To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?
Marcus Tullius Cicero, Orator
In the History Department all the teachers have a passion for their subject which we hope we pass on to our students. We believe that it is every young person’s right to have a knowledge of the past, as a foundation of the contemporary world. A sense of history enables young people to locate themselves and to appreciate their inherited culture and language. We believe that students will learn most when their interest and imagination is captured and when they can see how the past affects their world.
There is a strong tradition of varied teaching and learning styles in the department. We use role play, debate, research and self-supported study, student presentations, graphic and ICT work. We employ a wide variety of resources, never relying on a single textbook. Instead we make use of a very large resource bank, created by the department, and DVD and website material, to complement the use of published texts.
History is taught in two specialist rooms, each containing PowerPoint and video. There is access to 15 laptop computers, situated on the Humanities landing, with wireless Internet connection. Extensive use is also made of the Learning Resource Centre, which contains a large collection of books, particularly for the Sixth Form and a Sixth Form study centre with computers.
In Year 8 students are taught National Curriculum units on Britain 1500 – 1750, Black Peoples of the Americas, the Rise of Napoleon and the Development of the British Empire.
In Year 9 students are taught National Curriculum units on Britain 1750 – 1900, with a special study of the British Empire and the Navy, the Twentieth Century, a depth study on the fall of Tsarism in Russia, and a study of the Second World War.
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GCSE History provides vital information on the nature and formation of the modern world. This is invaluable in any chosen career.
The course consists of four units, which, taken together, follow several themes through the twentieth century:
The last unit is taken as a Controlled Assessment, worth 25% of the final mark.
In 2009 69% of students achieved A*/A
We begin with Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century – a world power with a vast empire facing the challenges at home of women’s rights, poverty and the responsibilities of government. We then explore Britain’s role in World War One, focusing on the battles of the Western Front and the life on the Home Front. We then study worker unrest and the changing status of British women to the end of the 1920s. A parallel domestic struggle is then examined focusing on the Black Civil Rights movement in the United States, which will help to develop an appreciation of the significance of Barack Obama’s election as President.
The First World War provides a link with the causes and consequences of the Russian Revolution and the establishment of a Communist dictatorship under Stalin. The contrasts between British democracy and Soviet totalitarianism provide a context to the Cold War topic from 1943, when the marriage of convenience between the American-led Western democracies and the U.S.S.R. in fighting Nazism developed into growing hostility. There was a widespread fear in the Western World that Communism might take over everywhere, particularly as Stalin had increased his influence and tightened his grip over most of Eastern Europe immediately after the Second World War. This fear led to the development of the Cold War, a theme covered in Unit 1. The Cold War was largely a war of words and threats between the two superpowers, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R..
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At AS, students study the AQA History syllabus with units on Britain 1625 - 42 and Tsarist Russia 1855 – 1917. This course gives students the chance to study two contrasting regimes at vitally important times in their histories. The birth of parliamentary democracy in Britain is contrasted with the autocratic regimes of Tsarist Russia which failed to develop as a democracy.
At A2 students are examined on two units. The first is on the British Monarchy 1642 – 1689 (the English Civil Wars to the Glorious Revolution). Secondly, they also undertake a historical enquiry of 3,500 words based on a theme in German history (nationalism and leadership, foreign policy, intolerance towards diversity or culture) covering a hundred year period between 1812 and 1949. Within these broad areas a certain amount of choice of investigation is possible.
Sixth Form students run an active History Society which organises lectures and events and teaching staff run an informal Sixth Form History Forum to prepare students for the rigours of the subject at university.
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There are five teachers in the History Department. These are:
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The History Department held a Britain in the 1960’s Conference for girls in year 11 studying history for GCSE. The purpose of the day was to give us an understanding of the topic ready to complete a piece of coursework.
We all turned up in the morning excited about the day and dressed for the occasion. Mr Franklin talked first about Political Change in the 1960’s. He gave us information about Britain and its African colonies – “The Winds of Change,” – Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1965, impacts that the loss of empire had on Britain, The Profumo Affair 1963 and finally, the Labour government and new laws.
This was promptly followed by ‘Quiz Time’. The answers to the quiz could be found on displays in the hall, in our coursework booklets, or from the information given in the talks.
Then Mr Lane continued with the talks. His topic was ‘Did the 1960’s harm the nation?’ He included the definition of culture, different views of history, laws which were passed, root causes of change, and long term social trends which seemed to come from the 1960’s.
After break Dr Ellerby gave his talk on TV, Cinema and Theatre in the 1960’s. This included details about the 40’s-50’s, 1960’s TV, Cinema and Theatre, and Mary Whitehouse and the reaction to the permissive society. Another quiz time followed.
The final talk of the day was by Mrs Hutchinson on Popular Music in the 1960’s. The aims of this talk were to examine the influence of popular music in the Sixties, consider whether popular music was a force for good or harm, and to question whether the effects were long-lasting or temporary. The talk focused on bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, and also John Lennon, The Mod Sound, Protest Songs and The Drug Scene. We had a chance to listen to many popular songs from the 1960’s including songs from The Beach Boys.
During our lunch break there was live music on stage. This included a duet by Mr Petrus and Mrs Beardsley, a Bob Dylan song by Mr Lane, and a guitar solo by Duncan Petrus – Mr Petrus’ son.
In the afternoon, we made posters to answer the important question, did the 1960’s do more harm than good? While we were working we watched a film which included many famous musicians from the 1960’s called “Rock and Roll Circus.” This was a chance to think about what we had learnt throughout the day, and come to our own conclusions about the effects of the Sixties on Britain.
At the end of the day a prize was awarded for the best dressed which went to Amy Leyland. Overall it was an extremely enjoyable, interesting and worthwhile day.
By Emma Tomberry 11K
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The History Department believes educational visits are an essential element of enthusing students with an interest in, and understanding of, the past. Currently all Year 9 students visit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to study the development of naval technology in the context of industrialisation and Empire, almost the entire cohort of Year 10 visit the Battlefields of Ypres and the Somme on a four day residential, and Year 12 have the opportunity to participate in a residential trip to the sites associated with Oliver Cromwell in East Anglia focusing on landscape archaeology and museums.
There have been trips to the USA, Australia and Russia in recent years. Innovative, inspiring new trips are currently being planned for future years.
For more details see the trips page.
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