NCEA Level 2 History

Course Description

Teacher in Charge:

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 - Leader of the Vietnamese independence movement and president of North Vietnam (1890 - 1969)

Level 2 History students will study significant topics of history that have occurred between the 1500's to the late 20th century. Those who enjoy learning about people and the times they lived in will enjoy History. History is useful because it enables us to better understand our own society and the world and the individual’s place in it. It is a subject that teaches people to gather, process, interpret and present information. More than ever before, ours is an information-based society. People must adapt to it and handle a wide variety of information. 

SKILLS: While we learn topics that are significantly important and interesting to us the aim in Level 2 History is improve upon the skills learnt at Level 1.  Do not worry if you did not take Level 1 History as the first 3 - 4 weeks of Term 1 are devoted to recapping last year’s skills as well as learning what is involved at Level 2. However, there is a progression of skills from what was learnt in Year 11 History - this means that students are exposed to a higher order of thinking in Year 12. These skills are used widely in society in everyday life including most if not all careers.  It is important to note that there are many careers where the intellectual skills developed through the study of history will be a distinct advantage. These can include the law and associated careers such as police, journalism, and aspects of private business such as in management.  

These skills include:

  • ‘Fact v Fake’: The ability to interpret pieces of information such as written articles, photographs, cartoons and websites in terms of why these were created and how to make judgments on the information in terms of it being reliable and trustworthy.   
  • ‘Communication’: The ability to formally write a structured essay and a report that are clear and concise. 
  • ‘Perspectives’: Sometimes referred to as “point of view’.  This is the ability to understand how an individual or groups position / stance has been influenced by things such as religion, country of origin, level of education, or ethnic background.  
  • 'Analysis': The skill of analysis is invaluable in many careers, as the ability to analyse and then prioritise information is vital to decision making.

This course covers some significant events in world history that have impacted New Zealand society and which still affect us today.

Introductory topic:  'Witches and Warlocks'.  A three week mini topic that focuses on recapping Level 1 skills as well as introducing the requirements for Level 2 while also learning about the European witch-hunting craze that occurred in the 1500's and 1600's.  During this time some women and men who were thought to be practicing witches or warlocks were persecuted. This topic ends with the American 'Salem Witch Trials' of the 1690's.   What caused this persecution to take place? How were people persecuted? How did it affect the wider communities and what were the long term consequences? These are some of the questions that you will be able to answer by the end of this mini topic.  

The two main topics:

'1066: The year of the Conqueror' - this topic will involve learning about the last successful invasion of England in 1066. The invaders were the Normans, descendants of Vikings, who were led by William the Conqueror (or ‘William the Bastard’) from western France.  The tragic and decisive Battle of Hastings in 1066 lead to a successful invasion and conquering of Britain which lead to the emergence of what we know today as 'England'.  

'Revolutionaries' - a study of why and how Vietnamese revolutionary movements of the 20th century led to the independence of Vietnam. We learn about the French colonisation of the Vietnam region which resulted in the war fought against the French that established North Vietnam ('The First Indochina War' 1945 - 54). Then we learn about the concluding war fought against the nation of South Vietnam who were supported by the U.S.A, Australia and New Zealand which eventually resulted in a unified, independent communist Vietnam ('The Second Indochina War' or 'The Vietnam War' 1963 - 75).   

Researching and reporting on a New Zealand military figure: As two separate assessments, students will research and then write a report on a New Zealand military figure who fought in a 20th century conflict - this individual could be one of our famous soldiers, someone from a local community or a whānau / family member. 

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.


Learning Areas:



NCEA Level 3 History

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

Stationery: A lever arch folder, subject dividers and A4 lined paper. An A4 ring-binder 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.


Burnside High School may change any costs, courses or standards offered without notice.