Head of Department: Mr Gareth Parker-Jones email@example.com
The History Department
History is a flourishing subject at Sevenoaks, and we see our role as to encourage all age groups within the school to share our fascination and love for the past. The Department has seven members and a breadth of expertise. For Years 7-9 we believe that every Sevenoaks pupil should have the chance to explore some of the great events of British and European History, from the Crusades through to the French Revolution and the First World War. At GCSE we explore the main themes of Twentieth Century international history. In the Sixth Form we offer students a choice of a Medieval or Modern World History course. Those who choose to study the Modern World History course focus on European and World History from 1815 to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Those who choose the Medieval option focus on the History of Europe and the wider world from the eleventh to the early fourteenth century. Whichever option students choose our aim is to enable students to engage an exciting range of concepts and ideas that will help to equip them with the skills to become thoughtful, critical and inquiring people. History is particularly popular at IB level, with many Sennockians going on to study History degrees at the most competitive UK and international universities.
Years 7 & 8
The focus for study at Year 7 is an exploration of some of the main themes of the Middle Ages – Conquest, warfare and intellectual change. The Autumn term is devoted to an exploration of the Norman Conquest, and how the British Isles were changed in the centuries that followed. The reputations of Kings such as Henry II and John are assessed to determine what made an effective ruler in the Middle Ages. In the Spring Term the Crusades are studied to determine why and how religious conflict broke out in the eleventh century, and the contemporary perceptions of both Muslim and Christian observers. Summer term is devoted to research into the Renaissance, with an emphasis on changes to art, science and political ideas. For Year 8, the focus is on political and religious change in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. The impact of the Reformation on England is studied, with special reference to the reigns of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and includes topics such as the dissolution of the monasteries and the uses of royal portraiture. The crisis of monarchy is also assessed, from the marriage and religious politics of Henry VIII, to the fall of Charles I. The Republican experiment is also considered in order to understand why the monarchy was restored in 1660.
In addition to the formal curriculum the Department runs a thriving Junior History Society, who meet weekly, enjoying a range of historical discussions and games.
In Year 9 Sevenoaks pupils explore the impact of revolution, war and genocide on the modern world. The origins and development of the French Revolution, and the impact of the Napoleonic wars, are the main focus of study in the Autumn Term. A key question is why the revolution turned violent and divided the people of France. Spring Term is devoted to a study of the First World War, with an emphasis on its causes, and on the experience of fighting on the Western Front. Primary sources are used to examine the responses of ordinary soldiers to the horror of war. Summer term is devoted to a research project into the Holocaust, and its impact on the Jewish communities of central Europe.
Years 10 & 11
For GCSE we offer the OCR Modern World Course, which concentrates on international relations and British political developments in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The course begins with an investigation into the political reforms of the Early Twentieth Century, including how women gained the vote, and the impact of the First World War on British society. This is followed by a study of the inter-war period in Europe, with an emphasis on the treaties of 1919-1923 and the failings of the League of Nations in the 1930s. Pupils also undertake a Depth Study on the USA 1919-1941, with an emphasis on domestic political, economic and social changes. Every pupil also completes a historical investigation, known as The Controlled Assessment. This is written under examination conditions, in class, in Autumn Term of Year 11, and assesses the contribution of an individual to political change.
The Sixth Form
The Department has a strong record of success with the IB, and seeks to challenge students with an exciting and demanding course of study. Students choose to follow either the Medieval (Higher Level only) or Modern IB History course (Higher and Standard Level) Those who follow the Modern course study totalitarian systems in the twentieth century and the Cold War. Topics for study include the dictatorships of Lenin, Mao and Hitler, and key events of the Cold War such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall. At Higher Level students follow a course on 19th and 20th Century Europe, focusing on the post-1815 period, the unification of Germany and Italy, and Russia from the mid-19th century to the Bolshevik Revolution. Those who choose the Medieval option study the themes of state formation, medieval monarchy and religious conflict. Topics include the Medieval Kingdom of Sicily, the Crusades and the Norman and Angevin Kings of England. All historians undertake a piece of coursework on a topic of their own choosing (subject to guidance) which is completed in the Summer Term of the Lower 6th year. Many students also opt to do their Extended Essay on a historical topic, supervised by a member of the History Department.
Sixth Form historians are invited to join a lively History Society which meets weekly to discuss a wide range of historical ideas, and hosts two distinguished speakers each term.
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