History not only teaches students about our past, it also helps them understand how real people have behaved in many different situations and how we can use evidence to find out about why things happened. We try to encourage our students in the important skills of expressing themselves clearly and confidently and of independent learning and motivation.
In accordance with the new National Curriculum we teach the broad sweep of British history, focusing on how Britain developed as a nation from 1066 right through to the present day. Topics from the period 1066-1509 include the Norman Conquest, relations between England, Scotland and Wales, the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, King John and the Magna Carta, the Feudal System, how the Church was organised, the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. These will be studied in Year 7, along with the history of England from the Stone Age to the Roman invasion of Britain.
The second period studied is 1509-1745. Topics include the English Reformation and how Henry VIII and his children, particularly Elizabeth I, dealt with Church issues, the Civil War of the 1640s, life under Cromwell, the Glorious Revolution and how England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland united during this period. We also include a short study of the witchcraft trials of this period. These will be studied in Year 8, along with a local history study on Lady Ann Clifford.
The third section is 1745-1901. Topics here include Britain’s role in the Slave Trade, how the Industrial Revolution impacted on British society, the changes in voting and elections that occurred during this period, and the development and impact of the British Empire, with a focus on India. This will also be studied in Year 8 but will continue into Year 9.
Our final period is a world-wide 20th century one, dealing with the causes of the First World War, life in the trenches, the impact of the Treaty of Versailles, life in Britain during World War Two, the development of the Cold War and Britain’s role in that. Finally we discover 20th Century American history: the Civil Rights Movement. Both these periods are studied in Year 9.
We have a very solid GCSE uptake, with topics chosen by past students. One of these topics is Crime, Punishment and Protest from 1000 to present-day, and includes the study of different crimes throughout time, and their cause, policing, trials and courts, and punishments over time. It also includes an in-depth study of Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders of 1888; why the environment helped these crimes to happen. Students also study the impact of the Whites moving across America in the 1800s and why they settled firstly in the West, then on the Plains, and how this affected the Native Americans already there. The topics here include cowboys and ranchers, railroads, the gold rush, law and order in the ‘Wild West’ and homesteaders. New to 2016 is Anglo-Saxon and Norman England where students study the last Saxon king of England as well as what life was like in Saxon England. They also look at the causes and results of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Finally, also new for 2016, students study Weimar Germany: life in Germany after World War I and during the Depression, the rise of Hitler and life in Nazi Germany until 1939.
At A-level, students currently study Edward the Confessor, the last Saxon king of England, the Norman Conquest up to 1107 in Year 12, (the start of modern Britain), along with the development of Russia, from the last Tsar of Russia, through the Russian Revolution to Stalin. In Year 13, students choose an essay title to research for an extended project of their choice. They will also be studying American domestic politics, focusing on the Civil Rights Movements of the Blacks, Native Americans, Women and Trade Unions.
We learn about History through a variety of techniques, including group-work, wall displays, role-plays, etc. We also hold a Roman Day in November for Year 7 where students get to make Roman food, create Roman art and meet a ‘Roman’ soldier. In Year 8 we visit Beamish Open Air Museum to aid our study of the changes the Industrial Revolution brought to Britain. In the past we have also visited Leeds Armoury and Liverpool Slave Museum in Year 7 and Brougham Castle in Year 7, and we have run a successful trip to the WW1 Battlefields in 2015 for Year 10 which we hope to continue.