History

The History Department seeks to foster a love of the subject throughout the school. We are committed to teaching in a lively and stimulating way that allows all students to flourish. We use a wide variety of approaches to help students to acquire skills of critical and independent thinking, innovation, research and written and evidential skills. Most importantly, we hope to inculcate a lifelong interest in the study of the past.

Over three-quarters of the School take History at GCSE and nearly half of the School continue the subject at A level. We run a wide variety of extra-curricular trips and societies to complement the subject, including both Junior and Senior History Societies. In the last few years these have included visits to the First World War battlefields in Belgium and France, Normandy and Russia as well as day trips to sites such as Warwick Castle, the Imperial War Museums and the Chalke Valley History Festival, to name a sample. There is a particularly wide range of opportunities for extension work around the subject, with a number of internal History competitions for different year groups and an active programme of historical events and opportunities. Both in and outside of the classroom we prize the intellectual rigour and limitless possibilities of our subject and the hard-working and enthusiastic nature of our students.

UIII-UIV

History is compulsory in UIII-UIV and students have the opportunity to explore broad themes of continuity and change in Britain and the world from the earliest medieval times to 1918. Our course aims to explore concepts of cause and consequence, drawing links and parallels across different periods and times. Girls are taught a range of skills, including source evaluation and essay writing, and are strongly encouraged to form independent opinions about the significance of past events and ideas. Key subjects at UIII are medieval kingship, including a taste of medieval Chinese history, and ordinary life in an imaginary medieval English village. We examine the relationships of kings and their subjects, such as Henry II's quarrel with Thomas Becket or King John's quarrels with his barons leading to Magna Carta and how far the Black Death was a cause of the Peasants' Revolt. In LIV we study the European Renaissance and then Tudor and Stuart Britain. We look at how far ideas can change the course of history, considering what constitutes a revolution and looking at change over time between the reign of Henry VIII and the ‘break with Rome' to the causes of the Civil War. In UIV we examine the concepts of political, economic and social change and the forces that drove this c.1700-c.1900. This entails studies of the causes and nature of the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution, seeking to explain Britain became the first industrialised nation, the slave trade and its abolition and campaigns for greater suffrage, including the role of the Suffragists and Suffragettes. We explore the background to some significant issues currently faced by Europe today and aim to ease the transition to GCSE studies by considering the causes and nature of the First World War, particularly events on the Western Front.

GCSE

GCSE History is concerned with understanding the past and the interpretation and evaluation of evidence. We aim to provide students with a greater understanding of the modern world and to encourage the development of skills of argument, analysis, critical thinking, source interpretation and evaluation and the formation of balanced judgements. Key subjects for study are: Weimar and Nazi Germany 1919-1939, Britain between the 1930s and 1950s, civil rights in the USA c.1940-1980 and the Cold War 1943-1991. Students tend to find these courses stimulating and interesting both for themselves and for the greater level of understanding they give of current global issues.

A level

The aim of this course is to encourage students to think and read widely, selectively and critically in order to acquire knowledge and understanding of several different periods of the past. While doing this, they learn to use historical evidence and knowledge to form their own judgements and to develop and defend their opinions cogently both orally and on paper. Over the course students explore the significance of events, ideas, individuals and societies and by doing this gain greater understanding of the historical process. At AS level we study Stuart Britain and Communist Russia, both of which courses will continue at A level. In their UVI year students study a coursework programme on their choice of either the British Empire in India c.1845-1947 or the effects of the Norman Conquest on England c.1040-1154. Key individuals covered by the courses include James I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, James II, Lenin, Stalin, Gandhi and William the Conqueror, studying all of whom gives students a way into understanding how the past is constantly interpreted and re-represented, based on the evidence available and provisional judgement. We are proud that students with a wide variety of core subject interests pick this subject at A level and we feel that it should help provide them with both wisdom and some core analytical skills that should help them in any future endeavours as well as hopefully a lifelong interest in the past.