The History Department aims to enable all students to become successful learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve their potential. We encourage students to become confident individuals and responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society.
We inspire, challenge and move our students with the dilemmas, choices and beliefs of people throughout history. We encourage pupils to ask and answer questions of the present by engaging with the past.
- ask and answer important questions
- evaluate evidence
- identify and analyse different interpretations of the past
- substantiate their own arguments and judgements.
Learning outside the classroom
At Key Stage 3 all students take part in a visit which is closely linked to their curriculum studies. At Kenilworth Castle, Quarry Bank Mill and the Imperial War Museum students enjoy interacting with the exhibits and artefacts. They also take part on a ‘hands-on’ workshop run by specialists and historians. These visits also form the basis of a piece of investigative, imaginative and creative project work on our return to school.
At Key Stage 4 and 5 students enjoy many different opportunities to develop their enthusiasm for, and understanding of, their studies. These range from interesting lectures by eminent historians and university professors to one-off competitions and activity days at schools and colleges across the Midlands.
In addition to visits linked to the curriculum, all students have the opportunity to take part in the Department’s extra-curricular trips such as our biannual Battlefields Tour. This visit is spread across four days throughout which students visit memorials, cemeteries, preserved battlefields and many moving sights of interest across the Somme region of France and the Ypres Salient in Belgium.
A highlight of the weekend is always taking part in the Menin Gate Ceremony. The visit is always a truly emotional experience providing pupils with a moving insight into the reality of warfare and the related ethical dilemmas.
Homework is issued regularly, in line with the KS3, 4 or 5 homework timetable. Furthermore, students complete three formal assessments, one in each term. For each of these they are assigned a National Curriculum Level. The first two assessments are conducted during lesson time, whereas the third assessment is the school examination in May.
All students should:
- Develop an accurate chronological framework that enables them to make connections within and across different eras and societies.
- Be able to express fluent and cogent judgements based on a sound knowledge and understanding of events in the past.
- Develop their understanding of key historical concepts, such as change and continuity, cause and effect, significance and interpretation.
- Interrogate source material effectively in order to challenge and discriminate between varying interpretations.
- Develop confidence in their ability to discuss, debate and speculate on challenging issues and dilemmas.
The History Department is housed in the Humanities Block, on the ground floor. We have 2 well-equipped classrooms adjacent to each other which provide vibrant and stimulating learning environments for our students. Teachers make use of ICT facilities to enthuse and to enhance students’ learning, such as interactive whiteboards, audio-visual clips, podcasts and mind-mapping software.
The History Department aims to ensure that every lesson is a positive and rewarding experience.
History Head of Department’s Perspective
I am in a very privileged position: QMHS is my past, my present and my future! I first walked through the school gates in 1988 and, 18 years later, I returned to take up the post of Head of History. My return was, in many ways, uncannily smooth. It really was not the odd or disorientating experience that it might have been if QMHS in the twentieth-first century was not living up to its traditions of excellence, inclusion and inspiration. I have very many happy memories of friends, teachers and inspiring times. Now, as a teacher of History, I am thrilled to be working with such dedicated colleagues and such committed and enthusiastic students. History at QMHS is thriving.
On a personal note, I love history because it is part of my identity and the evolution of my world. What happened in the past is an integral part of what is happening now. I am passionate about teaching History because I see every day how my students rise to the challenge of tackling the important issues facing the world. To play a small part in helping our students to develop into thoughtful citizens with critical and balanced views on the world around them is a source of pride and satisfaction to the Department.
History is knowledge and knowledge is power. History combines the excitement of exploration with the sense of reward made by successfully confronting and making sense of complex and challenging problems. In many ways, History helps you make sense of the other subjects that you study. In particular, it is about human behaviour; real people dealing with real situations. Whether we study the actions and impact of Elizabeth I or John Lennon, we try to get to grips with what makes people tick.
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. “
Beyond my passion for History as a vital subject for young minds, I also believe that History at GCSE and A Level is a terrific qualification. Universities and employers value the skills that are perfected through the study of the past:
- the ability to produce a succinct argument which is supported by relevant and persuasive evidence
- the ability to evaluate evidence critically to inform a decision
- the ability to theorise and speculate
- the ability to communicate and work cooperatively.
Our future doctors, lawyers, politicians, accountants, managing directors and scientists need these skills. Above all, our students develop an open and inquisitive mind; they become critical thinkers.
“The broad masses of a nation… more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
My time as a pupil at QMHS inspired a life-long love for learning and History, for which I am extremely grateful. I hope I may now do the same for my students.