The study of history is nothing less than the study of humanity itself. Why we are who we are is the most fundamental question we can ask of ourselves. It is to the past we must look to answer this question and it is from the past that we can learn to build the future.
History is about more than knowing what happened, it is about gaining the skills to explain why it did. The study of history teaches you to reason and justify your point of view through argument and evidence. It also helps you to respect other traditions beyond your own. Finally, it teaches you to question what someone tells you: why they are saying it and what they stand to gain from your response. In other words, it teaches you to think for yourself. As the 16th century French economist Jean Bodin stated, `The study of History is the beginning of wisdom.’
Our curriculum aims to develop an in-depth understanding of a range of significant periods in British, European and World History. We also place great emphasis on the development of written expression and essay writing, while also developing the transferable skills of evaluation, analysis, and interpretation.
History is taught throughout the key stages in mixed ability groups. The department promotes the enjoyment of History through a variety of teaching methods and it is a very popular option at GCSE and A Level. There are four specialist History teachers in the department, two of whom also teach Government and Politics at A Level. The department is well stocked with a wide range of textbooks and audio-visual resources and all three History classrooms are equipped with interactive white boards.
Key Stage 3
Students in Years 7 -9 follow established National Curriculum units of study. In Year 7 they start with an introductory unit based on what is history and the development of historical skills. Students then study aspects of Medieval Britain from 1066 to 1485, including a module on the Crusades. In Year 8 they study aspects of British history in the Early Modern period to 1900, including an in-depth investigation of the Atlantic slave trade. They complete the year with a module on immigration over the past 2000 years. This covers the different groups of people who have settled in Britain, the contribution immigrants have made and on exploration of what it means to be British. In Year 9 students investigate aspects of 20th century world history, including the two World Wars and the Holocaust. They also cover local history by investigating the impact of war on the local area.
Key Stage 4
Students follow the Edexcel A syllabus Modern World History. This is examined in four modules each worth 25%, one of which is a controlled assessment taken in class. The modules are:
- The USA 1919 -1941. This covers Boom and Bust, the New Deal and many social aspects such as prohibition and the Ku Klux Klan.
- International Relations 1943-1991. This covers why the Cold War developed, three Cold War crises (Berlin, Cuba and Czechoslovakia) and why it ended.
- War and the transformation of British society 1931-1951. This includes the Depression, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, the Home Front, the Beveridge Report and the formation of the NHS.
- Government and protest in the USA 1945-1970. This controlled assessment includes civil rights, anti-Vietnam War protests, the women’s movement and the role of key individuals such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.
Key Stage 5
The current A Level history follows the AQA syllabus. Students study 16th century British and European history and the modules have been chosen to complement each other to enhance students’ understanding of events and key issues.
From September new students will follow the Edexcel syllabus, covering:
- Luther and the Reformation in Europe 1500 – 1564 on the break with Rome in the heart of the Holy Roman Empire.
- Sixteenth Century England from Henry V to Elizabeth I, together with an exploration of how far there was a Mid-Tudor crisis in the regions of Edward VI and Mary I.
- Ireland and the Union 1774 - 1923, covering the Irish struggle for constitutional change and Anglo-Irish relations.
- Coursework essay to be completed in 2016/17
Students in the final year of the current A2 study one exam-based module, ‘The Triumph of Elizabeth 1547-1603’. They also produce a personal study based on an enquiry of their choice from the module on the Golden Age of Spain. This is an excellent opportunity for them to develop their independent study and research skills.
In Years 12 and 13 students also take part in a series of workshops, lectures and tours at the National Portrait Gallery, Tower of London and Hampton Court.