Burnside High School Burnside High School

NCEA Level 2 History

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mr S. Coster.

Recommended Prior Learning

Success in Year 11 History can enable a student to undertake a course of study in Year 12, providing a student has achieved at least 12 credits in Level 1 History (or an equivalent literacy rich subject), or by HOD approval

“You can kill ten of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win.”

Ho Chi Minh (1890 - 1969) - Leader of the Vietnamese independence movement (or Viet Minh) and president of North Vietnam 

Level 2 History students will delve into significant historical topics spanning from the end of the first millennium (c. 1000 C.E) to the end of the second (c. 2000 C.E). Those with a passion for understanding people and the eras they lived in will find History to be a rewarding subject. It serves as a valuable tool for comprehending our own society, the world at large, and our individual roles within it. History equips individuals with the skills to gather, process, interpret, and present information—an essential ability in our increasingly information-driven society.

Skills: In Level 2 History, the primary objective is to build upon the skills acquired in Level 1. Do not worry if you did not take Level 1 History as the first 3-4 weeks of Term 1 will be dedicated to recapping the skills learned in the previous year and acquainting students with the expectations of Level 2. However, there is a progression of skills from Year 11 History, introducing students to higher-order thinking in Year 12. These skills find wide application in various aspects of everyday life and nearly all career paths. It is worth noting that the intellectual skills developed through the study of history can provide a distinct advantage in many careers, including law, police work, journalism, psychology, and management in the business sector.

These skills include:

  • 'Fact v Fake': The ability to interpret different forms of information, such as written articles, photographs, cartoons, and websites, considering their purpose and evaluating their reliability and trustworthiness.
  • 'Communication': The ability to produce well-structured, analytical essays and reports that are clear and concise.
  • 'Perspectives': Also known as "point of view," this skill involves understanding how an individual's or group's position or stance is influenced by factors such as religion, country of origin, level of education, or ethnic background.
  • 'Analysis': The skill of analysis is invaluable in many careers, as it enables individuals to explain the reasons and mechanisms behind events, essential for effective decision-making.

The course will explore significant events in world history that have had an impact on New Zealand society and continue to influence us today.

Introductory topic: "Witches and Warlocks" This four-week mini-topic serves as a review of Level 1 skills while introducing the requirements for Level 2. Students will also delve into the "European Witch-hunting Craze" that occurred in the 1500s and 1600s. During this time, individuals, particularly women, suspected of practicing witchcraft were persecuted. The topic concludes with an exploration of the American "Salem Witch Trials" of the 1690s. Students will investigate the causes of this persecution, the methods employed, the broader community impact, and the long-term consequences.

The two main topics:

‘1066: The Year of the Conqueror’ This topic examines the last successful invasion of England in 1066 by the Normans, descendants of Vikings, led by William the Conqueror (also known as "William the Bastard") from western France. The pivotal Battle of Hastings in 1066 resulted in a successful invasion and the establishment of what we now know as England. Students will explore Anglo-Saxon society and the profound changes brought about by the conquering Normans. The topic also covers the end of the Viking Age.

‘The Vietnam War, 1945-1975’ This study focuses on the Vietnamese revolutionary movements of the 20th century, which led to Vietnam's independence. It begins with the French colonisation of the Vietnam region and the subsequent war fought against the French, known as "The First Indochina War" (1945-1954). Students will then delve into the later conflict, "The Second Indochina War" or "The Vietnam War" (1963-1975), where North Vietnam fought against South Vietnam, supported by the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. The topic explores the establishment of communism in Vietnam and provides insights into the ideology behind it.


•    Researching and reporting on a New Zealand military figure (4 credits for the research / 5 credits for the report): Students will research and write a report on a New Zealand military figure who participated in a 20th-century conflict. This individual can be a well-known soldier, a local community member, or a whānau / family member.

•    Perspectives writing (5 credits): As part of the "Vietnam War" topic, students will write in the first person, adopting the viewpoint of a leading individual from both the French and Vietnamese Communist sides involved in the historically significant 1954 Battle of Dien Bien. This battle marked a victory for the Vietnamese and led to the establishment of a communist North Vietnam, symbolising the decline of French control in Southeast Asia.

•    End-of-year external essay (5 credits): Students will choose one significant historic event from a range covered throughout the year and write an essay that addresses a question relating to the causes or consequences of that event. This essay will be practiced twice during the year to develop proficiency.

The course will include an online learning component, utilising the class Schoology page. Students are encouraged to bring their own netbooks or laptops to access resources and participate in activities, although it is not compulsory.


Learning Areas:

Social Science


NCEA Level 3 History

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

Stationery: A lever arch folder, subject dividers and A4 lined paper. A document wallet cardboard foolscap for the research assessment.

Digital learning device: This course will have an online learning component that would suit Bring Your Own Device - with students bringing a netbook or laptop to class to access resources and activities through the class Schoology page. Bringing a device is not compulsory but encouraged.