Staffing: Mrs H Martin (Head of Department), Miss M Brothers, Mr R Kanter and Mrs L Shelmerdine

We are an innovative, forward thinking and like-minded department whose common goal is to bring history “alive” to all learners. We hope that through the study of the past that our students will have a greater understanding of today’s world and its challenges. We strive to develop the relevance of History in contemporary society.

The study of history provides students with the opportunity to not only acquire subject knowledge but to further their written and verbal skills of communication. This includes the analysis of various historical sources; and we encourage an analytical and critical approach.

Key Stage 3

In Years 7 & 8 students receive 1.5 hours of History teaching per week.

In Year 9 GCSE History students receive 2 hours of History teaching per week.

Year Seven:

‘The Development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain, 1066-1509’.  This includes units on:

  • The Norman Conquest and its significance
  • Church and State: Henry II, Becket and John
  • England and its relationship with Scotland and Wales.
  • The Black Death and its impact
  • Popular protest- The Peasants Revolt
  • The Reformation and Tudor England

Year Eight:

‘The Development of Church, state and society in Britain, 1509-1745’ and ‘The Making of Modern Britain’.  This includes units on:

  • The causes of the English Civil Wars
  • The Republic – Oliver Cromwell and his divided reputation.
  • Towards a United Britain up to 1745.
  • The French Revolution- Causes and impact
  • The development of democracy in Britain, including women’s suffrage up to 1918.
  • The growth and development of the British Empire, including the background to and processes of the ‘Slave Trade’.

Year Nine: 

This is a GCSE Transition year, where we introduce students to the key skills required for success at GCSE Level. In the spring term we start to teach the GCSE course.

Key unit:

  • 20th Century Britain
  • The Holocaust (full study day)

Key Stage 4

In Year 10 GCSE History students have 2 hours teaching of History per week.

In Year 11 GCSE History students have 2.5 hours teaching of History per week.

The specification we follow is Edexcel GCSE History 9-1

Paper One: Thematic Study and Historic Environment

  • 1 hour 15 mins
  • 30% of final mark
  • Option 11: Medicine in Britain , c 1250 – present day and The British Sector of the Western Front, 1914-18: Injuries, treatment and the trenches

Paper Two: British Depth Study and Period Study

  • 1 hour 45 mins
  • 40% of final mark
  • Option B4: Early Elizabethan England, 1558-88
  • Option 24/25: The American West, c1835-c1895

Paper Three: Modern Depth Study

  • 1 hour 20 mins
  • 30% of final mark
  • Option 31: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39


Our GCSE History results are generally above the National average.

Grade 9-7Grade 9-4Grade A*/AGrade A*-CGrade A*/AGrade A*-C
School Results26.4%75.9%44.1%82.4%26.6%66.0%
National Results24.6%63.8%26.4%66.1%28.7%69.1%


Extra Curricular Activities

The department offers many opportunities to extend our students appreciation for the subject.  Our History Club meets weekly and studies topics of interest.

We have an excellent working relationship with Bury Museum and Archives, and this has presented many opportunities for our students to experience ‘hands on’ history.

We organise an annual end of KS3 Holocaust Study Day, which includes the unique testimony of a concentration/Death camp survivor or close family relative.

We have led an annual Year 11 visit to Berlin for the past 7 years  in conjunction with the Languages department.  During the visit students visit various places of interest including Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, The Reichstag, Berlin Olympic Stadium and the Jewish Museum.  This visit has proved to be very popular and enriching for our students. Student feedback is always positive and one student said after the 2016 visit that, ‘The Berlin visit was the most fantastic week of my life so far’.

We are very proud of our links with Bury Museum and Archives.  We have worked together to produce original, archive based schemes of learning on ‘Cotton Threads’: Bury’s role in the Industrial Revolution and links to the Slave Trade and ‘Safety in Numbers’: A source based scheme on Prestwich Asylum.

We organise a ‘History Week’ that explores an aspect of history in depth for the whole week at lunchtimes. This topic is supported in history lessons and in other subjects, where appropriate. The theme for the ‘History Week’ in November 2018 was The Great War.

Future Developments

We are exploring the possibility of battlefield site visits in France and Belgium to commemorate the centenary of the ‘great war’.

Successful visits to London have run in the past and we aim to reinstate this visit, including workshops at the redeveloped Imperial War Museum, and the Houses of Parliament.

We propose to produce a booklet celebrating the History and heritage of Bury Church of England High School. This will involve students researching our school’s History, with staff support, and working as a team to produce this important production.