“Those who control the present control the past and those who control the past control the future.”
‘1984’ by George Orwell
Description of Subject and Department
Why do we study history at all? This is because it allows us to gain access to knowledge and understanding of our experiences as human beings. When we study history we acquire key information and a better understanding of the different forces that affect our own lives. We develop relevant skills and an increased capacity for informed thought, critical thinking, and simple awareness of who we are and how our modern 21st century World developed as it did. An understanding of history allows us to become better citizens in an ever changing World. It is after all the story of humankind and the characters and personalities that we learn about can fill us with awe or dread, depending on what they achieved and how they lived their lives or how they treated those who lived at the same time as them.
The uses of history are wide and varied. Studying history can help us develop important skills and understanding. It allows us to develop as effective communicators in both the written and verbal format.
The History Department at Mountain Ash seeks to provide our pupils with skills that can be used across other subjects and across a wide range of future occupations. We want our pupils to be equipped with high quality skills such as independent thought and the ability to weigh up evidence so that that they can use information and knowledge to formulate their own opinions and interpretations of past historical events. This will help our students to succeed in school and in later life. Ultimately we want to transform good learners into excellent ones.
A brief description of KS3 course
At KS3 we study the following broad areas of Welsh, British and World History.
Year 7 Wales and Britain in the Medieval World c1000-1500AD.
Topics here include life in Wales before the Norman Conquest, claimants to the throne in 1066 and the events and consequences of the Battle of Hastings for both England and Wales. We also examine medieval kingship through rulers such as King John.
Year 8 Wales and Britain in the Early Modern World c1485-1750
In Year 8 we examine the role and character of Tudor rulers such as Henry Tudor (Henry VII) and his family members that ruled after him such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. We then move on to look at the Stuart rulers of England such as James I and the Gunpowder Plot
Year 9 Wales in Industrial Britain c1760-1914/20th Century World Study
In Year 9 pupils focus on the development as Wales during the Industrial Revolution. They learn about the development of key industries in Wales
Our focus then shifts to the First World War and the experiences of trench warfare and key battles such as the Somme in 1916. We also study the Holocaust and post-WWII events such as the Cold War.
A brief description of KS4 course
Currently at GCSE we follow the WJEC Route A course. There are 4 units that make up the GCSE and each accounts for 25% of a pupil’s final grade. The units include
- A study of Russia 1905-1924 focussing on why the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 took place and causes, events and consequences of the Russian Civil War.
- A study of US History 1930-2000. One unit focusses on the Civil Rights Movement and the experiences of Black Americans. We also study a unit on the USA and its role in World over the same period.
- A study of Germany 1919-1947 focussing on the rise of Hitler, the nature of Nazi rule in Germany and the fall of the Nazis at the end of WWII.
- The ‘Controlled Assessment’ element which includes 2 essays that focus of the skills of source analysis and historical interpretation. The topic focus for the essays covers either WWI or WWII and this alternates on a two year cycle.
A brief description of KS5 course
In Year 12 pupils study a breadth course on ‘Politics, Protest and Reform in England and Wales 1780-1880’. Pupils also follow a depth study of ‘Weimar Germany 1918-1933’. These two separate papers are taken in the May of Year 12
In Year 13 pupils study the USA 1890-1990 for the breadth course and Hitler’s Germany from 1933-1945. These papers are taken in the June of Year 13.
There is also an independent pupil-led study that leads to a detailed essay that is completed as a separate piece of self-researched and in-depth work.
Website for further information