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History

History at Highworth is lively, stimulating and thought-provoking, with students challenged to counter misconceptions and form well-reasoned views regarding the past. Our aim is to develop the intellectual and emotional character of our students by studying a diverse range of human experiences and to mould inquisitive and questioning young historians.

Supported by our excellent Prefect team, the History department aims to bring the past to life through engaging lessons, creative activities and exceptional subject knowledge. Whether it is the tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis, experiences of child labourers or the impact of Christopher Columbus on the spread of chocolate, students are transported back to the events that have shaped the world in which we live. 

Staffing

Head of Department

Mr D House

Teachers

Dr E Pickles

Mrs K Riezebos

Mrs A Wells

Mrs R Wilson

Prefects

Elise Jorgensen

Mia Brazil

Phoebe Lane

Semika Rai

Shreya Mukherjee

Ambassadors

Michaela Baldwin

Ella Harding

Annabelle Wood

Key Stage 3

Content

Throughout Key Stage 3, students will study a series of units that explore specific historical periods and events in detail whilst also encouraging them to identify and evaluate change and continuity over time.

Year 7

In Year 7, students will explore the following:

Unit 1. Challenges to Authority (Part 1)

This unit focuses on the extraordinary and unprecedented events of the Peasants’ Revolt. Studying the wider context of medieval England through a number of case studies – Henry II and Thomas Becket, the Magna Carta and the creation of Parliament, and the impact of the Black Death – will allow students to explain why the Peasants’ Revolt occurred in 1381.

Unit 2. Unintended Consequence

In these two related topics, students will consider the consequences of the questioning encouraged by the impact of the Renaissance. Firstly, we will look at the impact of the Colombian Exchange, exploring how Europeans travelling to the American continent initiated widespread and lasting change, helping to forge the world we know today.  Students will then explore the Reformation, attempting to gauge the impact of continental religious reformers on the English church and governance.

Unit 3. Challenges to Authority (Part II)

This unit involves a study of the causes of the outbreak of the English Civil Wars in 1642. Students then investigate the execution of Charles I using original sources. The second part of the unit involves a comparison between the causes of the English Civil Wars in the seventeenth century and the causes of the Peasants’ Revolt in the fourteenth century.

Year 8

In Year 8, students will explore the following:

Unit 4. Imperialists and Industrialists

Students will study the events leading to the Industrial Revolution with the aim of highlighting the role played by slaves and child workers in creating prosperity for some. Students will also focus on whether the Industrial Revolution represented progress for everyone. The unit will finish with our own Great Exhibition, with students asked to select inventions for the exhibit and justify their choices.

Unit 5. Instigators and Innovators

In this broad unit, students will explore the various causes of the abolition of slavery, working with original sources to identify their relative significance.  Students will also be asked to research important social reformers and explain the impact of their work. Finally, students will finish this part of their curriculum by looking at the British suffrage movement and answering the provocative question: were the suffragettes terrorists?

Unit 5. Experiences of Warfare

The final unit of study centres on experiences of warfare in the Twentieth Century. Students will begin by looking at the complex causes of the First World War, developing their understanding of historical consequence. They will then complete interpretation work on Field Marshal Haig and the Somme, asking whether it was quite as simple as ‘lions being led by donkeys’. Students will complete this unit with a comparative study of the Homefront during the First and Second World Wars. At this time, they will also be encouraged to complete an oral history project, interviewing an evacuee.

The final part of their Key Stage 3 programme will see students visiting Dover Castle and using the site to form a clear chronological overview of their studies.

Assessment and feedback 

Tracking student progress and assessments

Formative feedback with written comments will be provided for all Key Stage 3 students at least once a term. Students will know and understand the criteria for each piece of work and will be provided with feedback that reflects what they have done well/made progress in along with comment on what can be improved. Students are expected to use this work to generate targets and to inform their next piece of work. It is vital to build a strong sense of the formative nature of feedback – whereby advice is offered to move student forwards – as a positive way to improve and develop the understanding and skills they command. Progress will also be tracked through Expected Standards in student Interim and Summative Reports. Students will also sit an examination at the end of Year 7 and Year 8, covering the units explored in those years. Student books will be checked regularly and there will be clear evidence of a dialogue between student and teacher based on formative comments and responses.

Marking

Assessed work will be returned to students within two weeks indicating strengths and weaknesses. Students are encouraged to use this to set their own targets for the next piece of work.

Please click here for the Year 7 History assessment grid

Please click here for the Year 8 History assessment grid

Key Stage 4

Content 

Students follow the Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History specification. They complete the following units, examined with three papers at the end of Year 11:

  • Paper 1 - Thematic study and historic environment: Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches (30%)
  • Paper 2 - Period study and British depth study: Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88 and Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91 (40%).
  • Paper 3 - Modern depth study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39 (30%).

Assessment and feedback 

There are four assessment objectives for the Edexcel (9-1) GCSE:

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key features and characteristics of the periods studied (35%).
  • AO2: Explain and analyse historical events and periods studied using second order historical concepts (35%).
  • AO3: Analyse, evaluate and use sources (contemporary to the period) to make substantiated judgements, in the context of historical events studied (15%).
  • AO4: Analyse, evaluate and make substantiated judgements about interpretations (including how and why interpretations may differ) in the context of historical events studied (15%).

Tracking student progress and assessments

Regular homework assignments and timed assessment questions are set and students are given formative feedback based on the assessment criteria of the examination board. Students are encouraged to use this to set their own targets for development and then to monitor their achievements in addressing these. Progress will also be tracked through likely grades in student Interim and Summative Reports. Students will also sit an examination at the end of Year 9 and Year 10, covering the periods explored in those years. Year 11 students will sit a Paper 1 mock in September and PPEs later in the year.

Marking

Assessed work will be returned to students within two weeks indicating strengths and weaknesses. Students are encouraged to use this to set their own targets for the next piece of work. Where necessary, students may be asked to repeat work to ensure progress is being made.

Mark schemes

Please click here for the Edexcel GCSE History mark schemes

Specification 

Please click here for the Edexcel GCSE History mark schemes

A Level

Content 

At A Level we offer two routes, both following the Edexcel (2015) specification. The unit breakdown is as follows, with students sitting the Papers at the end of Year 13:

Route 1

  • Paper 1. Breadth study with interpretations: Germany and West Germany, 1918–89 (30%).
  • Paper 2. Depth study: The rise and fall of fascism in Italy, c1911–46 (20%).
  • Paper 3: Themes in breadth with aspects in depth: Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors, 1485–1603 (30%).
  • Coursework (20%).

Route 2

  • Paper 1. Breadth study with interpretations: Britain, 1625–1701: conflict, revolution and settlement (30%).
  • Paper 2. Depth study: Russia in revolution, 1894–1924 (20%).
  • Paper 3: Themes in breadth with aspects in depth: The Golden Age of Spain, 1474–1598 (30%).
  • Coursework (20%).

Assessment and feedback 

There are three assessment objectives for the Edexcel (2015) A Level:

  • AO1: Demonstrate, organise and communicate knowledge and understanding to analyse and evaluate the key features related to the periods studied, making substantiated judgements and exploring concepts, as relevant, of cause, consequence, change, continuity, similarity, difference and significance. (55%)
  • AO2: Analyse and evaluate appropriate source material, primary and/or contemporary to the period, within its historical context. (20%)
  • AO3: Analyse and evaluate, in relation to the historical context, different ways in which aspects of the past have been interpreted. (25%)

Tracking progress and assessments

Regular homework assignments and timed questions are set and students are given feedback based on the assessment criteria of the examination board. Students are encouraged to use this to set their own targets for development and then to monitor their achievements in addressing these. The assessments set throughout the course are designed to allow students to hone the skills needed for the final examinations. The A Level grade is based entirely on the coursework and three examinations sat at the end of Year 13. Students have the opportunity to gain extensive feedback on a first draft of their coursework.

Marking

Assessed work will be returned to students within two weeks indicating strengths and weaknesses in relation to examination marking criteria. Students are encouraged to use this to set their own targets for the next piece of work.

Mark schemes

Please click here for the Edexcel A Level History mark schemes

Specification 

Please click here for the Edexcel A Level History specification 

Exam Support

Advice

Students who are successful in GCSE and A level History are willing to extend their knowledge and deepen their understanding through wider reading. It is particularly important that students revisit material covered in class so as to ensure they have a consummate command of all units by the end of the course. Students need to develop efficient note-making systems and to be well organised. They also need to be ready to offer ideas and insights in class as the quality of discussions and debates make a significant contribution to the achievement of members of the group. Resilience will also be critical. Both GCSE and A Level History are challenging and students must recognise that progress will come from responding to setbacks and feedback with a positive mind-set and determination to improve. Seeking help and clarification are also critical.

Past papers

PLEASE NOTE: as this is a new specification, there are very limited past papers for both the GCSE and A Level History courses. 

Please click here for the Edexcel GCSE History sample questions

Please click here for the Edexcel A Level History sample questions

Useful external links

A Level students are expected to read broadly around the subject and should seek advice from staff regarding appropriate materials. This website offers a host of resources: https://www.jstor.org/action/showLogin?redirectUri=%2F%3F

Careers

Potential careers

Politics, journalism, archivist, curation, media, central and local government, civil service, international organisations, business, teaching.

For an excellent overview of graduate opportunities, see the following:

https://www.history.org.uk/student/resource/2914/careers-in-history

Alumni

Amongst the group who completed their History A level in 2016, students obtained places on the following degree courses: Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, History at Leicester, History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Politics and International Studies at Warwick, Politics and International Relations at Loughborough, Accounting, Finance and Economics at Kent and American History at East Anglia.

Extra-curricular

Clubs

There is a fortnightly discussion group called ‘History and Current Affairs’ in the lunch-hour.

Frequent revision sessions will also be available to Year 11 students.

Trips and visits

Year 8 students will visit Dover Castle in Term 6, a trip which will reinforce the chronology they have explored at Key Stage 3.

Year 9 students will visit the Ypres Salient in Term 6, a trip which links to their historic environment unit focused on medicine in the Western Front.