In the Senior School the History course is, above all, concerned to develop a love of the subject and of the critical disciplines it fosters.
In the Third Form it provides an introduction to some of the principal historical developments of the first half of the 20th century, from the origins of the First World War to the growth of fascism in Germany. The History GCSE course then considers the making of our modern world through a study of some of the most significant developments in British, European and World History since the 13th century.
In this light, a keen interest in current affairs will help considerably at GCSE.
Throughout the GCSE course, the Department nurtures pupil learning, which is critically informed by independent research. For instance, school essay prizes and national history essay competitions, such as the Historical Association’s Young Historian Project, are used to foster learning grounded in well-read independent research.
Dr Damian Kerney
Head of History
About the Curriculum
In the Third Form the History lessons firstly focus on a study of the origins, course and end of the First World War. A close study of the history of the USA and Russia in the 1920s and 1930s is then followed by a consideration of the growth of fascism in Germany and the origins of the Second World War. This course cements and extends the historical skills learned at CE level, and helps develop a platform of historical understanding in preparation for the GCSE course.
During the Fourth and Fifth Forms, the Edexcel History GCSE (1H10) course considers in depth Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and examines closely London during the Second World War. It analyses the ways in which international relations developed during the Cold War, as well as assessing the ways in which warfare has helped transform British society from the 13th century to the present day. It also includes a focus on the reign of Henry VIII.
The GCSE comprises three examination papers, all taken in the Fifth Form:
- Paper 1 - Thematic study and historic environment: Warfare and British society, c 1250 – present and London and the Second World War, 1939-45 (Paper Code 1H10/12)
- Paper 2 - Period study and British depth study: Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-91 (Paper Code 1H10 26/27); and Henry VIII and his ministers, 1509-40 (Paper Code 1H10 B3)
- Paper 3 - Modern depth study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39 (Paper Code 1H10/31)
The Department is actively committed to creating a positive learning environment in which all students are enabled to achieve to the very best of their abilities. To this end, passionate and scholarly teaching, positively directed marking, a full programme of co-curricular activities, and a caring ‘open door’ philosophy in support of the differentiated needs of all students are designed to foster achievement. We have created a new Third Form iPad textbook to cultivate the skills of self-driven independent learning from the very start of the Senior School.
In order to further extend the skills of independent research and reading, vital to success at GCSE and beyond, the Department actively encourages the pupils to read widely around the subject and to enter a problem-centred essay on a topic of their own choice for the Ken Shearwood Essay Prize. They are also encouraged to read a paper on their subject to the Senior School History Society. There is also an active programme of activities beyond the classroom to extend the pupils’ learning. For instance, during the Lent term GCSE students have been offered the opportunity of study visits, such as the trip to the Imperial War Museum to further their understanding of the transforming role of war in British Society. Moreover, the Department serves to extend an understanding of History through its contribution to the Scholars’ programme.