1  2

History Department

Aims of department    Information by years    How can I help my daughter?    Career progression    Trips and activities

The Team

Miss L O'Connell is Junior School History Co-ordinator. She teaches from Lower I to Upper II

Mr P Murphy teaches both History, and Government and Politics at A Level and is also Head of UCAS for the VI form.

Ms P Trybuchowska is Head of Department and Senior Form Mistress of Upper V and teaches History from Lower IV to Upper VI.

Mrs Catherine Lunn teaches Upper 2 - Lower 6 History and runsa the debating club.

Aims of department

  • To teach students with enthusiasm and develop in them an interest and enjoyment of the past which they will be able to take forward into a society in which understanding and protecting heritage has a central role.
  • To ensure that lessons are varied with good pace to provide a stimulating environment for historical enquiry and enable all students to learn and achieve. A sense of progress and achievement are important motivating factors.
  • To enable students to appreciate that History is primarily about people. We aim to provide pupils with an insight into the lives and experience of real people and show what part they have played in shaping the present.
  • To provide opportunities for exploring the living past through students’ own history and that of their families and their own cultures both within and outside the classroom.
  • To enable students to trace the development of cultures other than their own so they acquire an understanding of people who do not share their own values and background.

Information by years

Age 4-5 or Early Years Foundation Stage
Children begin their understanding of History through the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. Opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world allow children to begin to explore the past and present events relevant to their own lives and those of their families. Girls spend time talking, drawing and collecting pictures of family members. They think and talk about how they have grown and changed and begin to recognise the differences between past and present. They will begin to tell stories about the past and begin to use time-related vocabulary.

Age 5- 7 or Key Stage 1
At Key Stage 1, History is about the lives and lifestyles of familiar people in the recent past. They find out about significant people and events in the more distant past, including those from Britain and the wider world. They begin to use sources of information to help them ask and answer questions and learn about figures like Guy Fawkes, Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole. In Prep III the girls visit the Florence Nightingale Museum to aid their understanding of the significant impact of the action of an individual on the lives of others.

Age 7 - 11 or Key Stage 2
Throughout Key Stage 2 the girls study people, significant events and developments from the recent and more distant past in the locality, in Britain and in other parts of the world. They will learn about change and continuity and begin to see History from a variety of perspectives; political, economic and social. At this stage, the girls will also begin to learn that the past can be represented and interpreted in different ways. Topics include the Celts, Romans, an investigation of ancient Egypt and Greece, Tudors and Victorians.

Age 11 - 14 or Key Stage 3
The girls begin to learn about significant individuals as well as the causes and consequences of events in the history of Britain from the Medieval period, the Reformation and the English Civil War to the struggle for the right to vote in the 19th and 20th Centuries. There is a considerable attempt to introduce students to the debates that naturally arise from the conflicting nature of the surviving evidence. In this regard students are required to evaluate and interpret contemporary documents and images. Following the study of the origins of the First World War and the significance of propaganda on the Home Front, they will also have the great opportunity to visit the battlefields of the Western Front and some of the war cemeteries of northern France and Belgium in order bring to life their study of the nature of trench warfare as well as the impact of the war on both soldiers and civilians.

Age 14 - 16 or Key Stage 4
GCSE - AQA Examination board

This is an exciting yet rigorous syllabus which will challenge and stimulate the girls. They will learn about the impact of the First World War on European relations and on the actions of dictators in the inter-war period. In detail we try and work out why the peace that was established in the era after the Great War failed to hold for longer than two decades. In addition students are invited to examine, in some depth, the domestic histories of Germany and Russia. In the case of Germany, this means the period encompassing the rise and fall of the Weimar republic, the accession to power of Adolf Hitler and the subsequent consolidation of that power into some form of dictatorship. As for Russia the focus is on the fall of the Tsar in 1917, the establishment of Bolshevik control and the policies of Lenin. This is followed by developing an understanding of the policies and methods used by Stalin to create a dictatorship and the consequences of this for his rule and for the Russian people. The development of the Cold War and its impact on relations between East and West will also be studied. The girls will also understand that the consequences of these events are still relevant to us today in the 21st Century and begin to develop an appreciation of patterns and trends that emerge in the conflict between democracy and dictatorship. The examination itself is based upon a balance between narrative comprehension, document evaluation and structured analysis of cause and consequence and an appreciation of this affects the way in which the curriculum is delivered in class.

The History GSCE syllabus consists of three aspects:

  • Paper 1: Conflict in the Modern World: International Relations 1919-1939 and 1945-63. This is worth 37.5% of the whole exam.
  • Paper 2: Governments in Action in the Twentieth Century: Russia 1914-1941 and Germany 1918-1939  - This is worth 37.5% of the whole exam.
  • Controlled Assessment: Two questions are set, focusing on the impact of the First and Second World Wars on people in Britain. Both questions together are worth 25% of the whole exam.

Age 16-18 or Key Stage 5
AS and A2- Edexcel Examination Board
Specification http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gce/gce08/history/Pages/default.aspx

The study of History provides not only a deeper understanding of the society in which we live, but a sound intellectual training which can form a springboard to university studies and future careers. A Level studies in History will provide students with an opportunity to analyse some of the formative events and figures in British, European and World History. In the case of the first of the units they are required to understand the dynamics of change over time. In this they will make comparisons between the impact of different types of factors on the process of change in the chosen area of study. In the second unit the focus switches to a study of one country in some depth over a slightly shorter period of time. This will require students to investigate the interrelationship between economic, social and political factors in the way that a country is managed and governed. In order to provide a broad range of historical perspectives, the syllabus deals with the following;

  • Unit 1 AS - Historical Themes in Breadth - 50%.  We study the Civil Rights Movement in the USA 1945-68 and the USA’s involvement in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
  • Unit 2 AS - British Political History, 1945-1990: Consensus and Conflict: Students will learn about the key developments in British Political History from the Labour victory in 1945, to the end of Thatcherism in 1990. Through the analysis of historical sources they will learn to further develop key skills in the use of historical sources.
  • Unit 3 A2 - Depth Studies and Associated Historical Controversies - 60%
    We study the social, economic and political developments in the USA in the booming 1920s, the causes, consequences and impact of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the impact of the Second World War on the country.
  • Unit 4 A2 - Historical Enquiry : Internal Assessment - 40%
    We study the changing relationship between Britain and India 1845-1947.

How can I help my daughter?        

We are all incredibly lucky to be living in a city with so many places of historical interest: Hampton Court, Hatfield House and Leeds Castle are all within easy reach of London, whilst the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Tower of London are just a tube ride away. All museums have educational resources and even colouring and activity books suitable for all, from the very youngest to the most mature of history buffs.

Reading books and watching programmes such as the Horrible Histories BBC series with your daughter as early as possible will actively encourage her to read, research and enjoy discovering more about the periods she is studying.

As a result of the current upsurge of interest in History, there are numerous documentaries which will support and further enliven the girls’ studies and also introduce them to new periods and issues. There is also a host of period dramas, subject to parental discretion and approval.

Many works of literature help the girls to understand complex ideas and initially baffling events by allowing them to experience a period of History through the eyes of children or even animals (Otto, War Horse, The Diary of Anne Frank, Carrie’s War).They also help the girls develop a deeper curiosity for the subject and greater empathy in their exposure to the impact that historically significant events have had on ordinary people. Films will also help the girls develop a broader knowledge and understanding of cultures, values and beliefs as well as the political and social developments of the era portrayed: films as diverse as Chariots of Fire and Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and Downfall are great examples.

The pressures of GCSE and A Level will mean that your girls will have to juggle many demands on their time, yet they should be encouraged to read beyond the classroom, reading both novels and quality newspapers to form their own opinions supported by evidence. By this stage, many will also be ready to watch regular news bulletins or listen to the ‘Today’ programme. This will enhance their understanding of current affairs which they can then apply to historical enquiries in the classroom. There are also a number of websites which extend their knowledge and provide revision games.

Career progression

The skills developed by the study of History, such as analysing historical evidence and being able to construct a sustained and persuasive argument, will be invaluable to the girls in most careers they may wish to pursue. They will be a great asset to prospective employers in the fields of law, journalism, education, management and broadcasting. By not taking information at face value, the girls will grow into informed voters who actively question the views and opinions of others. An understanding of the History of the Twentieth Century is often of great use to those who are in government, as well as in economics. If only everyone had as sound an understanding of the causes of current economic crisis as our Upper 6th, we may not have had to experience fears for the Euro, or the current austerity measures!

Trips and Activities

In addition to the visit to the Battlefields of the Western Front (mentioned and shown above) there are a number of History visits throughout the girls’ school life, from the Florence Nightingale museum in Prep 3 to Hampton Court in Lower 2.

There are also “Victorian” and “Life in the Middle Ages” days for Upper 2 and Form 3. GCSE students have a visit from a Holocaust survivor or visit the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. An exciting and rewarding 6 day visit to Berlin and Krakow in December 2011 for L5-U6 built on the girls’ understanding of significant developments before, during and after the Second World War and their repercussions for the people of Europe for many decades to come. This visit is running again for girls in December 2013.

In addition, A Level students get the chance to attend an academic conference on some aspects of their studies. These conferences are delivered by university historians who are leaders in their field of study. They provide us with the chance to hear the latest thoughts on current research in the topics we are studying.