History at the Open Academy helps students to develop a passion for the past. It is fun, creative and interesting and provides students with a huge range of cross-curricular skills.


At KS3, students study a variety of both British and International topics from Medieval England through to the late Twentieth century. This allows students to gain both a broad and varied understanding of the subject of History and the world around them. The KS3 curriculum also prepares students with introductions to topics that will be taught in more depth at GCSE.

These topics include:

Year 7:

Historical skills, the Romans, Medieval England, Native Americans and the Tudors (reformation)

Year 8:

The Tudors (poverty), the English Civil War, the Slave Trade, Democracy (suffrage) and World War One

Year 9:

Democracies and dictatorships, the causes of the Second World War, Nazi Germany, the Holocaust and Russia


At KS4 the OCR Schools History Project specification is followed. This involves 3 examinations covering the following 5 units:

  • Crime and Punishment in Britain 1250 to today
  • Elizabethan England
  • History Around Us (Norwich Castle)
  • Living under Nazi Rule 1933 to 1945
  • The Making of the USA

Students also enjoy several extra-curricular opportunities through History at the Academy – residential trips to the Battlefields in France and Belgium and to Auschwitz, Poland are regular opportunities that students have benefitted from.

History is a popular and successful subject, with many GCSE students choosing to pursue it further at the Open Academy Sixth Form.  



Geography is exciting, topical and relevant. It is a fun and interesting subject which encourages students to be intrigued and to ask questions about the world around us. It provides students with a range of cross-curricular and valuable life skills.

At KS3 students study a variety of topics that help prepare students for the later GCSE. We build a sound understanding of geographical places, geographical processes that shape places and develop geographical skills that help make sense of the world.

We investigate places at a range of different scales from our local area to far away continents and oceans. We discuss complex issues and try to make connections and links. We seek to solve some of the biggest modern challenges that people face today such as climate change, poverty and sustainable living.


Topics studied include:

Year 7:

Skills, Extreme environments, Sustainable Living, China, Weather and Climate


Year 8:

Coasts, Globalisation, Natural Hazards, Tourism


Year 9:

Rivers, Population, India, Global Challenges, and Fieldwork.


At KS4 the Edexcel specification A syllabus is followed.

This involves 3 examinations covering the 3 main components and the following 8 topics:


Unit 1 (Physical environment)37.5%

  • Changing landscapes +Coasts and Rivers
  • Weather and Climate
  • Ecosystems


Unit 2 (Human environment)37.5%

  • Changing cities
  • Global development
  • Resource Management + Energy


Unit 3 (Geographical Investigations)25%

  • Fieldwork Coasts/Fieldwork Urban
  • UK Challenges


We also offer students several opportunities for out of school learning with trips at KS4 to areas that are local and further afield.

Geography is a modern, relevant, popular and successful subject.

For further support about geography at the Open Academy please contact the Academic Faculty and for more general information.


We would like the students to gain an understanding of the fundamental questions of life such as: Where do we come from?  Why are we here?  What happens when we die?  What is the meaning of life?  These questions will be explored through a systematic study of Christianity and Hinduism, looking at beliefs and practices as well as how the religions respond to some key ethical issues such as relationships, war, crime and punishment and life issues such as abortion and euthanasia.  Furthermore, Religious Studies is designed to engage the students with current issues that encourage debate and discussion and will appeal to students from any belief system.  Students will explore key aspects of each religion and will be able to show their knowledge, understanding and evaluative skills.

Key Stage 3

During Year 7 and 8 students have two 1 hour lessons a fortnight.  As well as studying major world religions students have opportunities to explore ethical issues and aspects of PSHE within Religious Studies.

Year 7 areas of study 

- How is identity influenced by religion, belief and culture?

- What is a good life?

- Why do Christians believe Jesus is God on Earth?

- Why is Christianity the way it is today?

- How do Hindus make sense of the world around them?

- Is it reasonable to believe in life after death?


Year 8 areas of study

- How do Muslims understand the Nature of God?

- How do Sikhs interact with culture and society? belief affect the lives of believers today?

- How is belief put into practise?

At the end of KS4 the students will sit two exams, one on each of the units ‘Study of Religions’ and ‘Thematic Studies’, with a view to achieving a full GCSE.  The lessons will give the students the opportunity to debate and discuss.  50% of the examination requires students to know and understand religion and belief systems and a further 50% allows the students to analyse and evaluate aspects of religious belief.

Key Stage 4

Full Course (Edexcel Spec B)


What is it about?

Students will study two world religions in depth and then learn about a range of moral and philosophical issues including the religious perspectives on them.


What sort of work is done?

Paper 1: Religion and Ethics through Christianity 

Section 1 (24 marks):

Beliefs, teachings, and practices of Christianity  

Section 2 (27 marks):

Marriage and the Family (marriage, sexual relationships, families, divorce and remarriage, equality of men and women, gender prejudice and discrimination)

Section 3 (24 marks):

Living the Christian Life (worship, nature and purpose of prayer, pilgrimage, future of the church, religious celebrations, the local church, the worldwide church)

Section 4 (27 marks)

Matters of life and death ( sanctity of life, abortion, death and afterlife, euthanasia)


How is it examined?

Written exam: 1hour 45 minutes


102 marks (plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG))

100% of GCSE


Paper 2: Religion, Peace and Conflict through Islam 

Section 1 (24 marks):

Beliefs, teachings, and practices of Islam  

Section 2 (27 marks):

Crime and Punishment (justice, crime, muslim attitudes to good, evil and suffering, capital punishment, forgiveness.)

Section 3 (24 marks):

Living the Muslim Life (the 5 pillars of Islam, 10 obligatory Acts, celebrations and commemorations.)


Section 4 (27 marks)

Peace and Conflict (muslim attitudes to peace, pacifism, Just war theory, holy war, weapons of mass destruction, issues surrounding conflict.)


How is it examined?

Written exam: 1hour 45 minutes

102 marks (plus 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)) 

100% of GCSE


What qualification will I get? What could it lead to?

A GCSE in Religious Studies grade 9-1.


Religious Studies shows employers and higher education institutions that you can understand the views of others, argue a point convincingly and evaluate an argument. Any career working with other people would regard it as beneficial, especially management where decisions have to be made in an analytical way.

Exam board information

Exam board- Edexcel specification B.  Full details of the course content, specification and assessment can be found here.

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