Year 7 start with a very ‘hands-on’ investigation of the
history of the school, involving looking at clues in buildings, plaques and
paintings and investigating further using maps, photographs and written
sources. In years 7-9 pupils explore
aspects of British History asking questions such as ‘Why did the barons rebel
against King John in 1216?’, ‘How did people’s lives change between 1500 and
1750?, ‘Was William Wilberforce the reason why the slave trade was abolished?’,
‘What were the experiences of soldiers on the Western Front during the First
World War?’, ‘How and why were Jewish people persecuted in Nazi Germany?’
The GCSE course includes several different aspects – a study
in long-term development using the history of medicine to explore changes through
time, an in-depth study of Nazi Germany and an exploration of the origins of
today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At
A Level we study the history of countries that play a key role in the modern
world, China, the USA and Russia, as well as exploring Britain’s developing
democracy and changing role of women from about 1860 to 1930.
The subject is a very popular option at GCSE, with two
groups of about 14 – 18 students each usually choosing to study History. A good number choose to take the subject
further; there are usually about eight students taking the subject to AS in the
LVI, of whom the majority choose to continue the subject into the UVI and complete
the full A Level course.
We have a regular pattern of trips that allow students to visualise
and experience parts of their History course.
Year 7 go to St Albans Abbey, where they assume the roles of
medieval monks and visit different parts of the Abbey. They learn about the strict routines of
monastic life and why many medieval people chose to become monks or nuns. Some produce their own illuminated lettering
in the scriptorium while others take part in a clay tile workshop.
Year 8 spend a day at the Black Country Museum, discovering
how the Industrial Revolution changed the way people lived and worked. Favourite activities include going down a
coal mine, experiencing a lesson in a Victorian schoolroom and enjoying the
fairground rides at lunchtime.
Year 9 will often visit somewhere associated with the Second
World War. This may be the Cabinet War
Rooms, the Imperial War Museum or the Britain at War experience.
Year 10 students studying the History of Medicine visit the
Old Operating Theatre Museum, which gives them a vivid insight into nineteenth
century surgery, and the Wellcome galleries at the Science Museum.