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Why Study History

The study of history is about much more than simply memorising the dates and deeds of famous figures! History is a chronicle of human behaviour - a real-life drama full of villains and heroes. It examines the circumstances that moved its players to transform people and places (for better and for worse), and it holds the answers to how and why our lives are fashioned the way they are today- from our language, fashion and technology, to our sports, political systems and religious practices.

History helps develop a range of skills including; looking beyond the headlines and appreciating inference, questioning viewpoints, thinking independently, supporting arguments with evidence and writing in a clear and organised way.

Department Aims

  • Develop pupils as individuals by studying controversial, moral and ethical questions of the past.

  • Create confident communicators who can present their ideas effectively and argumentatively, using historical evidence to support their judgements.

  • Enable pupils to make links across time and determine historically significant turning points.

  • Equip pupils with the research skills to be enquiring learners who independently carry out historical investigations.

  • Cultivate appreciation and empathy towards a broad range of viewpoints by understanding the motives behind them.

  • Empower pupils to sensitively challenge stereotypical or biased viewpoints by responding in an informed and critical way.

What We Study

Key Stage 3

In Year 8 pupils study five enquiries within a thematic study of POWER:

Unit 1- What is History? (Key concepts and definitions)
Unit 2- Why was there a fight for Kingship in 1066? (Claimants to the throne in 1066)
Unit 3- Why did the Normans win in 1066 and how did they keep control of Medieval England? (Battle of Hastings, Fuedal System, Doomsday Book and Castles)
Unit 4- What was life like for different types of people in Medieval society?
(Including Medieval Food, Housing and Crime and Punishment)
Unit 5- How was Medieval Power challenged between 1066 and 1381?
(Including Magna Carta, Black Death, Peasants’ Revolt)

In Year 9 pupils study six enquiries within thematic studies of RELIGION and PROTEST:

Unit 1- Why did the Reformation eventually divide Europe?
Unit 2- How di d the Tudors and Stuarts deal with religion?
Unit 3- Why did the Spanish Armada fail?
Unit 4- Why did Parliament and King end up fighting during the Civil War?
Unit 5- How did abolitionists attempt to end Slavery?
Unit 6- How successful were the Suffragettes in their campaign for the vote?

In Year 10 pupils study five enquiries within a thematic study of Nationalism and Conflict:

Unit 1- How and why did ‘Nationalism’ grow in 19th Century Ireland?
Unit 2- Why and how did Unionists oppose Home Rule?
Unit 3- How did Irish people respond to the ‘Great War’ 1914-1918 (WWI and the Easter Rising)
Unit 4- What were the Consequences of partition for Northern Ireland?
Unit 5- How did WWII affect peoples’ lives?

GCSE/Key Stage 4

We currently follow the CCEA History Specification for GCSE.

In Year 11 we study Unit 1 and pupils sit an exam worth 60% of their GCSE at the end of Year 11. This includes studying life in Nazi Germany (1933-1945) and Northern Ireland (1965-1998).
In Year 12 pupils study International Relations 1945-2003, including the development of the Cold War which is assessed in another exam at the end of Year 12 (worth 40% of GCSE).

AS Level/Key Stage 5

We currently follow the CCEA History Specification for A Level..

AS 1 (Historical investigations and interpretations)
Pupils study Germany 1918-1945 (50% of AS; 20% of A Level) and are assessed through a 1 hour 30 min exam which includes analysing source material.

AS 2 (Conflict and change in Europe)
Pupils study Russia 1914-1941 (50% of AS; 20% of A Level) and are assessed through a 1 hour 30 min exam.

A2 Level

A2 1 (Change over time)
Pupils study Clash of Ideologies in Europe 1900-2000 (20% of A Level) and are assessed through a 1 hr 15min exam.

A2 2 (Historical investigations and interpretations)
Pupils study Partition of Ireland 1900-1925 (40% of A Level) and are assessed through a  2 hr 30 min exam.


Mrs B McMaw MEd BA PGCE (Head of Department)

Miss F McKinley MEd BA PGCE PQH

Mr R Gorman MEd BA PGCE

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.

- Winston Churchill

Career Options

Given the skills you will develop through History, starting at Key Stage Three and beyond, employers of all kinds will be very interested in you.


In addition to teachers, archivists and museum curators, those who have studied history often find themselves working in occupations such as finance and management, consultancy work, radio and television, journalism, law, publishing, the arts, the Civil Service and other branches of public life.

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