“History is bunk” – so said Henry Ford, founder of the great American car firm at the turn of the century.  He is, of course, part of history himself now and it would be a hardy businessman who, today, would deny the value, even the necessity, of looking back in order to look forward.  In fact, judging by a glance at television programmes most weeks, lists of popular films, even the daily newspapers, it would seem that matters historical are more in the public eye than ever.  History certainly is not bunk! We also offer Government and Politics at A Level. As John Robert Seeley said, “History is past politics, and politics present history”. In this sense, our subjects really do complement each other!

Reasons for the continued interest in these subjects are not hard to find.  Their study demands probably a unique range of skills – the understanding and analysis of information from a wide range of sources; the presentation of that information in both written and oral forms; the asking and answering of questions.  At Handsworth these are all skills we seek to foster right across the key stages, as well as covering an exciting and diverse curriculum.

Aims

  • To foster a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for History/Politics; to bring the past ‘to life’ through consistently interesting and challenging lessons.
  • To encourage pupils to pursue this interest beyond the classroom and the specification, through visits, television programmes, wider reading etc. We are not just interested in the exam!
  • To provide a firm foundation for the future. Our subjects are academically rigorous and encourage a wide range of skills as well as informed citizenship.

Curriculum

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12 - History

Year 12 - Politics

Year 13 - History

Year 13 - Politics

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

Historical Skills unit (non-statutory)

  • Drawing timelines
  • Dividing up time
  • Using sources
  • Anachronisms

First assessment

Spring Term 1

The development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509

  • The Battle of Hastings (assessed essay)
  • The Norman Conquest
  • Motte & Bailey Castles

Summer Term 1

  • King John and Magna Carta
  • Development of Parliament
  • Towns &Village Life
  • School exams (third assessment)

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

The study of an aspect of British history from before 1066: the Romans in Britain

  • Definitions of empire
  • The conquest of Britain
  • The Roman army
  • Life in Roman Britain

Spring Term 2

Ludlow or Warwick Castle trip

  • The feudal system
  • Domesday Book
  • Development of castles
  • Role of religion
  • Henry II and Thomas Becket

Summer Term 2

  • Black Death
  • Peasants’ Revolt
  • Wars of the Roses and the rise of the Tudor monarchy

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745

  • The Reformation
  • The break with Rome
  • Changes under Edward and Mary – first assessment

Spring Term 1

  • Gunpowder Plot: (trial preparation and re-enactment)
  • Second assessment based on this & Elizabeth work.

Summer Term 1

Study of an issue in world history: the Black Peoples of the Americas/Civil Rights

  • Triangular trade route and the origins of slavery
  • School exams (third assessment)

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

  • Elizabeth I – why was she successful?
  • Including religion, Mary, Queen of Scots, the Spanish Armada and a study of portraits

(assessed creative writing task)

Spring Term 2

  • King Charles I
  • Causes of civil war – extended essay
  • World Turned Upside Down
  • Cromwell – hero or villain?
  • Monarchs after 1660 (balloon debate)

Summer Term 2

  • The Middle Passage
  • Life on a Plantation
  • Abolition of slavery
  • Civil Rights

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901

  • Changes 1750-1900
  • Should we be proud of the British Empire?

First assessment (sources exercise)

Spring Term 1

Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

Overview

  • Causes of the First World War

Second assessment – extended essay

Summer Term 1

School Exams

  • Democracy v dictatorship
  • (definitions and case studies)
  • Events leading to war/appeasement

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

  • Industrial Revolution, factory system/child labour
  • A local history study: Living conditions in 19th Century B’ham. Visit to Black Country Museum
  • Protest/votes for women

Spring Term 2

  • Trench warfare (including conscientious deserters)
  • Home Front
  • The Treaty of Versailles

Summer Term 2

  • Second World War & the Cold War: a series of lessons driven by pupil interest.
  • Overview of the Holocaust (to be followed up in Y10 and in General RS).

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

 

Paper 1: Understanding the Modern World

Section A: Germany, 1890-1945

Spring Term 1

 

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation

Section A: Britain, health and the people

Summer Term 1

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation

Section A: Britain, health and the people

Revision for school exams

 

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

Paper 1: Understanding the Modern World

Section B: Conflict and Tension, 1918-1939

Plus revision lessons for mock exams

 

Spring Term 2

Paper 2: Historic Environment

Including visit to Globe Theatre before Easter 2018. Issue revision guide (include AQA assessment guidance)

 

 

Term 1

Autumn Term 1

Paper 1: Understanding the Modern World

Section B: Conflict and Tension, 1918-1939

Spring Term 1

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation

Section B: Elizabethan England 1568-1603

Summer Term 1

Finish spring term work as necessary

Revision and exam practice.

 

Term 2

Autumn Term 2

Paper 1: Understanding the Modern World

Section B: Conflict and Tension, 1918-1939

Plus revision lessons for mock exams

Spring Term 2

Paper 2: Historic Environment

Including visit to Hardwick Hall before Easter 2018. Issue revision guide (include AQA assessment guidance

Term 1

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 1

Consolidation of the Tudor Dynasty: England, 1485–1547

Introduction

Spring Term 1

Mock exams

Consolidation of the Tudor Dynasty: England, 1485–1547

Henry VIII

Summer Term 1

Revision and further exam practice

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 1

To the brink of Nuclear War: international relations, c1945–1963

The Origins of the Cold War, c1945–1949

Spring Term 1

Mock exams

To the brink of Nuclear War: international relations, c1945–1963

The Global War, 1955–1963

Summer Term 1

Revision and further exam practice

Term 2

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 2

Consolidation of the Tudor Dynasty: England, 1485–1547

Henry VII

Spring Term 2

Consolidation of the Tudor Dynasty: England, 1485–1547

Henry VIII

Summer Term 2

Introduction to Unit 3: Historical investigation (A-level only).

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 2

To the brink of Nuclear War: international relations, c1945–1963

The Widening of the Cold War, 1949–1955

Spring Term 2

To the brink of Nuclear War: international relations, c1945–1963

The Global War, 1955–1963

Summer Term 2

Introduction to Unit 3: Historical investigation (A-level only).

Term 1

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 1

Unit 1

UK Politics: Democracy & participation

Spring Term 1

Unit 1

People and Politics: Electoral Systems

Summer Term 1

Internal exam & Introduction to Unit 2 US Politics

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 1

Unit 2

UK Government: Constitution

Spring Term 1

Unit 2

UK Government: Prime Minister and Cabinet

Summer Term 1

Internal exam & Introduction to Unit 2 US Government

Term 2

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 2

Unit 1

UK Politics: Political Parties

Spring Term 2

Unit 1

UK Politics: Pressure Groups

Summer Term 2

Unit 2

US Politics

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 2

Unit 2

UK Government: Parliament

Spring Term 2

Unit 2

UK Government: The Judiciary

Summer Term 2

Unit 2

US Government

Term 1

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 1

Instability and consolidation: ‘the Mid-Tudor Crisis’, 1547–1563 (Edward VI )

Spring Term 1

Mock exams

The triumph of Elizabeth, 1563–1603

Summer Term 1

Revision and further exam practice

Submission of NEA

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 1

Confrontation and cooperation, c1963–1972

Spring Term 1

Mock exams

The ending of the Cold War, 1985–1991

Summer Term 1

Revision and further exam practice

Submission of NEA

Term 2

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 2

Instability and consolidation: ‘the Mid-Tudor Crisis’, 1547–1563 (Mary I)

Spring Term 2

The triumph of Elizabeth, 1563–1603

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 2

The Brezhnev era, 1972–1985

Spring Term 2

The ending of the Cold War, 1985–1991

Term 1

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 1

Unit 3

UK Political Issues:

  • Social Welfare
  • Education

Spring Term 1

Mock exams

Unit 4

European Political Issues:

  • Institutions

Summer Term 1

Revision and further exam practice

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 1

Unit 3

UK Political Issues:

  • Health
  • Law and order

Spring Term 1

Mock exams

Unit 4

European Political Issues:

  • The EU and the UK

Summer Term 1

Revision and further exam practice

Term 2

Teacher 1

Autumn Term 2

Unit 3

UK Political Issues:

  • Welfare synoptic questions
  • The economy

Spring Term 2

Unit 4

European Political Issues:

  • Integration and Enlargement

Teacher 2

Autumn Term 2

Unit 3

UK Political Issues:

  • Law and order (cont)
  • The environment

Spring Term 2

Unit 4

European Political Issues:

  • Domestic Policy Issues

Staff

  • Miss J E Smith (Head of Department)
  • Mrs L Polke (Pupil Achievement Leader)
  • Miss K Limb (Deputy Head & Head of Sixth Form)
  • Mrs U Cole (part-time)
  • Mrs J Nolan (part-time)

Additional Information

Useful Links

Key Stage 3
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.activehistory.co.uk (your History teacher can provide the username and password)

Key Stage 4
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.aqa.org.uk.
www.britainexpress.com/architecture/
www.bmag.org.uk/blakesley-hall – Blakesley Hall website

Key Stage 5
http://magazines.philipallan.co.uk/- ask your teacher for details
http://tutor2u.net/ – ask for FPTP log-in details or refer to student guide
www.edexcel.org.uk
www.bbc.co.uk/news – BBC News website
www.direct.gov.uk – website of the UK Government
www.number10.gov.uk – the Downing Street website
www.Parliament.uk – website of the UK Parliament
www.economist.comThe Economist magazine
www.ft.comThe Financial Times
www.guardianunlimited.co.ukThe Guardian newspaper
www.hansard-society.org.uk – The Hansard Society for parliamentary government
www.electoral–reform.org.uk – Electoral Reform Society, pressure group criticising FPTP
www.electoralcommission.org.uk – for information about elections in the UK

Plus the websites of various political parties!

How can parents help?

In History, you can best help by being interested and encouraging your daughter to talk about the work in which she is currently engaged. You can also prompt her to read teacher comments on written work, act upon them and review work frequently. You may wish to refer to the level or grade descriptors which will be in her exercise book (Y7-9), student guide and mark schemes (GCSE), or in the course booklets (A Level). Your daughter will be issued with at least one core textbook at all levels and these should be used to consolidate classroom learning. Where KS4 is concerned, we have a helpful selection of A* level revision materials on Moodle which you could point her to.

Interest can also be stimulated by leisure visits to historical sites, while on holiday, or locally at the weekend. Such visits do not have to be directly related to the topic or period under discussion, nor need they be expensive if advantage is taken of family concessions, English Heritage or National Trust membership, or free access to museums. The reading of historical literature, again of any period, could also be encouraged – the advice of the school librarian could be made use of here and we have an extensive list of recommended historical fiction on Moodle. In addition, parents could usefully direct attention to the many historically related television programmes which are regularly on offer. We do not particularly recommend general internet searches as these tend to discourage the questioning of material and girls tend not to read information carefully enough.

Where Politics is concerned, much of the above advice still applies. In addition, it is imperative that your daughter watches the news on the television, listens to it on the radio (Channel 4’s Today programme is particularly recommended) and/or reads a good quality newspaper.

Where next

History

Contrary to some mistaken opinion, a degree in History does not confine you to a career in teaching! Rather, because of its generalist nature (as explained above), it can lead to a wide range of attractive (and even lucrative!) careers. Frequently linked is Law (qualification requires further training), but also:

  • Media work- print journalism, T.V. and radio presenting, research
  • Libraries and museums (including the increasing number of historical attractions)
  • The Civil Service-both local and national
  • Management and Recruitment Consultancy
  • Personnel posts in business enterprises…

The list is endless – it includes anything that demands analytical thinking with the ability to express oneself effectively!

Politics

As the basis for degree study: either a pure Politics course, or as part of International Relations, American Studies, Public Policy or similar courses. Politics is also commonly offered in conjunction with other subjects e.g. Law, PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics), Sociology, Business/Management, History, Economics, to suggest a few of the more usual combinations. Even without further study, the course will enable you to take a lasting interest in political issues and play your part as an effective citizen at election time! All of the above career areas (and more!) apply.

Opportunities out of lessons

In line with our department aims, we seek to encourage pupils to pursue their interest in History and Politics beyond the classroom, through visits, television programmes, wider reading etc. We are not just interested in the exam!

Key Stage 3

The department offers a number of curriculum-related trips. Y7s all visit the magnificent Warwick Castle. Y9s all go to the Black Country Living Museum as part of their local study. Other day trips have included the Maritime Museum in Liverpool (Y8) and the Imperial War Museum/Cabinet War Rooms (Y9). We regularly organise trips to the First World War battlefields of Belgium and Northern France with Y9, most recently in June 2014 as part of our centenary commemorations.

There is also a KS3 History Club who meet one lunchtime a week. Here girls have the opportunity to explore additional topics from outside of our curriculum, and to enrich their understanding of those they have studied. This year’s activities have included making a wall display to celebrate the centenary of the First World War and a screening of the film War Horse. In the past we have also welcomed in ‘old girls’ to talk about life at Handsworth in the 1940s to the 1960s. We take part in the annual magistrates’ mock trial competition and are three times national winners!

Key Stage 4

In recent years we have visited Blakesley Hall in Yardley at the end of Year 10, a beautiful late Tudor property and the home of Richard Smalbroke, yeoman, merchant and aspiring gentleman by the time he died in 1613! In the past, it has also been possible to run theatre and cinema trips, when suitable opportunities have arisen, and in 2009 we took a group of Y10 and 11 pupils to Auschwitz in Poland, an experience none of us will ever forget. In the summer of 2014 and 2015 we took the whole of Y10 to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to consider the theme of remembrance.

Key Stage 5

We try to ensure that pupils have the opportunity to attend conferences for revision and stimulation as appropriate. As a department, we are committed to offering a continuing programme of involvement and stimulation within the confines of the school’s visits policy. In the autumn term, for example, we attend a ‘Democracy Forum’ in central Birmingham, organised by the Rotary Club. Here girls are able to participate in their own Question Time with a panel of local MPs. Y13 historians attend the annual student Cold War lectures in Birmingham. We run occasional visits to the Houses of Parliament and enjoyed a very lively mock election in 2015 and mock EU referendum in 2016. We have also joined up with the Economics and Business Studies departments in the past for trips to Washington and New York.

Useful links

Useful History/Politics web links

Key Stage 3

www.schoolhistory.co.uk

www.activehistory.co.uk (your History teacher can provide the username and password)

Key Stage 4

www.schoolhistory.co.uk

www.aqa.org.uk.

www.britainexpress.com/architecture/

www.bmag.org.uk/blakesley-hall – Blakesley Hall website

Key Stage 5

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/program/cold-war-international-history-project

http://magazines.philipallan.co.uk/- ask your teacher for details

http://tutor2u.net/ – ask for FPTP log-in details or refer to student guide

www.aqa.org.uk/history

www.edexcel.org.uk

www.bbc.co.uk/news – BBC News website

www.direct.gov.uk – website of the UK Government

www.number10.gov.uk – the Downing Street website

www.Parliament.uk – website of the UK Parliament

www.economist.comThe Economist magazine

www.ft.comThe Financial Times

www.guardianunlimited.co.ukThe Guardian newspaper

www.hansard-society.org.uk – The Hansard Society for parliamentary government

www.electoral–reform.org.uk – Electoral Reform Society, pressure group criticising FPTP

www.electoralcommission.org.uk – for information about elections in the UK

Plus the websites of various political parties!