History and Government and Politics
Head of Department: Mr J W Dunn BA (Birmingham)
The principal objective of the Department is to enthuse all students with an appreciation and love of History, in the hope that they too will fully engage with the past and seek to become the next generation of "historical salvagers" (Norman Davies).
History is offered at all levels throughout the school and Government and Politics may be studied at AS and A2.
The IGCSE History course (Edexcel) concentrates on 20th Century World History, enhancing and developing the main studies of the M4 year. At A-Level (OCR), Historians study a wide range of English and World History from the 16th and 17th centuries up to the present day. They also have the opportunity to pursue individual enthusiasms in depth in their coursework investigation.
Government and Politics students follow the Edexcel course, which explores British and US politics and society. This dynamic course gives pupils the opportunity to explore and analyse the latest events in current affairs as well as examine the complex legal and political systems which govern how democracies in the United Kingdom and the United States work. Every other year there is a department-led trip to Washington to find out, first hand, the condition of democracy in the United States.
The Department has attractive modern classrooms in the Mackinder Building where students benefit from exceptionally well resourced IT and research facilities. There are thriving History and Politics societies and students enjoy a varied programme of lectures, conferences and visits to Parliament.
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Year 7/Third Form
Year 8/Lower Fourth
Students follow an enquiry lead course, exploring the stories of the Middle Ages through to Early Modern Britain. The examination of monarchs, their dynasties and their wars provides the perfect opportunity to allow pupils to develop their written skills, to enhance the quality of the conclusion they draw and introduces them to the skills of source interpretation.
Year 9/Middle Fourth
In this two year course (Edexcel IGCSE) pupils being their study by looking at the USA between the Wars. They then address America after World War Two and assess whether it truly was a ‘divided union'. The U4 course is complemented by an annual visit to Georgia and Alabama where students investigate the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 1960s.
In the 5th Form, students study the ‘Development of Dictatorship in Germany 1918-45'. This provides a stark contrast to the final module which explores the history of China in the twentieth century.
This course is made up of two examinations of 90 minutes each. There is no coursework.
Students follow the OCR specification. All students study the early Tudors 1485-1588, Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964 and an element of US History. Currently this includes Westward Expansion and Civil War c.1803-1890 or The Cold War in Europe 1945-91. Students also complete a personal investigation (coursework) on a topic of their choice. This involves selecting and critically evaluating a range of primary and secondary sources to come to an informed judgement. All four modules are studied across both years giving a truly progressive unit of study.
AS/A2 Government and Politics
A related, but not overlapping, A Level is (Edexcel) Government and Politics, popular both with historians and with pupils from all other disciplines. Politics at AS centres on political activity in UK society, for example pressure groups, parties and elections, and on UK political institutions such as Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Civil Service and the Judiciary. At A2 the two main courses (Units 3C and 4C) centre on American society and government looking, in parallel terms to the AS (UK) modules, at how representative and how popular American government is.
Head of Department
Mr J W Dunn BA (Birmingham)
Department Teaching Staff
Mr C Blackmore BA (Southampton)
Mr A J Bustard BA (Swansea)
Mr M C Conway MA (Cantab)
Mr L C Fisher BA (Cantab), MA (King's College, London)
Ms L Hopkins BA (Royal Holloway)
The purpose-built History Department has its own History Library, complete with IWB, and great potential for display and information gathering. All classrooms are fully equipped with Smartboards and Apple TV. The department also has access to two complete class sets of iPads.
We have a long tradition of taking 46 pupils to the First World War Battlefields each summer half-term. We visit the Ypres Salient, the sites of the battles on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and Vimy Ridge. We witness the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate at Ypres, the In Flanders Fields museum and St George's Church (where there is a College memorial).
In 2017 we will be taking our first group to Georgia and Alabama to visit Atlanta, Montgomery and Selma. The itinerary includes visits to the Martin Luther King Centre, the Civil Rights Memorial Centre and the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Years 12 and 13
We take students to Washington every other year to coincide with the US election cycle. From 2017 we will complement these tours with a European visit in the alternate years.
Further Education and Career Prospects
Pupils have success in entry to Oxford and Cambridge but most use History to provide a broad general knowledge of international events, people and politics which enables them to enter a variety of university courses. Indeed, given the inherent skills of analysis and prose construction that are so pivotal in our discipline, many continue to study History at university level with a view to careers in Law or Journalism.