Curriculum Leader:

Miss T McStay

Department Introduction:

Why study History? The answer is that History is inescapable. It studies the past, its peoples, civilizations, cultures, traditions, religions, changes and the legacies of the past in the present. Far from being a 'dead' subject, it connects us to these things and encourages students to question and critique the past and the lessons we should learn to inform our future. History at WGHS is a highly successful, diverse and exciting department! We aim to stimulate a curiosity about the past which will form the basis of a lifetime interest in History! Girls investigate the different histories that form our local, British, European and worldwide communities from the Middle Ages to current day and along the way will develop crucial skills in evidencing arguments, critiquing sources and accepted narratives, public speaking and debates.

Department Aims:

Key Stage 3:

All girls study History in Years 7-9. In Year 7 we challenge students’ preconceptions of what History actually is and start them on an exciting journey of discovery through the Middle Ages and Tudor Period. Students will have the chance to focus in on the key events and figures who shaped our country in this time, as well as studying the lives of ordinary people. Furthermore, the areas of study also look at this time period from a global perspective


Topics include:


  • The Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest
  • Developments in Medieval Baghdad
  • The Crusades The Black Death
  • The Peasants’ Revolt
  • The English Reformation
  • Bloody” Mary Elizabeth I
  • Mughal Empire
  • The bloody English Civil War 1642-1651
  • The upheaval of Oliver Cromwell’s rule
  • The Transatlantic slave trade and its legacy and the impact of Empire.
  • Impact of World War I on Germany
  • The Versailles Settlement
  • The impact of the Depression
  • The Rise of Hitler and his consolidation of power
  • The Holocaust
  • The Partition of India.

Key Stage 4:

History is a very popular subject at GCSE and we offer AQA Modern World AQA GCSE. This enables students to study a range of breadth and depth topics. To understand the events that shaped the nation, in Year 10 they examine Health and the People from 1000 to the present day.


Topics include:


Islamic medicine

The Black Death

The understanding of Germ Theory

The Welfare State


We then examine in depth the reign of Elizabeth I from 1568 until 1603.


Topics include:


The difficulties of a female ruler

The treatment of the poor

The impact of Mary Queen of Scots

Conflict with Spain


As part of this study they will take part in a site visit related to Elizabethan England. This can include a visit to Kenilworth Castle, Hardwick Hall or the Globe theatre in London. In Year 11 students study the Cold War that dominated the world post 1945 in their study of Conflicts between East and West 1945-1972.


Topics include:


The dropping of the atomic bomb

The Berlin Airlift

The Korean War

The Cuban Missile Crisis.


They then consolidate, through examination practice, the Nazi Germany course that they began in Year 9. Students usually visit Cosford Air Museum in Year 11 to deepen their understanding of the Cold War.

Key Stage 5:

History continues to be a popular subject at A Level and each year several students go on to study History successfully at University. The course followed with AQA is an exciting and diverse range of topics allowing students to explore the very different worlds of Russia in the Age of Enlightenment and Absolutism 1682-1796, The Making of Modern Britain 1951-2007 and The American Civil Rights Movement. Unit 1: Russia in the Age of Absolutism and Enlightenment, 1682-1796 In Unit 1 students discover the impact of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great on Russia and Europe. Investigate how Peter survived life threatening plots as a child and emerged as the autocratic and ruthless Tsar of Russia! Discover how Catherine expanded Russia in aggressive wars against Turkey and Poland and investigate how Catherine crushed rebellions and maintained her autocratic rule at a time when the French Revolution was spreading democracy through Europe. Topics include: • Peter the Great and Russia, 1682–1725 • The epoch of palace coups, 1725–1762 • Catherine the Great and Russia, 1762–1796 Unit 2: The Making of Modern Britain 1951-2007 In this unit students study the fascinating and turbulent journey towards the “Modern Britain” that we inhabit today. Be prepared for political scandals, economic disasters, social “revolutions”, worldwide revelations and the “giant” personalities of the twentieth century. Ending with a much firmer grasp on who we are today and why! Topics include: • The Affluent Society, 1951–1964 • The Sixties, 1964–1970 • The end of Post-War Consensus, 1970–1979 • The impact of Thatcherism, 1979–1987 • Towards a new Consensus, 1987–1997 Unit 3: The American Civil Rights Movement The civil rights study is an exploration of the 100 years struggle for African Americans to achieve basic political rights to which they had been entitled after the end of slavery in the US in the 1860s. We study the early pioneers who spread their messages of freedom and equality in an environment of lynching, KKK violence and the ambivalent attitude of Presidents. We then focus upon the splits in the movement for civil rights between the approaches of Martin Luther King Jnr and Malcolm X. It is a story both moving and inspiring. Students then write a personal study of their own choice based upon Race Relations and Civil Rights (1860-1970) (20% of 'A' Level).

Extra-Curricular Activities:

The History department also runs a variety of extra-curricular clubs for Key Stage 3 and 4, giving older students the opportunity to develop their coaching and leadership skills by getting involved in these activities. We currently run a Debating Club, History Club and have been very successful at local, regional and national levels in the Mock Magistrates’ Competition and Debating. The History department offers a range of opportunities in the Sixth Form. Students studying History and Politics all visit London on a day trip where we visit the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court having tours of both and the opportunity to meet an MP. We also offer the great experience to attend Concord College in Telford and meet and experience a lecture with the Modern British historian Dominic Sandbrook.