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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 5 Curriculum

At Sixth Form, the choice of modules is closely aligned to the passions and subject specialisms of the teaching staff.  The department teaches the AQA Advanced Level in History, which features an important coursework component at A2 that develops student skills of research and independent learning.

At AS level students study the end of the Wars of the Roses and the establishment of the Tudor dynasty in a module that covers the period 1483-1529.  The second module at AS is an investigation of Hitler’s Third Reich in Germany 1933-45, which remains a stark warning of the dangers to any democracy in the light of economic crisis and charismatic demagogues.  At A2 students continue with the Early Modern period by studying the reigns of the later Tudors (1547-1603) and complete a coursework assignment on heresy in the medieval European Church.  The choice of modules deliberately reflects a broad chronological range as well as a balance of British and international history, as this is the best preparation for those who wish to study the subject at university.

In lessons teachers adopt an approach that makes use of a variety of challenging texts that progressively deepen and extend student learning, often beyond what is strictly needed for the exam.  Conscious of the leap required for study at university, the department seeks to develop skills of independent learning in a supportive fashion that helps to manage the transition from GCSE and prepare students for the next stage of their education.

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