and ‘Glorious Revolution’.

French Revolution: A case study of an alternative ‘global’ nation’s internal struggle for political power and control.

The industrial revolution in the North of England: The impact of the industrial revolution in contributing to Britain’s global primacy and its direct effect on the North.

Princes in Tower 1483; Bosworth 1485; Henry crowned king in 1509; 1520 Field of Cloth of Gold; 1533 Henry marries Anne Boleyn; 1534 Act of Supremacy; 1536 dissolution of Monasteries begins; Death of Henry and Edward crowned 1547.


‘Bloody’Mary? Counter-Reformation from 1553; Cranmer burned at stake; Elizabeth’s middle way from 1558; age of exploration and empire; foreign policy victories such as Armada in 1588.


1603 Death of Elizabeth and James crowned; Gunpowder Plot 1605; Parliament’s Petition of Right against Charles1628; Long Parliament meets 1640; Civil War begins 1642; Royalists’ defeat at Marston Moor 1644; Execution of Charles 1649


Cromwell named Lord Protector 1653; restoration of Charles II in 1660; Plague hits London 1665; Great Fire 1666; William of Orange 1688; Act of Union 1707.



What caused the revolution? How and why did peasants rebel? Seizure of Bastille and Great Fear; Declaration of Rights of Man; New regime and challenge to Catholic Church; Reign of Terror and rise of Napoleon.


1825 Darlington to Stockton railway; 1829 Stephenson’s rocket; 1830 Manchester to Liverpool railway; mining, ship building, factories: how did Northern England become an economic and industrial giant? Impact of industry on empire.


2 assessments per half term: combination of source and essay-style questions. Additional and frequent factual tests feature too.







The development of the British Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: Case study of emergence of trans-Atlantic slave trade, its role in British empire and the campaign for its eventual abolition.


Radicalism and reform: How did British parliament evolve in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries? Chartism, Great Reform Act and Suffragettes.


WW1: Local History. Why did men fight? What were they fighting for? Where did they fight? What did they experience? How far were they successful? What was impact of the Great War on the North?


WW2: To what extent was WW2 the same war as WW1? What caused WW2? Why did Britain fight? How far did it change Britain? Why did the Allies win?

The Holocaust: A case study of the impact of ideology, mechanisation of war and genocide on Twentieth Century world history.


Why is Britain no longer ‘Great’? Investigation of post-WW2: Atomic bomb; end of British empire (with India as case study) and emergence of Cold War. Did the war change Britain for the better?


Why did Britain have an empire? Where did Britain have an empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Why did Britain practise slavery? Range of campaigns for abolition; Abolition 1807; 1833 abolition in colonies; Why did Britain abolish the slave trade?





1819 Peterloo Massacre; Great Reform Act 1832; Queen Victoria’s accession 1837; People’s Charter 1838; Second Reform Act 1867; Women’s suffrage; Impact of WW1of suffrage campaigns.



Recruitment, propaganda and conscription; Trench warfare; Use of DLI’s experiences as case study; Ypres and the Somme as national case studies (links with Battlefields study visit); Social and cultural impact of war.




How did WW1 lead to WW2? Why did WW2 start? Investigation of Paris peace treaty, appeasement and Hitler’s ambitions. Social impact of Blitz, evacuation, rationing, Battle of Britain and experiences as pows.


The greatest crime in human history? How Nazis achieved power; why Jews were targets for persecution, how Nazis intensified anti-Semitism; Nuremburg laws and Wannsee Conference; Final Solution.




Investigation of use of atomic bombs to end war with Japan; how superpowers superseded old European powers such as Britain (including overview of competing Cold War ideologies) and how the British empire came to an end with case study on India.



2 assessments per half term: combination of source and essay-style questions. Additional and frequent factual tests feature too.