MMA_VanDyke_2010_1_438The History Team

The History Department consists of five teachers.  There is a strong team ethos within the department which provides a platform to share ideas and offer a wide range of support to students.  We believe history is a vital subject, not only for academic development, but also personal development of students.  Each team member is committed to making history personally relevant to students; as a team we aim to educate students of the significance of history as a tool for understanding the world around them.

History is taught within five specialist rooms, featuring interactive white boards and other audio visual equipment.  All courses are well resourced, with students able to access the most up-to-date text books to assist them with their studies.  These combined factors create a stimulating atmosphere for teaching and learning.

Teaching and Learning

We aim to stimulate a ‘culture of enquiry’ – where students are open to answering and asking questions about their historical topics and the world around them.  The approach taken to teaching and learning by the whole team ensures that all lessons are thoroughly planned to allow pupils to achieve their potential.  History lessons are varied and encompass a wide range of activities, from teamwork and documentary making, to writing songs and computer-based enquiries.  The lessons are designed to not only engage and motivate students, but to further develop their all-round learning and enthusiasm for the subject.  We foster ‘purposeful dialogue’ in lessons; allowing students to learn from each other by expressing their ideas and formulating well substantiated and balanced arguments.  The results are clear, as history is the most popular option subject at GCSE and A level.

History in Year 9

In Year 9, students will study political concepts such as democracy and dictatorship through a study of the Twentieth Century.  Students will compare democratic countries to autocratic regimes in order to determine why democracy rises and falls in some countries.  They will also investigate the impact on life in those countries and also the subsequent relationships between these nations.  This unit will comprise of studies of countries such as Russia, Germany, Britain and France, and will include the First and Second World Wars.  A final unit, ‘Terrorism’, is designed to help students compare the World Wars with modern conflict and consider the role of protest in the modern world.

MMA_VanDyke_2010_1_473GCSE History

From September 2016 GCSE students in Year 10 will be studying the new AQA specification.  There are four examination topics, all of which are examined on two papers at the end of Year 11 (first year for the new specification will be June 2018).

The topics we will be teaching allow students to develop a holistic understanding of social, economic and political aspects of historical study, whilst nurturing an appreciation of change and continuity and cause and consequence.

Paper 1: Understanding the Modern World (50%)
Germany 1890-1945 ‘Democracy & Dictatorship’
Conflict & Tension between East and West 1945-1972.

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation (50%)
Britain: Health & the People
Restoration England, 1660-1685

A Level History

The A level course follows the AQA syllabus (GCE 7041/2).  There are three modules, two of which are examined at the end of Year 12 and Year 13.

The breadth topic (1B) is Tudor England 1485-1603, comprising of the reign of the Tudor monarchs from Henry VII to Elizabeth I.  This paper requires students to analyse historical interpretations and write extended essay answers to questions from the period.  The depth unit (2K) is International Relations 1890-1941.  This studies the Great Powers from the end of the nineteenth century, the colonial rivalries and the alliance network leading to the outbreak of the First World War.  The second year focuses on the attempts at post-war diplomacy and the road to war during the 1930’s. This unit examination includes an analysis of primary source evidence alongside an extended essay question.

The third unit is a coursework unit worth 20% of the overall A-Level.  The topic is African-American Civil Rights from 1863-1980.  Students will be taught a skeleton course before choosing a question and conducting independent research and drafting their coursework.  This unit will be taught from June – October (after Year 12 examinations).

The aim of the A level course is to further develop the students’ skills, whilst giving them the opportunity to study a wide variety of different time periods and countries.  Students receive ten and eight hours of lessons per fortnight for AS and A2 respectively.


All students are assessed formally on a regular basis.  They will receive feedback on a two-weekly basis following class and homework.  In addition they will undertake an assessment under timed conditions on a half termly basis, which will enable teachers to diagnose future targets and provide summative feedback.  All feedback follows the Success Target Challenge model – which celebrates student achievement while giving them valuable feedback on what they need to do next to improve. The ‘Challenge’ is always a practical task which allows them to apply the feedback and demonstrate rapid progress.  All student response to feedback will be done in green pen (across Years 9-13).


The department is very successful at both GCSE and A level, with the subject regularly achieving results that place the department in the top 20-25% of schools in the country.  Each student will have regular individual target setting with their teachers at key points in the year to ensure progress.  The students will be taught the essential skills required to answer questions during their lessons.  To further prepare the students, they will be given exam based homework regularly.  Additionally, students will be able to access a wide range of extra-curricular support sessions throughout their courses.  In the months leading to all exams, history students are issued with a revision timetable advertising sessions outside of lessons focusing on content and exam technique.

Trips and visits

The History team believe it is essential to allow students to visit as many of the sites as possible that are linked to their studies, thus bringing the subject to life.  Students will be given the opportunity to participate in the following visits:

Year 9 – World War One battlefield visit.
Year 10 – Local historical site visit (recently Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire & Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire)
Year 11 – Overseas visit to either Krakow (Auschwitz), Berlin or Munich.