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In Year 7 students start by exploring the origins of History and look at the big story of us. In Years 8 and 9, students study three hours of history per fortnight. At GCSE, they have five hours per cycle, and ten at A Level. In Year 8 and 9, students are divided into three sets of varying ability. GCSE and A Level are all mixed ability groups.
In Year 8, students begin by studying a big picture of the changing power of the monarchy and the ‘people’ over the last millennium. We then follow with depth studies that feed into this wider-focus unit. For example, we study the causes of the English Civil War so students can understand an event that caused a significant shift in the balance of power between the monarchy and parliament (something they will have studied in their big picture unit). In Year 9, history similarly begins with a big picture study to provide students with a temporal framework into which they can place their later depth studies. In Year 9 this big picture study focuses on changing international relations in the 20th century; the rise and fall of empires, alliances, and ideologies.
At GCSE, students study the OCR SHP course, covering Medicine through Time, Germany 1919-1945 and a local study on Saltaire forming the controlled assessment. At AS Level, we teach Edexcel GCE covering the Rise and Challenge of Nationalism, focusing on the unification of Italy and of Germany (Unit 1). The British depth study taught is Poverty, Public Health and the Growth of Government c.1830 – 1875 (Unit 2). At A2, the examination unit is France 1776-1830 (Unit 3) and the coursework unit is a study of US-Russian relations from 1905-2010, with one question covering the broad period and another on the significance of the Vietnam War. The coursework unit was especially written by the Head of Department with the intention that history students complete their studies with a clear sense and understanding of the forces in modern history which have greatly shaped our present world. As a whole, the A Level course has been constructed with the aim of providing students with a very broad historical base - both in terms of the different countries studied, and in terms of the different types of history - and so that they enjoy the variety of their studies. Each year, a number of our students choose to continue their historical studies at university and we wholly support them in this process.