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Curriculum Leader:

Mr A Bagnall

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 Tsarist and Communist Russia 1855-1964, The Making of Modern Britain 1951-2007 and the Witchcraze of the 16th and 17th centuries as the NEA (non-examined assessment) element.


Unit 1: Tsarist and Communist Russia 1855-1964.


In Unit 1 students discover the impact of Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II. They will investigate how an autocratic, antiquated Russia system tried to keep pace with the political, social and economic developments of the 19thcentury before its demise in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Students will then learn how the Bolsheviks seized and retained power amongst the turmoil of the Civil War, before assessing the impact of the dictatorship of Stalin. The course ends with a look into the process of de-Stalinisation and the rule of Khrushchev.


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 Witchcraze of the 16th and 17thcenturies study is an exploration of over 100 years of history in which much of Europe began to accuse people of Witchcraft before mysteriously petering out.


Students will look not only at the cases themselves, but also at the variety of interpretations argued by historians for the motivations for and decline of the Witchcraze. This includes examining the impact of the reformation and religious change, the role of women in Early Modern society, as well as other key social and economic reasons behind the phenomenon.


This is undertaken with guidance and supervision from teachers, but students are expected to work independently to write a personal study of their own choice based upon the period between 1560 and 1693. This is worth 20% if the overall ‘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.

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