What is the use of studying 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 World Wide 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.
Key Stage 3
All girls study History in Years 7-9, after which it becomes an option at GCSE where girls have a tantalising choice of either Modern World History or The Schools History Project.
In Year 7 we challenge students’ preconceptions of what History actually is compared to the past 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
The Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest
The Black Death
The Peasants’ Revolt
The English Reformation
Head of Department: Mrs G Hill
During the summer term we also have our much loved field trip to Ludlow Castle, where students get to apply all that they learnt earlier in the year on castles to this formidable fortress.
Year 8 is a dramatic study of revolutions, uprisings and change! Students will investigate the bloody English Civil War 1642-1651 and the upheaval of Oliver Cromwell’s rule. We then move our focus to the violent events of the French Revolution 1789-1799 and the Industrial Revolution in Britain 1750-1900. Finally in the summer term we investigate the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, emancipation and civil rights.
During the summer term we also visit the fabulous Blists Hill open air museum giving the students the chance to experience much of what they have studied in their unit on the Industrial Revolution. The History Department also runs an exciting weekend residential trip to France for Year 8 students in the summer term, finding out more about William the Conqueror and 1066, and visiting World War I and World War II battlefields, including the D-Day landing beaches and the moving memorials to the fallen at the Somme.
Year 9 is a study of the twentieth century wars and events that have created the world we live in today and challenges students with the devastating realities and consequences of such conflicts. Topics include:
• Origins and events of World War I
• The Versailles Settlement
• Causes of World War II
• The Holocaust
• Dropping of the Atomic Bombs
During the summer term the students also have the amazing opportunity to meet Rudi Oppenheimer, a Holocaust Survivor and spend a day off timetable investigating the Holocaust and how we remember it in more detail.
Key Stage 4
History is a very popular subject at GCSE and we offer two distinct courses to give students flexibility in the type of History they wish to explore. We currently offer both OCR SHP History and AQA Modern World.
AQA Modern World
AQA GCSE offers a more politically focussed GCSE, referring to more modern periods which have changed our world.
• Russia, 1894–1945, Tsardom and Communism
• Conflict and tension between East and West, 1945–1972
• Britain: Power and the people, c1170 to the present day
• Restoration England, 1660–1685
This GCSE option also includes a visit to London and parliament in relation to the study of the power and people through time. The GCSE is assessed in two examinations at the end of Year 11 with each unit equally weighted at 25%.
OCR-School History Project
OCR GCSE History is the only qualification working directly with the Schools History Project. This course offers an exciting and diverse look into the world of older periods of History.
• The Elizabethans, 1580–1603
• The People’s Health, 1250-present
• History Around Us- Site study of Tamworth castle
• Living under Nazi rule, 1933–1945
• The Making of America, 1789–1900
This GCSE option also includes a visit to Tamworth castle which forms the basis of students’ History Around Us paper. The GCSE is assessed in three examinations at the end of Year 11 with each unit equally weighted at 20%.
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 also Debating.
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)
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 an intimate lecture with the Modern British historian Dominic Sandbrook. On top of this we also offer the exciting opportunity of a five day residential trip to Washington DC.