We aim to:
- Encourage children of all ages to learn about the past;
- Help them to develop an understanding of the history of their own country and the history of other nations and peoples;
- Through studying History, pupils can improve their ability to analyse, argue and conduct research.
Staff and facilities
The department is staffed by seven teachers and occupies six rooms in the Woodsmoor Building. Although we issue a large range of books, especially to Sixth Formers, we also have an extensive library in the department catering for all age groups and courses. The School Library has also acquired new stocks of books for Sixth Form historians, which are particularly relevant for the Historical Investigation at A-level.
Subject time per 10-day cycle
- Lower school – three lessons and homework
- GCSE – five lessons and homework
- A-level – 10 lessons and additional individual study
History in the Lower School
The course begins with an introduction to the medieval world to set the context of their studies. We then explore Medieval England, which includes investigations into the Black Death, Medieval monarchs, and the Wars of the Roses.
In Second Year, we begin by investigating the political and religious changes that occurred in Tudor and Stuart England. After we have studied the Reformation and the causes of the English Civil War, we then conduct a project into Witchcraft in Stuart England. Towards the end of the course our pupils then learn about the origins of the British Empire and Slavery. This is consequently followed by an investigation into the impact of the Industrial Revolution. We especially study local impacts here.
We focus on some of the major events of the twentieth century in the Third Year. The course begins with a look at the major impact of the First World war on Europe and then the impact of the Suffragettes on the Women’s suffrage movement. Following this we move onto the causes of the Russian revolution and the major turning points of the Second World War. Finally, our Third Year study the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany and rights movements post 1945.
History further up the school
In IGCSE History we study the following key areas:
- Europe and the world from 1919 to 1939, with special reference to the peace treaties, the League of Nations and aggressive nationalism in the 1930s, including the rise of Hitler
- An in-depth study on Germany 1918 to 1945, including Weimar Germany and the Third Reich
- An in-depth study on the Cold War 1945 to 1989 and the recent history of the Middle East
- Coursework on American History in the inter war period
A Level History is a linear subject in line with national reforms. The course is divided into three parts – a Depth Study, a Breadth Study, and a Historical Investigation (NEA). The Depth Study is on English History between 1625 and 1660, including the reign of Charles I, the Civil War, the rule of Oliver Cromwell and ends with the Restoration in 1660. The Breadth Study covers a much longer period of Russian History from 1855 to 1964, which includes Russia under the Tsars, such as the reign of Nicholas II, and then under the communists from 1917 to the rule of Khrushchev in the 1960s. The A Level provides the opportunity to study History in much greater depth and pupils have the opportunity for greater independent learning.
Pupils also complete a historical investigation on American civil rights history. This extended essay allows the student to research an area of interest independently and to use a range of primary and secondary materials of their choice.
Links with local history
In recent years, the First Years have visited Tatton Park, and the Third Years have been given talks by members of the armed services who fought in the Second World War. Pupils are also encouraged to investigate war memorials in their home town and to research relatives’ experiences for the Era of World War Two unit.
The department has a long tradition of organising a comprehensive educational trips programme.
The department leads many trips and excursions, both at home and abroad every year. Large numbers of the Third Year participate in our annual four-day trip to the First World War Battlefields sites of Belgium and France every October half term. We also organise a large-scale trip every Easter either to Europe or the USA.
In 2023, our department is taking students from Middle school and Sixth form to the USA. Each trip has important historical and cultural significance. Participants are always guided by local historians and many places of interest are visited. We also encourage Sixth Formers to attend conferences and lecture days in Manchester and trips to the English Civil War centre are an annual occurrence too.
Clubs and societies
We currently run a quiz league called the Now and Then quiz league. This is a weekly Lower School quiz where half the questions are related to the past and half are linked to current affairs. In addition, the department has also created the SGS History Project. This is a group of students from across the whole school who get together and investigate the past. The finished product is a podcast almost every half term. We have covered Black history month, Women’s history month, Holocaust Memorial day and LGBT+ history month.
A dedicated band of Lower Sixth historians produce a publication entitled SGS Historian. The publication includes a range of articles, reviews and interviews.
You can read the SGS Historian online:
In the news
- Students place themselves at heart of political system on Westminster trip
- Albert Johnston Award success for Lydia
- History podcast shines light on inspirational black figures
- Latest SGS Historian edition now released
- SGS Historian – Issue Five now live
- Moving and insightful trip to Poland
- Insightful Battlefields trip
- SGS Historian retains winning title at awards
- Sixth Form visit to the heart of political system
- Unforgettable USA trip for historians
- Historic Classics trip to Italy captivates pupils
- Polish trip gives pupils a moving insight
- First World War remembered during moving Battlefields trip
- Pupils new and old honour fallen soldiers in Remembrance Day Services
- SGS Historian secures back to back national awards
- Historians experience an insightful and thought-provoking trip to the Civil War Centre
- Battlefields tour gives pupils important First World War insight
- SGS Historian scoops national award
- Parliament visit whets pupils’ political appetite