As a department, we are continually delighted by how much Wimbledon High girls relish the intellectual adventure of History, from Year 7 right the way to Year 13.
The subject centres on debate and we firmly believe that our students’ interpretations should be voiced as part of the global discussion of the past, and not just in the classroom. We take nothing at face value, and seek to equip students with both the knowledge and skills to help them make sense of the complex world in which they will live their lives.
If you know your History, then you know where you are coming from - Bob Marley
During Key Stage Three we aim to provide students with a range of experience, both chronological and thematic. Each unit of study is based around an enquiry considering either change and continuity, cause and consequence, significance, evidence or interpretation.
In Year 7 we focus on the medieval world, studying political developments such as the Norman Conquest, the death of Becket, Magna Carta and the Wars of the Roses, as well as the social power of the Church. In the summer, we spend a day in Rochester soaking up the atmosphere of its breath-taking castle and cathedral.
In Year 8, we investigate the effects of the Reformation before looking at the causes of the Civil War and the political turmoil which followed. The focus then changes to the industrialisation of Britain, taking in the experiences of people from all sections of society.
Year 9 picks up from Year 8, with two major studies, one in each half of the year. The first considers ‘How great was the Great War?’ and the second the impact of World War Two around the world. To extend the latter enquiry students undertake work on WW2 beyond the classroom, choosing topics and tasks that best suit their interests. In November, we travel to the Somme for a day to visit the battlefields of the Western Front.
At Key Stage 4, we offer Cambridge’s IGCSE course, which is challenging, wide-ranging and exciting. The core content covers the years 1919-1989, ranging from Europe to the Far East to the Gulf. We also study China’s experiences in the twentieth century. A trip to that most historically evocative of cities, Berlin, complements the students’ learning.
We offer AQA’s A Level, and run two courses. Each unit is worth 40% of the final A Level mark. The first considers the Angevin Kings of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and Spain in the Age of Discovery from 1469-1598. The second looks at the creation of the USA in the eighteenth century and the British Empire from 1857-1967. Both are designed to broaden students’ historical experience and ensure they leave at the end of Year 13 with an understanding of the history of different continents and periods. There is further opportunity to do this through coursework, which accounts for 20% of the final A Level mark and is on a topic chosen by each individual student. Our community of Sixth Form historians is as diverse in their interests as they are supportive of each other, and a high proportion choose to study History at universities both in the UK and beyond.
The History Girls, our weekly discussion group, is led by Sixth Formers who present on topics as diverse as the Ming Dynasty in China, Thatcher, and classical Athens. The floor is then opened for everyone to ask questions and form their own view!