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Aims & Philosophy of the History Department

The History Department at QM seeks to help students understand the present day through a curriculum that incorporates some of the most important and fascinating events from British and world history.  The programme of study has been carefully designed to develop student understanding of the medieval, early modern and modern periods and thus ensure that students are equipped with a broad chronological sweep as well as familiarising them with the key concepts associated with each period.

At the same time, the department systematically develops the transferable skills that earn History its reputation as an academic and rigorous subject highly esteemed by employers and universities alike.  For example, students develop their ability to write analytically in extended pieces, handle evidence critically, research and present material about the past, articulate substantiated judgements about historical characters and events and assess the relative merits of different interpretations.

Finally, the department recognises the value that trips bring for students’ historical understanding and is proud to be offering a range of ambitious trips both in the UK and abroad in the coming years.

Overview of Key Stage 4 Curriculum

In Years 9 to 11, the department chooses depth over breadth and girls study a course focused on international history in the twentieth century. We follow the International GCSE in History provided by Edexcel.  Just as rigorous as British GCSE qualifications, the key characteristic of the course is the absence of any coursework or controlled assessment in favour of a linear approach.  Students complete two papers at the end of the Key Stage which are equally weighted.

The choice of topics aims to give students an appreciation of the two superpowers whose competing ideologies shaped the twentieth century, and their differences are explored in our chosen topics of Stalinism in Russia 1924-53 and the Roaring Twenties in the USA, 1919-29.   No study of the twentieth century would be complete without some investigation of the century’s most cataclysmic event, namely the Second World War.  Our chosen topic of International Relations 1919-39 investigates why such an epic conflict was able to break out and helps students to understand how the example of history has shaped contemporary international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union.  Finally, social history is addressed through our study of the History of Medicine, which perfectly complements the science curriculum and attracts students to the subject who might not have otherwise considered it.

What makes the department unique from those at other schools?

Mr Rollinson’s role as a committee member of the York Historical Association, enables QM to host an annual lecture by a distinguished historian.  Such visits give the girls a valuable insight not only into relevant topics for their exams, but also the process and passion that underpins the work of actual professional historians shaping debate in their fields.

To learn about the History Department curriculum
in other Key Stages please choose a link