History is not just about the past, learning dates or about different kings and queens. History is mainly concerned with how the past helps us to understand the present, as well as possible future developments in human society. It gives us an insight into human action and motivation and increases our understanding of other people from other places, times and cultures.
The skills it develops are incredibly relevant to world around us:
- Testing evidence
- Asking questions and interrogating information
- Building arguments
- Presenting ideas
- Writing in depth analysis and reports
- Interpreting different viewpoints
- Empathy and imagination
These skills are developed through the core historial skills of:
- Chronology – ordering time
- Sense of period – understanding the past
- Diversity – recognizing the complexity of the past
- Cause and consequence – looking at the reasons and results of events
- Similarity and difference – comparing, contrasting and discovering trends
- Significance – judging and analyzing why historical events are important
- Interpretations – looking at how other people see historical events
- Enquiry – asking questions and mounting your own investigation
- Source analysis – analyzing complex texts and making deductions
- Communication – sharing your ideas, questions and thoughts with others
The department follows the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8). This is largely focused on Britain, with some international studies as well and follows a chronological model.
In Year 7 we begin by studying the four house heroes (Boudicca, Kett, Nelson and Cavell), to decide who is the most significant in history. We then study the Middle Ages, covering topics such as The battle of Hastings, the Feudal System and Black Death. Later in the year we learn about the Tudors and Stuarts, ending with an in-depth study of Slavery.
In Year 8 we first study Revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries and peoples lives around 1900. We then cover the 20th century in depth; WW1, life in the 1920s and 1930s, WW2, the Holocaust and an in-depth study of Black Civil Rights in America.
Students may opt to follow a GCSE History course at Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11).
Year 9 students study the American West (1840- 1890) which focuses on the conflict between settlers and the native population as people of European descent drove across the USA in the 19th Century. Year 9 students also study the history of Medicine through the ages, focusing on the rate of progress made since the Middle Ages and some of the gruesome attempts to cure people!
Year 10 students study Anglo-Saxon and Norman England. This is an interesting period of change, with many familiar topics such as the Battle of Hastings and building castles.
Year 11 students study Germany 1919 -1939, which includes the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party and the lead up to World War 2.
At Key Stage 3, most homework tasks are in the form of short tasks or follow on tasks or preparatory work.
At Key Stage 4, the majority of homework tasks are follow-up work, preparation or examination questions.
Books, Equipment, Materials and Resources Recommended/Needed:
A good stationery set is required at Key Stage 3 and 4.
Revision guides will be provided by the department and will also be available on the VLE.
At Sixth Form, it is helpful if students can purchase their own copies of texts, although departmental copies are kept.
Opportunities for Study Beyond Key Stage 4
From September 2015, we will be teaching the new A levels. There will be no AS level and all exams will be taken at the end of the two year course.
In Year 12, we study Russia 1894 - 1941, covering the downfall of the Tsar, the Russian revolution and Lenin and Stalin. We will also study the later Tudors; Edward VI. Mary I and Elizabeth I. There will be an exam on each of these topics.
In Year 13, we study Witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. This unit is examined. Year 13 also complete an extended piece of coursework on the topic of the Holocaust.
Career Opportunities Supported by this Subject
History is still an academically respected subject as well as being highly valued and respected by employers who demand History students for the unique combination of skills they have gained during their studies.
Historical skills provide an excellent foundation for a number of popular careers. A knowledge of current affairs is useful for careers such as Journalism, Broadcasting, and the Civil and Diplomatic Service; historical skills like research are useful for careers in Law, Publishing, Management, and Librarianship and of course, careers where a knowledge of the past is important include Architecture, Archive Work, Heritage jobs, TV/Radio programme research, Conservation/Natural History.
A Level History combines well with Maths and Science subjects to create an attractive portfolio of qualifications, enabling students to move on to a university science based course. Combined with English, Sociology, Geography, Drama or a Modern Foreign Language, it would provide a good basis for an arts or languages based degree.