The History Department has three newly furnished dedicated History rooms – each room with a computer and interactive whiteboard. In addition we have a large stockroom containing a wide variety of texts, paper resources, library, DVDs/VHSs and DVD/VHS recording and editing facilities.

The History Department is very energetic and always keen to further develop. Our strengths focus on in-house resource creation i.e. classroom activity supports, revision materials, power-point programs, edited AV material etc; Mind Friendly Learning strategies; pro-active schemes of work that are continuously being reviewed and updated around Medium Term Planning; Assessment of and for Learning strategies; homework resources; self/peer assessment and student voice approaches.

There are four members of the Department – each teaching Key Stage 3, 4 and 5. History is a popular subject at South Wirral High School. Large numbers of students opt for GCSE History – usually averaging over 100 students each year – while in years 12/13 we regularly teach up to 40 students.

Year 7 Topics:


1) What is History? What are History’s main concerns? = 10/15 minutes

2) Screening test based on NC skills = 45 minutes

3) Being an ace Historian – HOW? Reinforce NC skills required to be a good Historian e.g. evidence collection, chronology, using sources etc. = 2 lessons.

How are artefacts useful? Using our skills with artefacts to find out about the Past = 1 lesson

What was my life like when I was 1/5/10? Using our skills to find out our own History = 1 lesson

6) What was my parent/carer’s life like when they were my age today?

Using our skills to find out family/carer History = 1 lesson

How was life different for my grandparents/great aunts etc. compared to today? Using our skills to find out grandparents History using venn diagram = 1 lesson

Assessment:- Evacuation in the Second World War = 1 lesson

Hope and Glory video analysis = 1-2 lessons

What was life like for people living in the Wirral 2500 years ago?

Consider some/all of following:-
our biggest skills test yet – why?
are we AD or BC 2500 years ago?
c) we were called Celts – why?
what were our homes like?
What would we do/see/hear/like/hate etc. during a typical
Celtic day/week/year?
How did we talk?
Good to be a Celt? Compare life then and now
(NB linkage with next unit – 2 lessons – either side of Christmas break or both lessons at the beginning of 2nd term)


What was life like for people living in Wirral 2500 years ago? Continued = 1 / 2 lessons.

Disaster! – invaded and beaten by the Romans – why? = 1 lesson

3) Did the Celts just let the Romans take over Britain? Boudicca = 2 lessons

Romans rule for 500 years….and then they left? Why? NC assessment = 1 lesson

5) Battered Britain ! For the next 500 years Britain repeatedly invaded by many different tribes/peoples who were all fighting for control of us – why? Consider some/all of the following:-

Angles and Saxons invade – where did they come from? why did they invade?
How can we find out about the invaders? Sutton Hoo
How did the invaders change Britain? E.g. Crime /punishment; married life etc.
Did we do nothing! The legend of King Arthur
Vikings – where did they come from? why did they invade? What were they like?
The Dark Ages or not? (c.4 lessons)

6) The Vikings – NC assessment = 1 lesson

7) How can we prove today that all these invasions and different people actually lived in Britain? Exploring visible remains, appearance, blood groups, language, place names, customs, days of the week, numbering, artefacts etc. = 1 lesson


Invaded Again….but the very last time!!!
Three men after the English throne in 1066 – Why? Who would you choose?
Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?
How did William make sure he kept control of Britain? =
Feudal System
Domesday survey
Castle building (c.4 lessons)
No more invasions so peace and happiness in the Middle
Ages/Medieval times? Consider the following:-
the ‘Middle Ages’ – why called that?
who were the Middle Ages rulers?
No invasions so easy to rule? Pick from:- Becket; Magna Carta; Crusades; relations with Wales / Scotland / Ireland / France; Wars of the Roses; Princes in the Tower.
( 2/3 lessons)

Good to be alive in the Middle Ages?
The Black Death – why was it such a disaster?
The Peasants Revolt – why did they? why did they fail?
could it happen today?
(2/3 lessons)

Middle Ages diary discovered !!! Students to create A5 authentic Middle Ages diary – to focus on some of the following :-
my family/home/village/a normal day/week/year
the day we went to town
the day we went to a tournament
the day my uncle got caught poaching/ran away etc.
my brother becomes a monk/my sister a nun
the Lord of the Manor’s new Coat of Arms / Monumental brass
any other appropriate focus chosen by students
(3 lessons)
The legend of Robin Hood – why was this legend so popular in the Middle Ages?…..and still today? (1 lesson)

Year 8 Topics


1) What was year 7 History all about?
What year 8 History is all about
Similarities/Differences (15 minutes)

2) Tudors rule OK – why? :-
a) getting power today = democracy/power of monarch
b) getting power in 55BC and 1066 AD = invasions
c) getting power in 1485AD = civil war/killing princes?/laws
(45 minutes)

How and why does the study of the following 2 monarchs show us that the Tudors were VERY VERY powerful? :-
Henry VIII –
(i) What was he really like?
(ii) Happily married?
(iii) How are his actions affecting our lives TODAY?
(3 lessons)
b) Elizabeth I –
(i) Fighting sexism (cf today)–How were paintings used?
(ii) Fighting assassins – Why the execution of Mary Queen of Scots made Elizabeth feared?
(iii) Fighting invaders – Why the defeat of the Armada made Elizabeth revered?–compare Boudicca / Churchill etc. (2 lessons)

4) Assessment – The Tudors (1 lesson)

5) How and why does the study of the following 2 monarchs show us that the Stuarts were not so powerful? :-
James I –
(i)Gunpowder Plot – were the Catholics framed?
Should we still have Bonfire Night?
(ii) Witches – why were they so feared? Are the Halloween celebrations today respectful of those murdered for witchcraft? (2 lessons)
Charles II –
(i) Civil War – why did it start and why did Charles lose?
(ii) Interregnum – execution; Cromwell hero/villain? – then/now? (2 lessons)
6) Assessment – English Civil War (1 lesson)

7) How and why does a study of the following show us that life in Stuart times was very different to today? :-
a) How were the poor treated?
(i) How did the Stuarts try to explain why there was a Plague in London in 1665?
(ii) How did they attempt to prevent the Plague spreading?
(iii) How did they attempt to cure Plague victims?
(2 lessons)


Reversing the tide of invasions – from 55BC Britain suffered many invasions. From c1600 this trend reversed:-
How and why did we begin to build an Empire? Could this be done today?
Good news for all? Huge gains for merchants….but at the expense of lives of the weak/poor ? i.e. life at sea. How are
Workers/employees protected today?
(1 lesson)

Part of our Empire then has now become the strongest and richest country in the world = USA:-
Why did European countries get involved with the Americas?
Why do we THINK we know all about the Native Peoples of North America ? = NA culture according to ‘Westerns’.
Why is this ‘Western’ representation a Stereotype? Do we have other stereotype attitudes today? How are stereotype attitudes formed? Why can they be dangerous?
Why might the ‘Western’ interpretation be accidentally or deliberately incorrect?
(1 lesson)

How and why was there huge cultural diversity within the Native Peoples of North America ? Further erodes our stereotype attitude from ‘Westerns’ – does this happen with other film genres? e.g. war/battles/mysteries/disaster films/documentaries etc.
(1 lesson)

a) How and why did the Native Americans and European settlers rarely live peacefully together? = Culture Clash. Does this happen today in our world ?
b)Does the story of Pocahontas show clash or friendship?
c) Does Disney’s Pocahontas show clash or friendship? Does Disney challenge the ‘Western’ stereotyping? If so why ?
(1 lesson)

Why was the culture clash between the Sioux and Europeans so extreme? (1 lesson)

6) Assessment – Culture Clash (1 lesson)

7) Back to Britain from 1750-1900 – why?
Because during this time Britain became the richest, most powerful and most advanced country of the world – why?
– an overview.
Because Britain was transformed between 1750-1900 i.e. 1750s generations would not recognise 1900s Britain – how?
(1 lesson)

8) Between 1750 and 1900 the number of millionaires in Britain increased rapidly – why?
Because the huge increase in wealth was not distributed equally. How do we ensure more equality today?
Big increase in industrial millionaires – why ? = from domestic to factory system etc.
Big increase in farming millionaires – why ? = from strips to enclosures etc.
Big increase in transport millionaires – why? = from horse to steam etc.
e) Having the biggest Empire the world had ever seen – where was the Empire? Why was it good to have an Empire?
(3/4 lessons)

Britain was THE place to be – the evidence ? :-
Lifestyles of the Upper and growing middle classes
The Great Exhibition of 1851- compare world event today.
(1 lesson)


So Britain a great place to be? Not for the masses – why?
Working conditions (factories etc.) – had they got worse ? just how bad were they? why were they bad ? Better today ?
Living conditions (cities/towns) – had they got worse ? just how bad were they? why were they bad ? Better today ?
Conditions for the poor (workhouses)– had they got worse? Just how bad were they? why were they bad? Better today ?
(4 lessons)

2) Assessment – Year 8 Examination (1 lesson)

3) How and why are conditions for the masses so much better today ?
Consider the following 19th century influences that began to improve conditions:-
Fear of revolution = socialism, decline in religion etc.
Popular protest = Peterloo, Chartists, Trade Unions
Fear of disease = germ theory and rich also at risk
Influence of individuals = Shatesbury, Fry, Dickens etc.
The vote = spreading to the working classes
Education = increasing provision increased demand for change
Competition = other countries starting to industrialise
Ashamed = Britain the richest country in the world etc.
(1 lesson)

But conditions were even worse for some = the slave trade:- how was it organised ?
just how bad were the slave conditions?
What were the arguments in support of slavery ?
Why did it take so long for slavery to be abolished ?
Why did it take so long for Britain to apologise ?
Are there similarities between the slave trade and the Holocaust?
Could it happen again ? Are there forms of slavery in the world today ? What can we do ?
(2/3 lessons)

How has our locality be affected by these developments ?= 1750-
1900; Studies of Liverpool, Birkenhead, Parkgate, Eastham and Bromborough (2/3 lessons)

Year 9 Topics


1) a) What was year 8 History all about?
b) What year 9 History is all about
c) Similarities/Differences. (15 minutes)

How and why was the World in 1900 different to Today?
differences due to different TECHNOLOGY? – in the home, at school/work, transport/communication, leisure/holidays, medicine etc.
differences due to different GOVERNMENT? – Empire building, Empire day, low taxes/expenditure at home etc.
differences due to different ATTITUDES? – classism = rich/poor divide, class barriers, ignorant/idle masses etc; sexism = women politically/socially/economically/legally inferior; racism = Eurocentric nationalism and civilising the world ! (45 minutes)

TITANIC = microcosm of early 20th century British society – how and why? (2 lessons)

World by 1918 beginning to change – Why? = The First World
War :-
Why did war break out in Europe in 1914?
Why did it become a world war? (1 lesson)

Why was the 1914-1918 war unique/special/different? (1 lesson)

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ – how useful is this source to
Historians when studying the First World War? (1 lesson)

National Curriculum Assessment – First World War (1 lesson)

Do cataclysmic events (=1stWW) have multiple consequences ? :-
Votes for women – due to war/decline in sexism? And/or fear of suffragettes? Sexism dead today?
‘Homes fit for Heroes’/votes for all men–due to war/decline of classism? And/or fear of communism/Labour Party/Trade Unions? The reality for some? =General Strike, Jarrow etc.
Collapsing Empires/LON –decline in racism/nationalism? (2 lessons)
Why were so many Europeans emigrating to the USA in the 1920s?
a) jobs, wages, standard of living etc rapidly overtook Europe – why?
(i) effect of WW1 = location of war, war expenditure, loss of manpower, loss of orders in war etc.
(ii) USA mass production techniques = high volumes of consumer products available at low prices e.g. cars etc.
(iii) widespread usage of Hire Purchase agreements.
(iv) spiralling supply/demand=jobs/high wages etc.
b) magnetic and promotional effect of the USA’s popular culture i.e. music, dance, fashion and cinema (same today?).
(1 lesson)

10) But were the new emigrants totally happy with their new life in
a) what was prohibition ?
b) why was it introduced ?
did the USA become a more violent society?
did alcoholism/drink related illnesses decline?
was prohibition popular?
why was it abolished?
does Britain today need prohibition? could it help? would it
work? Are there better alternatives to solving drink related problems? Etc.
(1 lesson)

11) ‘The Untouchables’ – how useful is this source to Historians when studying Prohibition in the USA in the 1920s?
(1 lesson)

12) But were the new emigrants totally happy with their new life in the USA? = RACISM = National Curriculum Assessment. The dangers of institutional racism – could it happen here?
(1/2 lesson)


1) Last term we studied the experiences of the victors of WW1- for the USA very good, for the UK not so good. This term we focus on the defeated countries of WW1, in particular German = a disaster –why? :-
Germany lost its Super-power status = how and why was the Treaty of Versailles a total humiliation?
Germany lost its democracy = why did Hitler gain power in 1933?
(1 lesson)

Was the loss of democracy such a disaster? = Life in Nazi Germany 1933-1939 – those that gained and those that lost so much – how and why? Could it happen here?
(1 lesson)

World by 1945 changes again – Why? = The Second World War:-
why did war break out in Europe in 1939?
why was the 2nd WW unique/special/different?
(1 lesson)

4) The Holocaust Remembered (1/2 lessons)

5) Schindler’s List or Diary of Anne Frank – how useful is this source to Historians when studying the 2nd WW? National Curriculum Assessment.
(1 lesson)

6) Life in the UK during the 2nd WW – how did Total War transform life in the UK?
(1 lesson)

7) Do cataclysmic events (=2ndWW) have multiple consequences? :-
Setting up of the Welfare State – why? Has it been successful / classism reduced? How can we make a difference?
Development of Teenage cultures–how/why? Positive and negative effects? ‘Let him have it’ and/or ‘Quadraphenia’-
How useful is/are these sources to Historians when studying teenage cultures? How can we make a difference?
Setting up of the UNO – why? Has it been successful / aggressive racism/nationalism reduced? How can we make a difference? (3 lessons)

8) Seen that UNO has made a difference i.e. health, education, no 3rd world war etc. But more people have died as a result of wars
SINCE 1945 than all those that perished in 1st/2nd WW combined
-WHY? Because the factors/disagreements that cause wars and fighting are still ever present e.g. power, land, resources, wealth, religion, race…..and men??? What were the dominant factors that caused the following conflicts?
Vietnam – why did it start? Why did the USA lose?
Apartheid – why did it start? Why did it collapse?
Afghanistan – why did it start? Who will win?
(2 lessons)


1) ‘Born on the 4th of July’ – how useful is this source to Historians when studying the Vietnam War? National Curriculum Assessment
‘Bopha’ – how useful is this source to Historians when studying Apartheid? National Curriculum Assessment. (1 lesson)

2) Why in the UK should we be so pre-occupied with wars and conflicts around the world? 20th century History has shown us that individual/local conflicts can lead to global/world conflicts.
Would planet earth survive a 3rd World War when the most powerful weapons would probably be used ? Consider:-
Atomic bombs – what can they do? the experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Nuclear bombs – what can they do? Could we survive?
(2 lessons)

3) Can planet earth make it to the 22nd century? It will if:-
countries have intelligent/sensible/caring/assertive leaders/governments – who are good at listening, good at reaching solutions etc.- how can we help?
evils of war are exposed and punished – the Hague, Oxfam, Amnesty International etc. – how can we help?
effective world/Regional institutions e.g. UNO, World Bank, G7/20, EU etc. – how can we help?
d) preventing extremism – how can we help?
…and finally is the world TODAY a better world than the 1900 world? Positives….and Negatives? (1/2 lessons)

4) History can help our present world….and our future world –
how? But History is not quite perfect !!! There are many mysteries in History – why? Some possible explanations:-
a) lack of evidence – lost/damaged/destroyed etc.
b) conflicting/bias evidence etc.
c) made up/conspiracy evidence etc.
Consider a selection of the following and suggest why they have become mysteries:-
a) Did Robin Hood exist?
b) Who was Jack the Ripper?
c) Why did Emily die at the Derby?
d) Who really was responsible for the Lusitania’s fate?
e) Who killed JFK?
f) Did Man really land on the Moon?
g) The death of Princess Di?
h) Who organised 9/11?
i) Why was Iraq invaded?
(3/4 lessons)

5) How can archaeology help with studying mysteries? Consider:-
a) techniques used by archaeologists
b) using departmental artefacts to re-create the Past
c) Consider a selection of the following:-
Why did dinosaurs disappear?
The power of the pyramids?
Why was Stonehenge built?
Is the Turin Shroud authentic?
Evidence for Arthurian legends?
Who killed the princes in the Tower?
Why did the Mary Rose sink?
Why did the Titanic sink?
(2/3 lessons)

Year 10/11 – Medicine Through Time; American West; Conwy Castle.

New AS/A Level from September 2015

In Year 12 we have a brand new A level that started in September 2015. Students can just study the AS level in Year 12 or stay on to study the full A Level through to Year 13. If they stay on to A Level, their AS level counts for nothing and they have to sit all their exams in June 2017.

the Units are

Unit 1 – In Search of the American Dream: The USA 1917-1996 (30% A Level/60% AS)

Unit 2 – South Africa, 1948-94: From apartheid state to ‘rainbow nation’ (20% A Level/40% AS)

Unit 3 – Ireland and the Union c1774-1923 (30% A Level)

Unit 4 – Coursework – likely to be an independent study from Unit 3 (20% A Level)

The Assessment objectives (key skills) are:

AO1 – Demonstrate, organise and communicate knowledge and understanding to analyse and evaluate the key features of the periods studied, making judgements and exploring concepts of cause, consequence, change, continuity, similarity, difference and significance (knowledge and understanding)

AO2 – Analyse and evaluate appropriate source material (sources)

AO3 – Analyse and evaluate, in relation to the historical context, different ways the past has been interpreted (interpretations)

Year 13/A2
Studying the Edexcel/Pearson A Level.

This year they have to study exam Unit 3 ‘From Kaiser to Fuhrer: Germany 1900-45’. This is examined in June 2016 (2 hours) = 30% of the total A Level

They also study Unit 4 – A Historical enquiry – based on Ireland and the Union c.1800-1923 = 20% of the total A Level

They might also have to resit one of their AS Units depending on their performance. each unit equates to 25% of the total A level. The Units are Unit 1 – ‘A World Divided: Communism and Democracy in the Twentieth Century’ AND Unit 2 – Conflict and Change in 19th & 20th Century Britain: The status of women c.1880-1930.

Contact Information
Mr R. Ellis
History Teacher/AST
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