Our aim as a department is to create and foster a passion among our students to investigate questions in the past and how these relate to the modern world of today in a challenging environment. As well as learning about what happened in the past, history is essential to develop skills such as interpretation, research, analysis and evaluation, abilities that are essential at university and in the work place.
At the end of Key Stage 3, all students will have developed these skills through a variety of learning methods with use of mediums such as ICT, music, drama, audio and visual resources, debates, and a wide range of texts.
The topics that are studied at KS3 give a good understanding of the important themes that have shaped the United Kingdom and much of the world.
We study the medieval and early modern ages (1066-1603) in England in year 7, considering historiographical debates such as ‘Why did William of Normandy become King of England?’ and ‘How did England end up breaking with the Catholic Church?’ We also study source based activities such as ‘How did Thomas Becket die?’ and ‘Why did Henry really dissolve the monasteries?’ We also visit Mountfichet Castle to start the year in conjunction with studying the Norman Conquest. This builds on the students' enquiry and resilience.
In Year 8, we build on the skills developed in Year 7 and move on to more modern topics, such as the British Empire where we examine different experiences in the colonies such as in India, Australia and the USA. We also spend time examining the slave trade, from the British, American and African side. We participate in a trip to the Somme, including heritage sites such as renovated trenches and the Thiepval war memorial, to spur off investigations into the 20th century, looking at World War 1, the inter-war year and World War 2.
In Year 9, we carry out depth studies to compliment the Integrated Learning programme. The topics include the steps that led to women gaining the vote in Britain; an examination of the Holocaust and why this terrible event happened; and finally an enquiry of Jack the Ripper. These topics are meant to engage the students, as well as developing and cultivating their independence and higher-order thinking to move onto GCSE. We then start the GCSE in Year 9 due to the increased content.
History is one of the most popular choices in the school to carry on to GCSE. The varied topics and assignments continue to encourage independent learning and enable the students to develop many valuable skills. At GCSE, we follow the new AQA GCSE History specification (http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/history/gcse/history-8145), and in year 10 we study topics towards both the Paper 1 and Paper 2 exams. The first topic we complete is a period study of the USA from 1920 to 1973, encompassing the boom and bust, the effects of WW2 on the USA, and the turbulent post-war period of McCarthyism, the Civil Rights movement and the 'Great Society'. We then go on to examine Restoration England from 1660-1685, focusing on the major aspects of Charles II’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints of this period and arising contemporary and historical controversies. Within this topic is an examination of a historical environment relevant to the period, which in 2019 is Ham House and in 2020 is the Battle of Medway.
The final two depth studies carry similar skills but are very different in content. The first looks at Conflict and Tension in Asia from 1950-1975, mostly examining the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War in Asia and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions which arose. The last topic we study is a thematic study that will enable students to gain an understanding of the development of the relationship between the citizen and the state in Britain over a long period of time. This period covers from c.1170 to the present day and charts the journey from feudalism and serfdom to democracy and equality, and reveals how, in different periods, the state responds to challenges to its authority and their impact. All of this work then leads to two 1 hour 45 minute exams that are both worth 50% of the final mark.
Years 7 to 9 are assessed during lessons but principally through termly key assessments which could be essays or projects.
Year 10s and 11s are assessed by using past examination questions, as well as frequent topic assessments to help them practice timed responses. The students take two 1 hour 45 minute exams at the end of Year 11 to get their final grade.
Post 16 at WG6
The History Department at WG6 has a long tradition of getting above average value added scores at A-level and is one of the most chosen subjects in the school. Although students are guided and tracked in the subject, they are encouraged to learn in a variety of ways with independent research in a more university seminar style, with the ultimate aim of becoming historians.
Nearly every job is open to you …. From retail to management, from judge to lawyer, from journalism to presenting, from banking to accountancy, from ICT to economist, from politician to diplomacy, from secretary to librarian, from army to navy, from police to the civil service, from teaching to lecturing, from sales to advertising, from counsellor to social worker, from youth work to care services….