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 power, religion, society and medicine during this period. We also investigate the impact of major events such as the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. The year ends with an exploration of a non-European medieval kingdom or empire to help broaden their knowledge of the medieval world.
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. This then naturally leads onto a study of the history of anti-Semitism and the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. The year concludes with a study of Civil Rights in the UK and the USA, followed by a group project investigating ‘Hopeful or disturbing history’ of the latter part of the twentieth century.
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 on 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.
Sixth Form go on a trip to the National Civil War Centre to enhance their studies of the English Civil War and general seventeenth century history. We also encourage Sixth Formers to attend conferences and lecture days.
In 2023, our department took students from Middle School and Sixth Form to the USA. This trip took in the history of three significant US cities – New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Each trip has important historical and cultural significance. In 2024, we are planning to take the IGCSE historians to Berlin for a long weekend. Participants are always guided by local historians and many places of interest are visited.
Clubs and societies
We currently run a quiz league called the History Quiz League. This is a weekly Lower School quiz where each week there are a selection of 20 questions related to various themes. A recent addition to our co-curricular activities is also the Lower School Family History club. This gives our younger students the chance to research their ancestry.
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
- Issue 8 of SGS Historian now live
- Historians experience memorable trip to America
- GCSE historians attend captivating Holocaust survivor talk
- Students immerse themselves in Polish history during unforgettable trip
- Battlefields trip highlights the importance of remembrance
- Latest SGS Historian issue looks at misrepresentation in History
- 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