Learning about history is not just about acquiring some of the most important analytical and communication skills, it is also about understanding how the past has shaped the present. History is about the imagination, putting yourself in the position of a medieval peasant during the Black Death and hoping, and praying, that you are among the lucky 40% who survived. It is about understanding how and why Stalin killed five or six times more people than Hitler, and why so few know this. It is about explaining why Britain was among the first major nation to exploit the African slave trade and why it was the first to stop it. History really is about getting deeply into highly emotional issues and events and getting to understand them, the key players and the way they are presented.
Pupils study events from the Battle of Hastings to the Peasants’ Revolt in Year 7, and specialise on the way castle design changed over time. In Year 8 they look at the Reformation, the rule of Elizabeth, James I and Charles I and the Civil War; they specialise in slavery. Key skills, about source analysis and essay writing, underpin their studies
In Year 9 pupils learn about the Industrial Revolution and totalitarianism in the 1930s. The course finishes with a comparative study of the two world wars. GCSE study skills are taught, making the transition to Year 10 that much easier. The Edexcel iGCSE course is taught in Years 10 and 11 which covers the Middle East, the Russian Revolution and twentieth century international relations.
“Thank you for being such a great teacher for the last three years. I have enjoyed my history lessons. Thanks you for all your help in preparing me to take my GCSE.” From a Middle School student
For History A Level we follow an Edexcel course. Students in Year 12 study a unit on Germany and West Germany 1918 – 1989, which includes a study of historians' views of Hitler's foreign policy and thematic studies of politics, opposition and support, the economy and society. There is a parallel unit in Year 12 on the Rise and Fall of Fascism in Italy 1911 – 1946. They will go
on to produce a piece of independent coursework in Year 13 investigating a
historical debate concerning the Holocaust, as well as study a final unit on
Ireland and the Union with Britain between 1774 and 1923. Here they will meet some of the great characters in Anglo-British history including Wolf Tone, Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera on the Irish side, and Prime Ministers Pitt, Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George on the British side.
“I have just been awarded a First Class degree in International History from the University of Leeds …and I truly believe that this would not have been possible without your continued support and encouragement.” Former A Level History student.
Follow the Ipswich School History Department on twitter @IpswichHistory.