But it’s all in the past, why is History useful to students now?
It would be great to know what could happen before we make an important decision wouldn’t it? Well, studying history can help us do this on a big scale. By analysing past events we learn about the consequences of people’s actions, from kings & queens to the London baker who forgot to put his fire out on September 2nd 1666… If we apply this knowledge to the present, governments, businesses and individuals can learn lessons from past mistakes or successes and make informed choices about their futures.
In history we study lots of different sources and learn that events are often the result of complex and multiple factors. It’s never as simple as person A whacking person B over the head and starting a war. Politics, communication, beliefs, misunderstandings and even the environment can shape the way things turn out. Look at all the different stuff that came together to make things spiral out of control in Game of Thrones…(OK we know this isn’t real history, but an understanding of medieval European politics really helps to write it!) Essentially, history helps us see the bigger picture in 3D.
What skills will I get from studying History?
History teaches us to ask two very important questions: why and how. This is key to sharpening your critical thinking abilities, which combine analysis, research, essay writing and communication skills to help you to solve problems and form arguments for debate.
Historians look at all the available evidence and come to conclusions, a lot like a good detective, which helps them learn to be organised and manage information.
What do we learn?
The History course follows the AQA exam specification. It comprises of two two-hour exams which cover 2 of the four topics per paper.
Paper 1: Understanding the modern world
Section A: America, 1840–1895: Expansion and consolidation:
This period study focuses on the development of America during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of expansion and consolidation – the expansion to the west and consolidation of the United States as a nation. Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in bringing about change. They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.
Section B: Conflict and Tension: The Interwar Years- 1918-1939:
This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of different individuals and states including the Great Powers. It looks at concepts such as national self-determination, ideas of internationalism and the challenges of revising the peace settlement. It focuses on the causes of the Second World War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the issues which caused it. This study also considers the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change, as well as how they were affected by and influenced international relations.
Paper 2: Shaping the Nation
Section A: Thematic Study: Power and the People c.1170- present:
This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of the development of the relationship between the citizen and the state in Britain over a long period of time. It considers the causes, scale, nature and consequences of protest to that relationship. By charting the journey from feudalism and serfdom to democracy and equality, it reveals how, in different periods, the state responds to challenges to its authority and their impact. It allows students to construct an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the citizen.
Students will have the opportunity to see how ideas, events or developments in the wider world affected the course of Britain’s political development and will promote the idea that ideas of authority, challenge and rights did not develop in isolation, but these developments should be seen in terms of how they affected Britain and British people.
Section B: British Depth Study: Elizabethan England c1568-1603 (with the historic environment study):
This option allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last 35 years of Elizabeth I’s reign. The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies.
The historic environment is 10% of the overall course. Students will be examined on a specific site in depth. This site will be as specified and will be changed annually. The site will relate to the content of the rest of this depth study. It is intended that study of different historic environments will enrich students’ understanding of Elizabethan England.