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Why is it important that students study History?School Logo

History is a highly academic subject that is increasingly being viewed as important in preparing students both for university and the workplace. History develops a range of skills that are essential in later life, notably evaluating evidence, presenting arguments, analysing and making judgements as well as recalling knowledge. Perhaps crucially History helps us understand the world in which we live. The History Department at St. John Fisher is proud to offer three subjects at A Level: Modern History, Government and Politics and unusually for a state school, Ancient History (Classics). This reflects our philosophy that all our students are capable of achieving good results and that we should offer as wide a range of opportunities as possible.

Departmental Staffing

Mr T. Best; Head of History, Politics and Ancient History
Mr A. Fox; Teacher of History and Politics (Head of Year 7)
Dr M. Langstaff; Teacher of History (EPQ Co-ordinator)
Mr M. Melville; Teacher of History and Politics (Sixth Form Senior Tutor & Assistant Head of Sixth Form)
Mr J. Sharpe; Teacher of History and Politics (Assistant Head Teacher)
Mrs E. Wooldridge; Teacher of History

Key Stage 3

During Years 7 and 8 pupils are taught in their form groups which are mixed ability. Particular highlights in this course include the gruesome and gory Black Death and Peasants’ Revolt, the turbulent times of the Tudors, the struggle for suffrage and Britain in the Blitz. Students will undertake one formal assessment a term, in which they will be given a national curriculum level.

Key Stage 4 – subject to change following changes to exams and government policyhistory 2

Year Nine is used to study major topics that act as a background to the GCSE. Currently, we study the Great War, the Holocaust, the life and death of President Kennedy, Berlin 1945-1991 and a project on an individual that changed the 20th Century.

GCSE course – subject to change due to government policy

We currently study Germany 1918-39, International Relations 1943-1991 (the Cold War), Britain 1931 to 1951 and Britain in the 1960s. The first three of these are formal examinations taken in the summer of year 11. The study of Britain in the 1960s is a Controlled Assessment. This is examined through EDEXCEL.

Key Stage 5 – all subject to change due to government policy

Modern Historyhistory 6

From September 2015 we will be offering a course examining modern British and modern Russian History. In Year 12, Russia 1855 – 1917 looks at Tsarist attempts to preserve their autocracy and power (1855 – 1894) and the eventual collapse of their autocracy (1894 – 1917), whilst Britain 1951 – 1979 looks at the affluent society, 1951 to 1964, the sixties (1964 – 1970) and the end of the post-war consensus (1970 – 1979).

In Year 13, Russia 1917 – 1964 looks at the emergence of a communist dictatorship (1917 – 1941) and the Stalinist dictatorship and subsequent reactions, whilst Britain 1979 – 2007 examines the impact of Thatcherism (1979 – 1987), the movement towards a new consensus (1987 – 1997) and the era of new Labour (1997 – 2007). Students wishing to gain an A-level in History will also be required to undertake a piece of indepedently researched coursework of approximately 3,500 words.

Government and Politicshistory 7

This is examined through Edexcel. The AS course focuses on the workings of the British political system. Unit 1 focuses on the Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet and finally the Judiciary. Unit 2 focuses on Political Parties, Pressure Groups, Democracy and Elections.

The A2 course follows Route A. This involves Unit 3 studying British Issues. These are The Economy, The Welfare State, The Environment and Law and Order. This examination is taken in January of Year 13. Unit 4 studies the workings of the European Union and its impact on the United Kingdom.

Ancient History (Classics)history 8

We are delighted to offer this course being one of the few state schools in the country to do so. Ancient History is examined through OCR. Half of the AS course looks at Britain in the Roman Empire, through the use of original sources. We will study the reasons for the invasion of Britain, and the ensuing conquest, as well the response of the Britons through the process of Romanisation and rebellion. The other half of the AS course looks at Ancient Greek history, which is taught at St. Aidan’s.

The A2 course looks at the ruling of the Roman Empire from AD14 to 117. Like the Year 12 course, this is taught through the use of original sources. Themes studied include the administration of the empire, frontier policy and responses to imperial rule.


GCSE Results 2014
• 89% A* – C
• 52% A*/A
History A Level Results 2014
• 43% A*/A
• 74% A* – B
Politics A Level Results 2014
• A*/A 68%
• A* – B 80%
Ancient History A Level Results 2014
• 27% A*/A
• 65% A* -B
Extra-Curricular Trips and Activities

• History Club for Year 7 and 8
• History/Art Club for Years 7, 8 and 9
•High Starters & Achievers Humanities Club for Year 8
• Latin for High Starters & Achievers run by Mrs Dimond
• Debating Society
• History/English trip to the Somme in Year 8
• History Trip to Germany in Year 10
• Opportunity for a small number of sixth formers to visit Auschwitz

Departmental facilities

The department has five dedicated classrooms S4, S5, S8, S9 & G34. All of these rooms have interactive white boards, while S8 is an IT suite. S4 and S5 also have a number of computers. The department has a wide range of textbooks, DVD’s and at A Level additional texts to support learning. We also have access to the Humanities outdoor classroom.

Career opportunities

History, Politics and Ancient History are all extremely well regarded subjects both by employers and universities. The academic nature and importance of the subject in developing vital skills are central to the inclusion of History in the English Baccalaureate at GCSE. Among the wide range of careers these subjects prepare you for are work in the Civil Service, Business, Politics, Law, Journalism, as well as Tourism and Education.