History is a thriving department in the school and a popular choice for GCSE and A-Level. We aim to engage and inspire students through the telling of great stories, while developing their ability to critically evaluate historical interpretations. We encourage learners to think independently and creatively to answer some of the big questions in world history.
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Key Stage 3
Y7: In Y7 pupils are asked to assess why William won the Battle of Hastings, investigate how Castles emerged and developed over time, judge the success of Owain Glyndwr’s Welsh Rebellion and evaluate the usefulness of medieval cures for the Black Death. Would putting a chicken’s bum on a pustule really work?
Y8: In Y8 pupils consider the causes and consequences of Henry VIII’s ‘Great Matter’ – wanting a son. They attempt to justify the execution of the troublesome Mary Queen of Scots and put Guy Fawkes on trial to decide whether he was framed by the king.
Y9: In Y9 pupils put themselves in the shoes of a slave, taken from Africa to the Americas, examine life for children during the Industrial Revolution in Wales and evaluate the causes of the First World War – something about Archie Duke and an Ostrich (to quote Blackadder).
We also run an extra-curricular club for those that can’t get enough history!
Key Stage 4
For GCSE we follow the OCR Modern World History course. It is a diverse, exciting qualification with topics ranging from gangsters and ‘prohibition’ during the Roaring Twenties in America, through the Russian Revolution and the mysterious ‘Mad Monk’ Rasputin to the fight for women’s suffrage in the 1910s that saw Emily Davison step in front of the King’s horse during the Epsom Derby.
The course develops students’ ability to apply their own knowledge, critically assess historical evidence and formulate historical opinions.
Paper 1: USA, 1919-41 and Cold War, 1945-75; written exam - 2hrs, 45% GCSE
This paper tests students’ knowledge and understanding of a range of 20th century topics.
Paper 2: Britain, 1896-1919; written exam – 1hr30m, 30% GCSE
This is a source-based paper, designed to test students’ ability to evaluate historical evidence.
Controlled Assessment: Russia in Revolution, 1904-24, 25% GCSE
Students study the topic in depth and then have 8 hours in class to write a 2000 word essay answer to a question set by the exam board.
Key Stage 5
We are very successful in KS5, where we again follow the OCR Modern History A-Level course. It is a varied course that in AS enables learners to interpret sources on social reform in 19th century Britain and write an essay assessing the successes of Mao Tse-tung in the 1949 Chinese revolution. At A2 students develop their historical skills further with coursework that considers a range of historical interpretations and an exam that explores historical themes.
AS F962: Rise of China, 1911-90 – essay-based paper
AS F963: Condition of England – source-based paper
A2 F965: Interpretations and Investigations: The Vietnam War - coursework
A2 F966: Historical Themes: The Civil Rights Movement in America – themes paper