The History department seeks to engender a real love of the subject amongst its students. For us it is not enough to simply teach History; our passion must be shared and enjoyed by all. By stimulating students’ curiosity in the past we hope to develop their understanding of events as well as increase their ability to communicate ideas. By delivering high-quality lessons across the age range we feel that our students benefit in terms of both enjoyment and educational value.
History is taught across Key Stages Three, Four and Five with a programme of study that aims to give students maximum exposure to a wide range of periods. A variety of teaching methods are used that combine the traditional with the new; we are always looking to invigorate our lessons. This department has teachers that are recognised as being amongst the best in the country in their subject; between them they work regularly with Gifted & Talented students from across the country, have delivered workshops to other History teachers at the annual Historical Association and Schools’ History Project Conferences, written textbooks for GCSE and A Level and been involved in shaping the content and assessment style of the new AQA GCSE.
All students are regularly assessed by their teachers. GCSE students are entered for external exams in Year 11. ‘A’ Level students are entered for external exams in Year 13.
All students are encouraged to read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction. Teachers will highlight books that relate to the relevant teaching and learning at different stages in the year.
History is compulsory at Key Stage 3 and optional at GCSE and ‘A’ Level.
Key Stage 3
History at Key Stage 3 aims to build on the good work the Primary schools start. Students come to us to begin a chronological, thematic and enquiry-based study of the period from 1066 to the present. We want the students to be able to evaluate sources, formulate arguments, judge historical interpretations and most of all enjoy their History.
Key Stage 4
We follow the AQA GCSE History specification. This course enables students to study different aspects of the past so they can engage with key issues such as conflict, understand what drives change and how the past influences the present. We believe the GCSE course provides a range of exciting topics for today’s world that will resonate with students and help them to gain new insights into the world around them.
Below is an overview of the topics we cover:
Section A: Understanding the Modern World
America, 1920–1973: Opportunity and inequality
Conflict and Tension 1894 – 1918
Section B: Shaping the Nation
Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day
Norman England c1066 – c1100
Sixth Form: Years 12 and 13
History is a very popular option in the Sixth Form. The topics chosen at ‘A’ Level seek to offer something different to History at GCSE. Students study the OCR specification made up of four units:
British Study: The Early Stuarts and the Origins of the Civil War 1603–1660
Non-British Study: The Crusades and Crusader States 1095-1192
Thematic Study: Popular Culture and the Witch Craze of the 16th and 17th Centuries
A History qualification shows that you have the following important transferable skills:
- The ability to absorb and analyse (break down) large amounts of different types of information.
- The ability to discriminate and evaluate (make supported judgements and arguments).
- The ability to make a persuasive case.
- The ability to understand, compare and contrast different interpretations of causes and consequences.
- The ability to express your ideas in writing.
These skills are used in many different types of careers which is why students of History work in many fields- not just in teaching History! Through discussions and written work, History students develop the analytical and communication skills vital to any career. When you are writing essays you are learning a valuable apprenticeship for drafting reports and papers that are routinely required in most professions.
In addition to this, learning about the past and the shaping of the world and your society is enjoyable and can help to make you a better, more rounded individual. It helps you to become an individual with a mind of your own, a critical, thinking person. An individual who is aware of their rights, how hard it was to win them in the first place and how easily they are lost; therefore a person more aware of their own responsibilities.
According to ‘Which’ magazine: “Historians are regarded as having had an education that trains their minds to assemble, organise and present facts and opinions and this is a very useful quality in many walks of life and careers. History is an excellent preparation for very many jobs.’’
Career opportunities supported by this subject:
Historians go into a wide variety of careers. These include law, administration and management (particularly in local and national government positions), journalism and the heritage industry. As you can see, we don’t all become History teachers!