“History is bunk” – so said Henry Ford, founder of the great American car firm at the turn of the century.  He is, of course, part of history himself now and it would be a hardy businessman who, today, would deny the value, even the necessity, of looking back in order to look forward.  In fact, judging by a glance at television programmes most weeks, lists of popular films, even the daily newspapers, it would seem that matters historical are more in the public eye than ever.  History certainly is not bunk! We also offer Government and Politics at A Level. As John Robert Seeley said, “History is past politics, and politics present history”. In this sense, our subjects really do complement each other!

Reasons for the continued interest in these subjects are not hard to find.  Their study demands probably a unique range of skills – the understanding and analysis of information from a wide range of sources; the presentation of that information in both written and oral forms; the asking and answering of questions.  At Handsworth these are all skills we seek to foster right across the key stages, as well as covering an exciting and diverse curriculum.

Aims

  • To foster a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for History/Politics; to bring the past ‘to life’ through consistently interesting and challenging lessons.
  • To encourage pupils to pursue this interest beyond the classroom and the specification, through visits, television programmes, wider reading etc. We are not just interested in the exam!
  • To provide a firm foundation for the future. Our subjects are academically rigorous and encourage a wide range of skills as well as informed citizenship.

Curriculum and Assessment Maps

History Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 7

History Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 8

History Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 9

History Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 10

History Curriculum and Assessment Map- Year 11

History Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 12

Politics Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 12

History Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 13

Politics Curriculum and Assessment Map – Year 13

Staff

  • Miss J E Smith (Head of Department)
  • Mrs L Polke
  • Mrs L Sheppard (maternity cover, part-time)
  • Mrs U Cole
  • Mrs J Nolan

Additional Information

Useful Links

Key Stage 3
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.activehistory.co.uk (your History teacher can provide the username and password)

Key Stage 4
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.aqa.org.uk.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zj26n39

Key Stage 5
http://magazines.philipallan.co.uk/ ask your teacher for details
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.aqa.org.uk.

http://tutor2u.net/ 
www.bbc.co.uk/news – BBC News website
www.direct.gov.uk – website of the UK Government
www.number10.gov.uk – the Downing Street website
www.Parliament.uk – website of the UK Parliament
www.economist.com – The Economist magazine
www.ft.com – The Financial Times
www.guardianunlimited.co.uk – The Guardian newspaper
www.hansard-society.org.uk – The Hansard Society for parliamentary government
www.electoral–reform.org.uk – Electoral Reform Society, pressure group criticising FPTP
www.electoralcommission.org.uk – for information about elections in the UK

Plus the websites of various political parties!

How can parents help?

In History, you can best help by being interested and encouraging your daughter to talk about the work in which she is currently engaged. You can also prompt her to read teacher comments on written work, act upon them and review work frequently. You may wish to refer to the level or grade descriptors which will be in her exercise book (Y7-9), student guide and mark schemes (GCSE), or in the course booklets (A Level). Your daughter will be issued with at least one core textbook at all levels and these should be used to consolidate classroom learning. Where KS4 is concerned, we have a helpful selection of grade 7-9 level revision materials on Moodle which you could point her to.

Interest can also be stimulated by leisure visits to historical sites, while on holiday, or locally at the weekend. Such visits do not have to be directly related to the topic or period under discussion, nor need they be expensive if advantage is taken of family concessions, English Heritage or National Trust membership, or free access to museums. The reading of historical literature, again of any period, could also be encouraged – the advice of the school librarian could be made use of here and we have an extensive list of recommended historical fiction. In addition, parents could usefully direct attention to the many historically related television programmes which are regularly on offer. We do not particularly recommend general internet searches as these tend to discourage the questioning of material and girls tend not to read information carefully enough.

Where Politics is concerned, much of the above advice still applies. In addition, it is imperative that your daughter watches the news on the television, listens to it on the radio (Channel 4’s Today programme is particularly recommended) and/or reads a good quality newspaper.

Where next

History

Contrary to some mistaken opinion, a degree in History does not confine you to a career in teaching! Rather, because of its generalist nature (as explained above), it can lead to a wide range of attractive (and even lucrative!) careers. Frequently linked is Law (qualification requires further training), but also:

  • Media work- print journalism, T.V. and radio presenting, research
  • Libraries and museums (including the increasing number of historical attractions)
  • The Civil Service-both local and national
  • Management and Recruitment Consultancy
  • Personnel posts in business enterprises…

The list is endless – it includes anything that demands analytical thinking with the ability to express oneself effectively!

Politics

As the basis for degree study: either a pure Politics course, or as part of International Relations, American Studies, Public Policy or similar courses. Politics is also commonly offered in conjunction with other subjects e.g. Law, PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics), Sociology, Business/Management, History, Economics, to suggest a few of the more usual combinations. Even without further study, the course will enable you to take a lasting interest in political issues and play your part as an effective citizen at election time! All of the above career areas (and more!) apply.

Opportunities out of lessons

In line with our department aims, we seek to encourage pupils to pursue their interest in History and Politics beyond the classroom, through visits, television programmes, wider reading etc. We are not just interested in the exam!

Key Stage 3

The department offers a number of curriculum-related trips. Y7s all visit the magnificent Warwick Castle. Y9s all go to the Black Country Living Museum as part of their local study. Other day trips have included the Maritime Museum in Liverpool (Y8) and the Imperial War Museum/Cabinet War Rooms (Y9). We often organise trips to the First World War battlefields of Belgium and Northern France with Y9, most recently in July 2018.

There is also a KS3 History Club who meet one lunchtime a week. Here girls have the opportunity to explore additional topics from outside of our curriculum, and to enrich their understanding of those they have studied. In the past we have also welcomed in ‘old girls’ to talk about life at Handsworth in the 1940s to the 1960s. We take part in the annual magistrates’ mock trial competition and are three times national winners!

Key Stage 4

We have offered trips to sites of historical interest, theatre and cinema visits, when suitable opportunities have arisen, and on one occasion we took a group of Y10 and 11 pupils to Auschwitz in Poland, an experience none of us will ever forget. We have also visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to consider the theme of remembrance.

Key Stage 5

We try to ensure that pupils have the opportunity to attend conferences for revision and stimulation as appropriate. As a department, we are committed to offering a continuing programme of involvement and stimulation within the confines of the school’s visits policy. In the autumn term, for example, we attend a ‘Democracy Forum’ in central Birmingham, organised by the Rotary Club. Here girls are able to participate in their own Question Time with a panel of local MPs. Y13 historians attend the annual student Tudor lectures in Birmingham. We run occasional visits to the Houses of Parliament and enjoy very lively mock election campaigns: 2015, 2017, 2019! We have also joined up with the Economics and Business Studies departments in the past for trips to Washington and New York.

Useful links

Useful History/Politics web links

Key Stage 3
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.activehistory.co.uk (your History teacher can provide the username and password)

Key Stage 4
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.aqa.org.uk.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zj26n39

Key Stage 5
http://magazines.philipallan.co.uk/ ask your teacher for details
www.schoolhistory.co.uk
www.aqa.org.uk.

http://tutor2u.net/ 
www.bbc.co.uk/news – BBC News website
www.direct.gov.uk – website of the UK Government
www.number10.gov.uk – the Downing Street website
www.Parliament.uk – website of the UK Parliament
www.economist.com – The Economist magazine
www.ft.com – The Financial Times
www.guardianunlimited.co.uk – The Guardian newspaper
www.hansard-society.org.uk – The Hansard Society for parliamentary government
www.electoral–reform.org.uk – Electoral Reform Society, pressure group criticising FPTP
www.electoralcommission.org.uk – for information about elections in the UK

Plus the websites of various political parties!