In the words of Justice David Brunning, “The study of History is the most rewarding as well as applicable of all arts academic subjects. The rigour of analysis required, sifting and evaluating evidence, and the exposition required to argue a conclusion, stretch the minds of all who are fortunate to study it. The interest and reward are beyond price.“ As shown in the legal profession, we offer History students the chance to develop the analytical tools to critically evaluate the constant tide of data the information age deposits over us. This, combined with an appreciation of the motivations behind human relationships and endeavour, are without doubt among the essential skills of the modern world.
As a department, we expose students to the colour and conflict, characters and controversies that mark the story of mankind. We aim to adopt a variety of innovative and proven traditional teaching methods to immerse students in the study and appreciation of past civilisations. We seek to develop students who instinctively think more deeply, encouraging their intellectually curiosity to appreciate the complexity of the human story. Additionally, we strive to give students the opportunity to nurture a lifetime’s pleasure in discovering the richness of the history of peoples, places, nations-the ruled as well as the rulers. The physical, cultural and intellectual footprints of these stories still surround us everywhere; in books, films, documentaries, political debates, testimony of ordinary citizens as well as across the numerous historic and cultural sites that scatter these Isles and beyond. By examining our past horizons, we also hope to connect students to broader identities and see themselves as part of a global and historically literate citizenry. Our approach as a Department is always to produce a well-rounded and academically engaged cohort, fully prepared for the intellectual and social challenges of adulthood. Above all, we hope to instill a lifelong love for the fascinating and ever-evolving world that is History. We aim too at making them discriminating readers and above all, we hope to instill a lifelong love for this highly valued, fascinating and ever-evolving subject.
Students begin the course by gaining an understanding of the role of Historian as detective before studying elements of local history in Great Glen. They then focus on the society and achievements of the Ancient World (Egyptian and Roman Empires) through artefacts and individual research. Afterwards they examine the Second World War through elements of family history as well as cross-curricular links such as the study of the novel Carrie’s War before examining issues of significance in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Following an introduction to the concept of historical investigation, students conduct a survey of the medieval period from the Norman Conquest post-1066 to the killing of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. Anchored to the study of first order historical concepts (the content) including notions such as feudalism and kingship are second order concepts such as chronology, change and continuity, cause and effect and development. These allow students to make sense of and draw connections from these stories of the past. These are demonstrated in an ICT chronology project where students are encouraged to draw links between events as well as place their own historical discoveries into the timeframe.
Students study key issues the early modern period beginning with domestic and international religious conflict under the Tudors, including interpretation exercises on the Spanish Armada. The birth of a modern political system is explored through the crisis between King and Parliament leading to the English Civil War. Thereafter the reputation of Oliver Cromwell is critically examined. The emergence of a country with an increasing international outlook is developed through the impact of the industrial revolution and the evolution of the Kingdom of England into a British Empire. Students complete a project to understand this change and how Britain evolves from a relatively insular nation to one with a new global reach.
The aim here is an assessment of the Twentieth Century and its domestic and international impact. In an age of Empire, pupils critically address the issue of Victorian imperialism through case studies of India and other colonies before examining the various causes of the First World War, the nature of this tragic conflict, military, human and cultural.
The Edexcel IGCSE Course is a two year study that embraces two depth studies (The Development of Dictatorship: Germany 1918-45 and A World Divided: Superpower Relations: 1945-1962), one historical investigation (The Origins and Course of the First World War 1905-18) and a breadth study in change (Conflict, Crisis and Change: China 1911-1989).
In the Sixth Form students begin two AQA units at A Level, one British, one European. Unit One is a breadth study of the transformations and personalities of Tudor England from 1485 to 1603 with an emphasis on Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I before assessing the seminal reign of ‘Gloriana’ Elizabeth I; Unit Two is a depth study on Russia: Revolution & Dictatorship (1917-1953) examines the end of Tsarist Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of the Soviet Dictatorship under Lenin and then Josef Stalin from 1929. Students explore his grand social projects of the 1930s, victory over Nazism in the Second World War and the difficult international period until his death in 1953. The final unit of A level is an Historical Enquiry looking at either the 16th Century ‘Golden Age’ of the Spanish Empire or Nationalism in 19th Century Italy. There is a brief taught course followed by a written assignment of approximately 3,500 words that serves as an excellent preparation for university-level research.
The Department arranges various activities for all year groups under the aegis of the History Society including Historical balloon debates, documentaries/films and visits from speakers such as members of the British Korean War Veterans Association and a former soldier who served on the Falklands campaign. History Society projects have included a full battle re-enactment of the 1066 Battle of Hastings involving Sixth form scriptwriters and researchers and Lower School actors and narrators. Students have also able to wear ‘Dark Ages’ clothing courtesy of a visit from a member of Leicester Museum services as well as hearing about unorthodox historical topics such as the history of British professional wrestling. We also arrange an annual Early Modern History Conference in the summer, attended by local schools, featuring leading Tudor academics such as George Bernard from major Universities to complement and enhance our Sixth Form study. We have also had visits from World War One historians such as Gordon Corrigan and Jenny Macleod delivering tailored talks to our IGCSE cohort and local residents. In addition we offer opportunities for students to enter prestigious essay-writing and annual debating competitions such as the Historical Association's Great Debate where we have had some success in the past.
Year 7 students visit the site of the Battle of Bosworth as part of their Wars of the Roses study; Year 8 often tour the Royal Armouries in Leeds to gain a better insight into Henry VIII’s Court as well as the nature of fighting in the English Civil War; Year 9 students will visit the The National Holocaust Centre or the Black Country Living History Museum.
At GCSE, Year 11 students have the opportunity to visit the National Cold War Exhibition at RAF Cosford and hear from a veteran of the Berlin Airlift while recent Year 10 visits have included a Propaganda exhibition at the British Library and a local World War One Centenary Academic Conference. Students are also invited on the bi-annual Easter Berlin trip that offers a historical and cultural insight into Germany in the Weimar, Nazi and Cold War periods. In Year 11 students also have an opportunity to embark on a 5-day tour (led by Mr. Allen) of the WW1 Battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. The Lower Sixth are able to take advantage of Russian History conference sand a tailored Tudor Workshop at the Leicester Guildhall, Richard III Centre and Cathedral. The Upper Sixth follow a three-night research visit to the cities of Toledo and Madrid to complement their Spanish History Historical Enquiry.
The Department is a full member of the Historical Association.