Head of Department

  • Mrs D MacIntyre (Assistant Head of Year 8)

Subject Teacher

  • Mr N Forbes (Learning Support Coordinator) 

Introduction and ethos

It is the principal aim of the History department to encourage an interest in the past and to do so in as enjoyable a manner as possible. It is also the aim of the department to help students of all abilities to develop both general and specific skills.

General skills

  • Deduction – Students should be exposed to a wide variety of stimuli such as film, written and pictorial source material, computer programs, artefacts or historical sites, and should be helped to draw conclusions from them and to use them as evidence.
  • Reference – Students should develop basic research techniques such as location of materials in libraries or other places; the selection and deployment of designated content; and the use of the index in textbook and other reference works.
  • Recording – Every effort should be made to encourage the accurate recording of data, whether in the form of graphs, tables, narrative or notes, and in whatever medium is used, eg paper, computer databases.
  • Number – Students should be encouraged to deploy skills of numeracy where appropriate, such as tabulating prices, calculating incomes and the like.
  • Language – Students should be taught to use language accurately and appropriately, both verbally and in writing.

This will naturally include the use of dictionaries.

  • Technology – Students should be particularly encouraged and assisted, where appropriate to make use of information technology such as computers, word processors and interactive video.
  • Graphical – Students, especially in Years 7 to 9, should be expected to develop skills of accurate drawing, map-making and representation.

Subject-specific skills

All students should be given a systematic training in the application of subject specific skills, at a level appropriate to their age and ability. They should be introduced to many of the key concepts and ideas of historical study. These will include:

Methodological/historical concepts

  • Empathy – Students must be helped to ‘stand outside themselves’ and avoid anachronistic assumptions about historical motivation.
  • Chronology – Students will be helped to understand how and why past events happened as they did, and to appreciate that historical events are likely to be multi-causal and complex.
  • Consequence – Students will be encouraged to establish the consequences of the events they study, and to understand that the past frequently contains examples of unpredictable, random and long-lasting consequence.
  • Change – Students will examine and explore the nature of change. Exercises in comparison – perhaps using local examples – will be employed.
  • Continuity – Students will be helped to understand the nature and importance of continuity in history.
  • Role of the individual – Using a wide variety of examples, both male and female, and from different social, ethnic and national backgrounds, students

will be expected to develop an understanding of the roles of individuals in the past.

  • Similarity and difference – Students will be enabled to show their ability to appreciate the similarities and differences of past events.
  • Evidence – Students will be expected to obtain an understanding of the nature of different kinds of evidence. Emphasis will be laid on the difference between primary and secondary evidence, and on the limitations and advantages of both. Most students should be able to detect and account for the presence and bias of evidence.

Key Stage 3 Overview

Year 8 History

  • What is History (History skills)
  • Norman Conquest & Feudal system
  • Castles :     Motte & Bailey castles
    • Stone castles
    • Attacking & Defending castles
  • Ireland before Normans: Irish quarrels
  • The Normans in Ireland
    • Dermot Mac Murrough & Strongbow
    • Norman Conquest of Ireland
    • John de Courcy & Carrickfergus Castle
  • Medieval life: Crime & punishment
    • Black Death

Year 9 History

  • Renaissance
  • Reformation
  • European rivalries:       England & Spain
        • Elizabeth & Phillip
        • The Spanish Armada
  • New World Explorers: Trade & Settlement
        • English Civil War
        • Plantation
        • Plantation of Ulster
        • Dynastic War in Ireland

Year 10 History

  • Ireland before the Famine
  • Home Rule Crisis
  • Ireland and World War I: Causes of World War I
        • European Rivalries
        • Assassination
  • Two Armies   
  • Triple Alliance
  • Triple Entente
  • B E F
  • Battles
  • Trench warfare
  • B E F kit & equipment
  • Weapons of War:            
  • Guns & Bombs
  • Tanks & flame throwers
  • Submarines & Ships
  • Aeroplanes
  • Armistice & End of war
  • 20th Century World

Key Stage 4 Overview 


The course aims to give students opportunities to explore key political, economic and social events that have helped shape today’s institutions, governments and societies.

Students study and evaluate systems of government and learn how the actions of government impact on individuals, groups and society as a whole. They explore the values, attitudes, perceptions and ideologies that have shaped human behaviour,  endeavour and achievement in the past. They also study how men and women in the past have interacted with their environments and how the environment has contributed to and shaped historical events.

Students will:

  • develop an understanding of history’s key value and significance for today’s society;
  • develop an awareness of how the past has been represented, interpreted and given significance for different reasons and purposes;
  • acquire an understanding of social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity;
  • improve as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with curious and enquiring minds;
  • develop the ability to ask relevant and significant questions about the past, to carry out research and evaluate conclusions;
  • acquire an understanding of the nature of historical study, for example that history is concerned with interpretations based on available evidence and that historical interpretations may be provisional;
  • make links and draw comparisons with and/or across different periods and aspects of the past;
  • organise and communicate their historical knowledge and understanding in different ways, argue a case and reach substantiated judgements; and
  • recognise that their historical knowledge and skills help them understand the present and provide them with a basis for their roles as responsible citizens.

This specification allows students to develop skills that are transferable and highly valued by employers. It also prepares them for the further study of history at advanced level, or vocational training.

Students have the opportunity to sit Unit 1 in the first year of teaching.

The Students can take GCSE History at either Foundation or Higher Tier. Foundation Tier is targeted at students who wish to achieve a grade C–G. Higher Tier is targeted at students who wish to achieve a grade A*–D.

Students must complete three units of study:

  • Two Studies in Depth;
  • an Outline Study; and
  • an Investigative Study (controlled assessment).

We have selected the following topic for the first Study in Depth:

Germany 1918–1941;

Aftermath of World War I and the Weimar Republic

  • Treaty of Versailles and Constitutional Change
  • Challenges to Weimar
  • Economic and Social Problems, 1918–23
  • Stresemann’s Policies
  • Rise of Hitler and the Nazis
  • The Depression and the Fall of Weimar

Nazi Germany, 1933–39

  • Nazi Consolidation of Power, 1933–34
  • Economic Policies
  • Social Policies: Women, Young People and the Churches
  • Propaganda and the Creation of the Police State
  • The Jews

Nazi Policies and Actions in Europe, 1933–41

  • Foreign Policy Aims
  • The Early Years, 1933–36
  • Increasing Ambitions, 1936–37
  • Austria and the Sudetenland, 1938
  • Czechoslovakia, Poland and World War II

We have selected the following topic for the second Study in Depth:

  • Peace, War and Neutrality: Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland 1932-1949;

Anglo-Irish Relations up to the Outbreak of World War 11, September 1939

  • Dismantling of the Anglo-Irish Treaty
  • The Economic War
  • Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1938
  • Responses to the Outbreak of War, September 1939

The Effects of World War II on Northern Ireland and Éire

  • Northern Ireland’s Role in World War II
  • The Effects of World War II on the lives of people in Northern Ireland and Éire
  • German attacks and their impact on Britain, Northern Ireland and Éire
  • Éire’s Neutrality

Post-War Social and Political Changes

  • The Welfare State and its Impact
  • Life in Éire, 1945-1949
  • Constitutional Changes and Effects on Relations

The Outline Study focuses on The Cold War in Europe and the World.

The Cold War 1945–1991

Relations between the Superpowers in Europe

  • Beginning of the Cold War in Europe, 1945–48
  • Early Confrontation in Europe
  • Challenges to USSR’s Control in Eastern Europe (Hungary 1956, Berlin Wall, 1961, The Prague Spring 1968)
  • Gorbachev, Reagan and the End of the Cold War, 1985-1991

Relations between the Superpowers outside Europe

  • The Korean War, 1950-53
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
  • The Vietnam War

Investigative Study (controlled assessment)– Vietnam War

There are three processes involved in controlled assessment.

These are:

  • Task setting – ensuring that the tasks are valid and reliable by

making them less predictable and formulaic;

  • Task taking – addressing issues of authenticity; and
  • Task marking – ensuring high quality judgements in assessment.