Prepare for the future by studying the past.

The History Department at Cecil Jones aims to inspire its students with a love of History. It does this through the teaching of engaging and awe inspiring lessons, but it also equips students with the skills to find out more about the past as independent learners. We also work with other Humanities subjects to ensure that History is not just seen in isolation, but as part of a wider religious, geographical and political experience that informs how we live our lives today.

Students learn about the past, acquiring key historical skills just as knowledge and chronology. But it goes further. We teach a range of skills; understanding, change, causation and consequence. Identifying and explaining significance. Judgements of extent when looking at evidence and interpretation. These skills are built around the knowledge students acquire. Its helps to turn them into knowledgeable people, but also with all the skills to understand the world around them today.

Our subject area seeks to develop the following in all our students:

(Skill) e.g. “a love History” by:

    • .engaging and awe inspiring lessons
    • .visits to important historical site
    • .encouraging independent enquiry

(Skill) e.g. “an enquiring mind” by

    • .the study of significant events
    • .establishing the link between the past and present
    • .have students ask their own questions about the past.

(Skill) e.g. “a critical mind” by

    • .the study of interpretation
    • .the questioning of evidence
    • .interrogating historiography

Students in Key Stage 3 study British, European and World History from 1050 to 1945. It aims to have students identify the links between the past and present, however far back in time they go. It also aims to start to build skills vital both for life outside school and potential study of History at GCSE and A Level.

Areas of study covered in KS3:

Year 7:

  • The Silk Road
  • Anglo Saxon Prittlewell
  • The Norman Conquest
  • Medieval Life
  • The Crusades
  • Medieval Monarch
  • The Black Death


Year 8

  • The Reformation
  • The Gunpowder Plot
  • Charles I
  • Changing Britain
  • Crime and Punishment
  • The British Empire
  • The Road to Emancipation


Year 9

  • WW1
  • WW2
  • Student Choice
  • The British Experience of the Cold War
  • The Holocaust


Trips and Visits:

  • IWM Duxford (Year 9)


How can I support my child at home?

Encourage your child to read: borrow books from the local library or school library or the History Department. Alternatively share your newspaper with your child and try to make links between events of today and those studied in the past. Online resources such as, or can provide valuable reading or resources for homework.

GCSE History covers a wide range of topics and skills. Students will be assessed across three exam papers covering studies in depth and breadth. Both studies look at enquiry using sources and their usefulness. They also examine interpretation and the differences between them. Students will be asked to make judgements on Historical events and their significance. There is a great emphasis on knowledge: the description of key features and the explanation of events.

Students study four areas:

  • Medicine in Britain 1250-present – the changes in treatment, care and prevention over time, including care and treatment on the Western Front during WW1
  • Early Elizabethan England 1558-88 – the government and religion, foreign policy, and the age of exploration.
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939 – how Germany developed from a new democracy to a dictatorship under the Nazis.
  • SuperPower Relations and the Cold War 1941-1990 – how Grand Alliance that won WW2 descended into a chilly proxy war that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Course component breakdown

The Exam Board is Edexcel, and the details can be found on the Pearson website here:


Component Assessment Type Marks When
Early Elizabethan England Exam 1 Hour 45 minutes* 64 Autumn of Year 10
Medicine in Britain Exam – 1 hour 15 minutes 52 Spring and Summer of Year 10
Weimar and Nazi Germany Exam – 1 hour 20 minutes 52 Summer of Year 10, Autumn of Year 11
SuperPower Relations and the Cold War Exam – I hour 45 minutes* 64 Autumn of Year 11, Spring of Year 11.

*Papers combined in the same exam paper


Trips and Visits

  • Medicine on the Western front: Ypres (Year 10)

The breaking down of Friday, 5th July saw 35 students and 3 members of staff assemble to make the journey to Ypres in Belgium. The students were from Years 8, 9 and 12. The channel as crossed in good weather and we very soon found ourselves at our first stop, Bayernwald.

This small section of the German front line from 1915 has been excavated and carefully reconstructed to give visitors an idea of trench life. Our guide, Major Martin Freemantle, himself a soldier for 30 years, guided students through the reasons for, and problems of trench warfare. The sunlight dappled through the leaves, and butterflies flitted between the trenches. Though it was a world away from the battles of 1915, Major Martin was able to bring back some of the reality.

From here we drove to Hill 60. Not actually a hill but the spoil from a railway cutting. This was an important landmark in the flat Flanders landscape. Here Major Martin took us through the problems of mines; tunneling beneath the enemy lines to lay huge explosives. Here too was the sight of the first use of gas on the Western Front. Two examples of modern technology being used in war.

The students then proceeded to the Passchendaele Military Museum for lunch. Major Martin selected  a recruit, and dressed and equipped him as a solider of 1914. He then loaded poor Jack with more and more equipment as the War progressed so by 1918 he was feeling the burden. Four other students then felt this burden as Major Martin made them demonstrate the problems of evacuating wounded soldiers from the battlefield. An important lesson for those students who will go on to study this very topic at GCSE.

We then proceeded to Ypres itself via the Menin Gate. This huge entrance into the town contains the names of 54602 soldiers from Britain and the Empire were killed in the Ypres salient and recorded as missing. They have no known grave. Despite its awe inspiring size, 35059 names are recorded on a separate memorial nearby.

The mood then lightened as the students had some free time in the Market Place. Some admired the architecture of rebuilt Medieval Cloth Hall, others admired the new ring of bells installed to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice in St George’s Church. The church itself was Casualty Clearing Station during the war. Most indulged themselves buying Belgian Chocolates. Most Belgian Chocolates did not survive the trip home!

We ended the day at Lijssenhoek Cemetery, a sobering contrast to the bustle of Ypres Market Place. Here reality hit home for the students and staff alike. This was the sight of a large Casualty Clearing Station, and students were surprised that headstone after headstone contained the same date, with ages only slightly above their own. For staff, the personal family inscription recorded at the base of some headstones were heartbreaking. Particularly for Staff Nurse Nellie Spindler, one of only two women killed at the front during the war, and the only female grave in 10000 in the cemetery.

Major Martin took students through the evacuation chain for moving wounded soldiers from the battlefield. We then assembled by the Cross of Sacrifice and held a two minute silence. Jack Nelson then laid a wreath on behalf of Cecil Jones Academy. Cecil Jones himself returned from the war and was moved to do good deeds for Southend. We could only speculate on how many good deeds were left undone by the fallen.


How can I boost my child’s GCSE grade and support them at home?

The practice of key skills and the application of knowledge is the most valuable way to boost grades. However, we also recommend the following work books you can complete with your child. These are used within the school and staff will be happy to look over work completed. Ideally this should be as the course progresses rather than trying to revise in year 11.

For students aiming for grades 1-5, we recommend:

  • TARGET 5 Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Early Elizabethan England 1558-1588

  • TARGET 5 Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Medicine in Britain 1250-present

  • TARGET 5 Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939

  • TARGET 5 Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History SuperPower Relations and the Cold War 1941-1990


For students aiming for Grades 6-9 we recommend

  • TARGET 9 Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Early Elizabethan England 1558-1588
  • TARGET 9 Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Medicine in Britain 1250-present
  • TARGET 9  Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939
  • TARGET 9 Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History SuperPower Relations and the Cold War 1941-1990


Recommended GCSE websites:


Recommended GCSE texts or revision guides:

  • Pearson produce a range of Textbooks used at Cecil Jones
  • Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Early Elizabethan England 1558-1588
  • Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Medicine in Britain 1250-present
  • Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939
  • Edexcel (GCSE 9-1) History SuperPower Relations and the Cold War 1941-1990

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving 55% grades 9-4

Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving 53% grades 9-4