“History is the torch that is meant to illuminate the past to guard us against the repetition of our mistakes of other days. We cannot join in the rewriting of history to make it conform to our comfort and convenience” – Claude Bowers (1878 – 1958)
History is a dynamic, challenging subject that tests students to the full. Not only do they develop a sense and understanding of past events but they learn important skills such as essay writing, developing balanced arguments and using evidence effectively.
The teaching of History encourages students to make sense of the present by understanding the past and develops key academic skills along the way that are easily applicable to a host of other subjects.
We run various History Societies, including a group that produces the termly magazine ‘Retrospect’ which contains articles by students and teachers.
“Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft” – Winston Churchill
Year 7 – Conquest and Monarchy
From the moment Edward the Confessor dies without an heir you just know there is going to be trouble.
Starting our course at this momentous point we trace the origins and events of the Norman Conquest, not stopping when the arrow lands in Harold’s eye but also looking at how the Normans gained control of a hostile foreign land. In Year 7 we look at some of our most famous monarchs – Henry II and his tragic quarrel with Becket, and King John and his Magna Carta. Not forgetting the ‘ordinary people’, we look at the impact of the Black Death and the Peasant’s Revolt on medieval society. We spread our wings globally to consider the kingdom of Mali and medieval Islamic civilisations.
Year 8 – The Making of Modern Britain
From the powerful Tudors to the doomed Stuarts, we look at the transformation of Britain, continuing with the issue of slavery and its eventual abolition. We also consider a revolution abroad, in France.
Year 9 – Revolution and Conflict
We embark on an overview of 19th Century Britain, focusing on the Industrial Revolution, political upheaval and the demand for fair elections. The last part of Year 9 focuses on the conflicts of the first part of the 20th Century – World Wars I and II. We look at how these conflicts were caused, how they were fought and how they were won. These topics give valuable contextual understanding for those going on to study the Modern World at GCSE History and also allow all students to try and grasp just what impact these events had. We also look at the Holocaust and try to comprehend how it could have happened.
Formal assessment in KS3 takes the form of three Key Assessments per year focused on key historical skills – essay writing, source analysis and a historical enquiry. There are no end-of-year exams in History for Years 7-9.
In Year 10 students follow the Cambridge iGCSE Specification – Modern World History. This is a two year course that culminates in three exam papers being set at the end of Year 11. There is no coursework element to this course.
Year 10 – The 20th Century: International Relations since 1919
This module focuses on International tensions, conflicts and diplomacy in the 20th Century. Covering the period from the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the outbreak of the Cold War in 1945, the brink of Nuclear War over Cuba in 1962 and the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989, students will investigate the political tensions that made these events a reality. They will analyse the decisions of leaders such as Chamberlain, Truman, Kennedy and Khrushchev and evaluate the decision making that kept the world in a fragile peace after 1945. This module will be examined at the end of Year 11 and there is regular revision and assessment throughout the two years to help students prepare, including a mock exam in Y10.
Year 11 – 20th Century Depth Studies
In Year 11 we look at the seminal events in Germany in the first half of the 20th Century.
Depth Study 2 –Germany 1918-45
Students will look at the upheaval of post-war Germany, the miraculous recovery of the Weimer’s golden period and the onset of Nazi dictatorship. We question how such a change could come about and investigate the circumstances in place that allowed fascism to take hold. We also look at wartime Germany and its impact on its citizens.
There will be a mock exam in Year 11 that focuses on the source paper for this course.
There is no coursework unit for this course. There will be 3 terminal exams at the end of Year 11.
Paper 1 – Knowledge based paper, mixture of Year 10 Core Content and Depth Study work (2 hours)
Paper 2 – Source based paper, focused on an aspect of the Year 10 Core Content (2 hours)
Paper 3 – Short essay paper, based on a choice of Depth Study topics (1 hour)
We have selected a diverse range of topics for our students, taking in a variety of countries and peoples and developing skills that will be key at university, regardless of degree subject. Skills such as critical thinking, argument construction and evidence evaluation combine with a developed understanding of how the past shapes the present and the future to make this an exciting and stimulating course. The course prepares students for a History degree but previous students have also gone on to study Law, Journalism, Economics, Philosophy and Medicine, where the balance of an essay based subject has helped with their UCAS application. Historical study develops vital employment skills including communication (written and verbal), decision making and investigative research.
GCSE History students will obviously have an advantage when studying A level History but we have successfully worked with students who did not take History at Key Stage 4, so all students are welcome to choose the subject. No formal grade in GCSE History is required.
Extra-curricular activities form a key part of the course – a battlefield trip to Waterloo and the Somme, and various museum and lecture visits have all enhanced the students’ learning. There is also a possible chance to visit Washington DC with the Politics group to enhance their education generally and specifically focus on aspects of the American Civil War that will be covered in Year 13. In past years this has included a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield, part of the Changing Nature of Warfare course studied in the U6th.
Year 12 – British Period Study and Enquiry – Unit Y105 – England 1445-1509: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII
This unit focuses on a period of British history and has two components. It provides a chance to delve into the crossover point from medieval history to the early modern world and covers a fascinating period of intrigue, civil war and betrayal. The main part of the course looks at the battle between the two royal houses to gain control of the throne in the 15th Century. Characters such as Edward IV, Elizabeth Woodville and Richard III bestride the period. The Wars of the Roses is the enquiry topic and will be assessed through the analysis and evaluation of primary source material. Assessment is at the end of Y13 – the period study assessment will be a knowledge based essay and the enquiry consists of the analysis of 4 primary sources. The exam will be 1 hour 30 minutes long. There will be a mock exam at the end of Year 12.
Year 12 – Non- British Period Study – Unit Y212 – Russia 1894 – 1941
This tumultuous period saw the Russian Revolution and the bloody transition to communism in Russia. We look at the personalities of Tsar Nicholas II, Lenin and Stalin, the prime movers in this period, as well as the impact of these events upon millions of Russians.
Year 13 – Thematic study and historical interpretations – Unit Y315 – The Changing Nature of Warfare 1792-1945
This unit looks at all facets of warfare over 150 years, from the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars through to World War II. Factors such as communications, technological advancement, training, geography and tactics are all examined as are the influence of generals and the soldiers themselves. There are two elements to the assessment – an analysis of historians’ interpretations of warfare in the period and two essay questions to answer. The exam lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes and is taken at the end of Year 13.
Year 13 – Topic Based Essay – Unit Y100
This unit consists of an independent dissertation, 3000-4000 words in length. This will be a taught course by your History tutor and we have some flexibility on the subject content, which will be decided in due course. Our current subject matter is Mao’s China 1949-1976. Students will have the freedom to choose their own essay questions within the topic and then carry out an independent investigation, selecting evidence to help them produce their final essay. This is an exciting new aspect of A level History and will be both challenging and motivating for students in the second year of the course. The essay is marked and moderated internally and then sent to the board for assessment towards the end of Year 13. There is no final exam.