History

Curriculum

  • At Key Stage 3, students study: Medieval Realms 1066-1500; the Making of the United Kingdom and the Twentieth Century World
  • As part of the Key Stage 3 syllabus, the History Department is proud to include a topic on the History of New Hall School. As part of the topic, students learn about the history of the Religious Community and the building. The department is able to take advantage of the valuable archives available and it is a subject that students enjoy a great deal. Knowledge of the Tudor period is then built upon in Year 8
  • At Key Stage 4, students study the IGCSE: International Relations, 1945-62; Germany, 1918-45; Russia, 1914- 24 and the Changing Nature of Warfare, 1936-2003
  • At Key Stage 5, students will begin the new A Level from the Michaelmas Term, 2015. Topics in Year 12 look at Twentieth Century US History and South African History between 1948 and 1994. Currently, Year 13 students are able to complete an independent investigation on the topic of their choice and sit one paper on German History 1900-1945. From 2016, this will change; students will once again be able to complete an independent investigation on the topic of their choice but the examination paper will focus on the History of the British Empire, 1763 – 1914

Co-Curricular Activities

Year 7 students visit St Albans Cathedral as part of their study of the Medieval Church. In Year 8, students extend their knowledge of the Tudor period with a visit to the Tower of London. In Year 9, all students are invited to visit the Battlefields of Ypres in Belgium, as part of their study of the First World War. In Year 10, students consolidate their knowledge of Germany and warfare with a visit to the Imperial War Museum. The History Centenary Club is also well attended.

All Sixth Form students are invited to enter a variety of academic competitions. These include The Vellacott History Prize and The Robson History Prize organised by Peterhouse College and Trinity College, Cambridge. Other competitions include St Hilda’s College Oxford History Essay Prize Competition and a national competition focusing on the ‘History of Parliament’. History students are also keen participants of the school’s Debating Club, which enters national competitions organised by Oxford University, Cambridge University and the English Speaking Union.

In the Sixth Form, students attend a variety of academic lectures, which are usually held in London.

As part of our commemoration of the Centenary of the Great War, the History department oversaw a very successful co-curricular week in the Michaelmas term of 2014. The department also hosted two lectures by notable academics; Dr Stuart Halifax, a post graduate of Oxford University, lectured on ‘Essex and the Great War.’ Dr Elizabeth Bruton, an experienced speaker on the BBC and visiting Fellow of Oxford University, spoke on ‘Wires and Wireless’, an overview of the development of different systems of telecommunications – telegraph, telephone, and wireless – during the war, including the work of the Marconi Company in Chelmsford. 

Departmental Achievements

In 2015, 100% of students achieved A*-B grades at GCSE; 100% of students achieved A*-B grades at A Level.     

For the past 5 years, the department’s results have consistently surpassed national results; most recently achieving 50% more A*-A grades than the national average at IGCSE. 18 papers were marked at 100/100 (2014).

History is a popular option choice both at IGCSE and A Level, with many students choosing to read History at university. In 2015, Alexander Harker gained three A* and one A grade and secured his place to read History at the University of Cambridge.

Head of Department

Mr P Bray BA (Dunelm), MA (Dunelm), GTP (Head of Humanities)