History and Politics
Head of Department: Adam White
We are a team of enthusiastic and dedicated teachers who share a passion for History and Politics.
In History we are committed to bringing the richness of the subject to life for our students whilst making it enjoyable and accessible to all. Our key aim is to cultivate a life-long love of the subject among our students by engaging with the work of real historians and carrying out historical investigations. This then helps our students develop an understanding of past events and the different ways that they have been interpreted.
Through our teaching of Politics students are able to develop their analytical skills whilst engaging with current debates and issues facing the world. We strongly believe that these are relevant and fascinating subjects that help students understand the society in which they live.
History - Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 we aim to inspire students’ curiosity and equip them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, and begin to analyse evidence in order to develop judgements. In their History lessons students encounter the work of academic historians and real historical debates that they are then supported in developing their knowledge to meaningfully respond to these. Across the three years students will develop their understanding of historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance.
Students in Year 7 – 9 have 4 lessons a fortnight.
Students begin Year 7 with an enquiry into the way in which migration has shaped the British Isles, beginning with the Romans and charting the movement of people to Britain through to the modern era. Following this, students will be introduced to a variety of topics which develop their understanding of key concepts such as power, monarchy and religion through a variety of sources and interpretations. Specific examples include;
The development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509;
- 'A truckload of trouble?' Does this best describe the impact of the Norman Conquest? (informed by the work of Simon Schama).
- How far did the monarchs maintain power in the Middle Ages? (informed by Dan Jones, Power and Thrones).
Why was Mansa Musa significant?
- Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage to Mecca.
- The development of Timbuktu.
A local study - Was the Elizabethan period a golden age for Plymouth?
- Was the Elizabethan era a ‘golden age’ for the wealthy in society?
- What can we still see of Elizabethan Plymouth today?
During Year 8, the key themes of power, revolution and empire underpin the topics covered. Students will consider the development of imperialism and the impact of the growth of empires through topics including;
Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901.
- How different were the attitudes of the rulers and the ruled? (informed by Sathnam Sanghera’s Empireland).
- When was Britain closest to revolution between 1815 and 1832?
Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world, 1901 to the present day.
- Did European powers sleepwalk into the First World War?
- What were soldiers’ experiences of the First World War?
- Did the Paris Peace Conference make a sensible settlement?
In Year 9, students consider the impact of key events from the Twentieth century, focusing on challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day. Such as;
- How did the Second World War impact Devon?
- How did people resist the Holocaust?
- Why did David Olusoga write about the British Civil Rights Movement in his book?
History - Key Stage 4
History at GCSE level is a stimulating, useful and relevant subject through which students are taught how to research effectively and understand a range of interpretations of past events. Students are encouraged to construct arguments and debate their opinions in order to form their own judgements about the significance of historical events and the role of key individuals. Through the course students develop the skills of explanation and analysis that are very much valued in the work place.
Students can access a number of excellent educational websites to support their study at GCSE level as well as features in history magazines, newspaper articles and documentaries.
Year 10 – 11
Edexcel GCSE History (9-1)
Aims of the course
- To actively engage in the process of historical enquiry by using a wide range of evidence.
- To develop understanding of what caused significant world events.
- To develop critical and reflective thinking.
- To help develop independent learners.
Thematic study and historic environment: Medicine in Britain, c1250-present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914-18 (30%)
- These two units combine to allow students to explore the changing nature of medical improvements in Britain from the Medieval to modern periods. Students will research critical events such as the Black Death, Cholera and creation of the NHS. There is also an in-depth investigation into the medical procedures undertaken during WWI and how the horrors of war allowed for some improvements in medicine.
Period study: The American West, c1835-1895 (20%)
- This unit investigates a critical period of American history when the expansion of states led to issues such as Plains Indian reservations, lawlessness and poverty. Students will also follow themes to research who prospered within the United States as the border in the West expanded past Mexico towards California, helping to create the America they are familiar with today.
British depth study: Early Elizabethan England 1558-88 (20%)
- Students will explore the initial problems that Elizabeth I encountered upon becoming queen, such as religious turmoil, and then move towards Elizabeth’s period of domestic stability and compare it to her tribulations with foreign policy. Enquiries will allow students to improve their skills of analysis, such as significance, cause and consequence.
Modern depth study: Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39 (30%)
- This unit will follow a period of history that saw democracy denounced and fascist dictatorship widely celebrated. Students will gain an understanding of the factors that allowed Nazism to flourish, such as economic downturn and nationalism. Within this unit students will improve their ability to identify and analyse interpretations of leading historians on different topics within this period of history.
All of the units will be externally assessed through examination at the end of Year 11.
History - Key Stage 5
A Level History is a subject that will broaden the inquisitive mind and foster an appetite for discussion and debate. The History A Level is a subject in which students can discuss different views and opinions before formulating their own judgements about historical events. Evaluation and judgement are at the heart of the History A Level and it is these skills that students utilise effectively upon continuation of their educational journey at university.
The History Department is extremely well resourced with exam board specific textbooks and a wealth of material for the Historical Enquiry unit.
Exam board: AQA A Level History 7042
Aims of the course
- To develop key historical skills, for example, evaluation and judgement.
- To captivate the analytical mind with a range of contemporary sources and interpretations of the past.
- To fuel the enquiring mind with a study of Tudor England.
- To stimulate a passion for 20th century history with a in-depth study of Russia.
- To encourage an awareness of how current affairs have been shaped by the past.
A Level History Units
1C: The Tudors 1485-1603 (40%)
- This unit provides students with the opportunity to learn about the entire Tudor period. Students will start with the reign of Henry VII and the consolidation of his power, followed by Henry VIII and his struggle for Royal Supremacy. Students will also gain knowledge of his successors, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Key themes that students will study include; the volatile arena of foreign policy and religious turmoil.
2N: Russia, revolution and dictatorship 1917-53 (40%)
- This unit provides students with the opportunity to study the collapse of Tsarist Russia, followed by the establishment of the Communist state and the rise of Stalin. Key events that students will study include the return and impact of Lenin, the devastating policy of War Communism, the terror and purges and the unprecedented industrial preparation for World War Two.
Historical investigation: The Status of African-Americans in the 19th and 20th Century 1860-1980 (20%)
- This unit enables students to conduct an individual enquiry into the status of African American’s across a 100 year period. Students will have the opportunity to select their own coursework questions from an approved list and their chosen question will give them the opportunity to thoroughly investigate and interrogate a wealth of sources and interpretations. This could include gaining knowledge of key individuals such as Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
A Level History examinations will take place at the end of Year 13.
A Level History is a popular A Level choice and it is one in which combines well with English language and English literature, Sociology, Psychology, Languages and it also compliments Maths and the Sciences.
Our History A Level students have enjoyed much success in securing university places on History, Law and Politics courses to name a few. Employers view History as an A Level that demonstrates an analytical mind that is capable of constructing and arguing a case and articulating it with passion.
Ultimately A Level History is a subject that has retained its integrity as a rigorous academic subject that is well respected by employers and universities.
Politics - Key Stage 5
Politics is a fascinating A Level that will teach you the skills necessary to develop as an independent and critical thinker. You will enjoy digesting current affairs and constructing arguments that are relevant and offer clarity and coherence about controversial political issues.
Exam Board: AQA A Level Politics 7152
Aims of the course:
A Level Politics promises to be current, relevant and controversial. A Level Politics is an engaging and interesting qualification that will captivate your imagination and open doors to university. The course covers news and current affairs in the UK and US and develops your research skills, written communication and it will also encourage you to debate. The course will foster your curiosity as you interpret a range of political information and it will teach you to critically analyse and evaluate political ideologies. Our teachers are committed and fascinated by current and historical political affairs.
A Level Politics Units
Unit 1: Government and Politics of the UK (33.3%)
This unit teaches you the foundations of British Politics and takes you on a journey to recent constitutional changes. You will have the opportunity to debate the extent of rights in the UK and focus on two recent legislative changes such as the Freedom of Information Act and the Human Rights Act. You will focus on the significance of the Houses of Commons and Lords and the extent of Parliament’s influence on government decisions. This unit offers an in-depth insight into the British Political system and focuses on the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Judiciary and Devolution.
Unit 2: The Government and Politics of the USA, and Comparative Politics (33.3%)
This unit provides students with the opportunity to study the nature and sources of the British Constitution and the structure and role of Parliament. Students will also gain knowledge about the Constitutional framework of the US government. This includes a study of the legislative branch of government and the executive branch of government.
Unit 3: Political Ideas (33.3%)
This unit focuses on studying ideologies at the core of politics. You will debate the nature of Liberalism, Conservatism and Socialism. You will also study in depth one of the following; feminism, nationalism, multiculturalism, ecologism or anarchism.
A Level Politics examinations will take place at the end of Year 13.
A Level politics will open doors in a variety of professions. Politics students are very successful Public Affairs Consultants, Social Researchers, Policy Analysts, Public Relations Officers, Marketing Executives and Journalists.
A Level Politics students benefit from an enriched curriculum in a well-resourced department. A Level Politics is a popular subject and combines well with A Level History, English and Languages. It also complements A Level Maths and the Sciences.