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Studying History helps to explain the world we live in today and develops important skills for life. It is also fascinating to learn about people in the past: their problems, what motivated them and the consequences of their actions. We promote the enjoyment of History through stimulating, varied and accessible teaching, as well as by providing extended curriculum opportunities at all key stages. We aim to develop a life-long love of History that will continue and extend beyond academic study.

As our students learn about exciting historical events they are also developing essential skills for adult life. They are constantly encouraged to develop enquiring minds: to question the causes and results of historical events; to assess how change occurs and why some things stay the same; to understand the past from the perspectives of contemporaries and historians; and to develop their own theories through the analysis of a wide range of historical sources. Our History courses equip students with an understanding of modern society: the origins of key institutions; political, social, cultural and religious issues; and their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the 21st century.

At present there are six History teachers in the Department, three of whom also teach Government and Politics. History is taught by these specialists as a popular subject throughout the school. We use Twitter as a way of communicating relevant and appropriate resources to the students, @wggshistorydept .

KS3 (Years 7 – 9)

During years 7-9, after introducing the discipline of History to the girls, we focus our work on the overarching questions that take in British, European and World history between 1066 and 1994. Girls undertake regular assessments that model GCSE History examinations so that they are developing the key skills of a historian, as well as gaining an understanding of the most significant events and individuals through time.

In Year 7 our key questions are:

  • What are the tools of the historian’s trade?
  • How were medieval societies affected by invasion?
  • Who had power in the Middle Ages?
  • What was important to people in the Middle Ages?
  • What was life like for people in the Middle Ages?

In Year 8 our key questions are:

  • How did new ideas about religion change society?
  • Why was there a shift in power during this period 1485-1660?
  • What was life like for people in the Early Modern period?
  • How did the Slave Trade emerge and what was its impact?
  • Why was there a revolution in farming and industry?

In Year 9 our key questions are:

  • Why and with what consequences did nations gain empires?
  • Was the 20th century a Century of Conflict?
  • Why wasn’t WW1 the war to end all wars?
  • Who was the most significant individual of the 20th century?
  • Why didn’t the world learn from its previous mistakes?

a)Causes of WW2
b) Hiroshima & Genocides

KS4 (Years 10-11)

We are excited to introduce a new syllabus for GCSE from teaching September 2016. We follow the AQA History syllabus. The girls take two exam papers. Our lessons cover topics that are relevant to current British, European and worldwide political issues and we find that the girls are able to make extensive links between their studies and what is going on in the world around them.

The topics that we cover are;

Conflict and tension, 1918-1939

  • Peacemaking
  • The League of Nations and international peace
  • The origins and outbreak of the Second World War

Germany, 1890-1945: Democracy and dictatorship

  • Germany and the growth of Democracy
  • Germany and the Depression
  • The experiences of Germans under the Nazis

Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day

  • Medicine stands still (Middle Ages)
  • The beginnings of change (Renaissance to Jenner)
  • A revolution in medicine (Germ theory to 19th century public health)
  • Modern medicine (impact of war, modern public health)

Elizabethan England, c1568-1603

  • Elizabeth’s court and Parliament
  • Life in Elizabethan times
  • Troubles at home and abroad
  • The historic environment of Elizabethan England (includes a specific site study)

You can find out full details about the GCSE from the specification available on this website;

KS5 (Years 12 and 13)

In Years 12 & 13 we provide a stimulating and diverse academic study of History, following the AQA History syllabus. From September 2016 all students will be assessed by two exam papers at the end of a two year course, in addition to a substantial piece of independent investigation primarily in Year 13 which prepares them well for the demands of a university degree in any subject.

For one exam paper, all students study the Tudors 1485-1603 as their breadth study. For the second paper, they will study either Revolution or dictatorship: Russia, 1917-1953 or The American Dream: reality and illusion, 1945-1980 as their depth study.

You can find out full details about the A-Level from the specification available on this website;

Extended-curricular opportunities

In Year 7, we visit St Albans as part of our enquiry into life in Medieval Villages. The Year 8 students go to the Museum of London to investigate the chronology of the 16th and 17th centuries. Our Year 9 girls have an opportunity to visit the First World War battlefields in Belgium and France for three days and all Year 9 students visit the National Army Museum to research a project on WW1, which is used for part of their Key Stage 3 assessment.

Year 11-13 have the option of going on a joint bi-annual Religious Studies, History & Politics trip to Washington DC to deepen their understanding of American History & Politics. We also offer revision study trips for the breadth and depth studies at A-Level.

Regular master classes and extra-curricular opportunities exist for girls throughout the school from Year 7 History Club through to Sixth Form lectures on the nature of History through History Society.

We are very proud in the department to be running an ongoing World War One newspaper called The Frontline. This mirrors the key events of 100 years ago and provides an opportunity for a modern take on some of the most significant issues from the war. The newspaper is created and produced by sixth form students under the supervision of the department. Current and past editions can be found on the homepage of the school website.