The History department sets high academic standards and achieves strong results in public examinations. In most years it sends one or more students to study history at Oxbridge colleges. The A level course follows the AQA specification. For the AS course students study units on The Development of Germany 1870-1925, and England, 1529-47, the Struggle for Control of the Church. No early modules are taken. The two exams are taken in June of the Lower Sixth. A2 students continue their study of Tudor Britain with a unit on The Triumph of Elizabeth, 1547-1603, which is examined in June. Unit 4 is a compulsory Historical Enquiry, a piece of extended research, to be submitted at the commencement of the Summer term (length 3000 words, plus a source appreciation survey of 500 words). This is completed within the study of an issue within a one hundred year context. We teach a course on Anti-Semitism, Hitler and the German People, 1845-1945, following which students research and write up their essays, under the supervision of their teacher. The Historical Enquiry is a good preparation for university, and is worth 20% of the A level marks (40% of A2).
GCSE students study International Relations, 1919-39 with Depth Studies on America, 1919-41 and Britain 1890-1918. The current Controlled Assessment on the Western Front, 1914-18, is completed in the Autumn term of the Fifth Form. This element is worth 25% of the marks.
History is compulsory in the first three years. First Form study themes from 'Medieval Realms: Britain, 1066-1485'. Second Form study aspects of The Making of the United Kingdom, 1485-1750 and Trade, Industry and Expansion, 1750-1900. The Third Form is devoted to study of the twentieth century, where we aim to introduce the GCSE course while avoiding overlap as much as possible. The department runs several study visits: the First World War Battlefields trip to Ypres and the Somme for GCSE students (an optional residential visit); a day visit to Quarry Bank cotton mill at Styal Bank, Cheshire in the Second Form; visits to Berlin (with the German department), and to Auschwitz and Krakow, for the Lower and Upper Sixth (optional residential visits); and visits to York Minster and Tudor sites in London (residential, subsidized) for English History (Lower and Upper Sixth respectively). There is a lively Historical Society which meets at lunchtime in the Autumn and Spring terms.
To see photographs from recent History trips click here