History & Politics
The History department at Stafford Grammar is a keen and enthusiastic department whose aim is to inspire a lifelong love of history in all our students through rigorous and lively debate, discussion and written arguments. Students are encouraged to explore the big questions in life, such as where have we come from, where we are now and why; by travelling through time, they are able to discover how our world has evolved, explain the origins of modern political and social problems and investigate the complexities of human behaviour.
Programme of Study
In Year 7, students explore what life was like in Medieval England. They look at the impact of the Norman Conquest, the role of religion and the Church in people’s lives, the problems facing medieval monarchs and what it was like to live in the shadow of the Black Death. Finally, they study a unit on Migration to Britain over time, which takes in the arrival of the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo Saxons, the Vikings and more recently, the arrival of Irish and West Indian people in the UK.
In Year 8, students explore topics from the 16th to the 20th centuries. These include the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the development of the British Empire, and the Industrial Revolution. Finally, they look at aspects of the First and Second World Wars.
In Year 9, pupils begin their GCSE History course. We currently follow the Edexcel GCSE History 9-1 specification. All students will study Crime and Punishment through Time, c1000 to present. This is split into four periods:
• c1000-c1500: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in medieval England. This includes examining the impact of the Norman Conquest and the influence of the Church on crime and punishment.
• c1500-c1700: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in early modern England. This includes case studies on the Gunpowder plotters and witchcraft.
• c1700-c1900: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in the 18th and 19th centuries. This includes case studies on the separate system at Pentonville prison and the reforms of Robert Peel.
• C1900-present: Crime, punishment and law enforcement in recent times. This includes case studies on conscientious objectors during the First and Second World Wars and the Derek Bentley case and the abolition of capital punishment.
In the summer term, Y9 students go on an overnight trip to London, where they visit the Royal Courts of Justice to examine a historical case, visit the National Police Museum and go on a guided night time walk of Whitechapel to help prepare them for the first unit of study in Year 10.
In Years 10 and 11, pupils continue their GCSE course. In Year 10, they will complete their Crime and Punishment unit by undertaking a study of Whitechapel, c1870-c1900. This will include examining living and working conditions, workhouses and orphanages, immigration and tension in the community, as well as the work of H Division and in particular, the Jack the Ripper murders.
Students then go on to study Early Elizabethan England, 1558 – 1588. This includes Elizabeth’s accession to the throne, the religious settlement, the problem of Mary Queen of Scots, relations with Spain and the Armada, and Elizabethan society in an age of exploration.
At the end of Year 10 / beginning of Year 11, students study the American West, c1835-c.1895. This includes learning about the way of life of the Plains Indians, reasons for migrating west to California and Oregon, tensions between settlers and Indians, homesteaders and cattle barons, and finally conflict between the US army and the Plains Indians leading to the destruction of the Indian way of life.
Finally, in Year 11, students study Weimar and Nazi Germany, which includes the Hitler’s rise to power, Nazi control
and dictatorship and Life in Nazi Germany.
Students will be examined by three examinations at the end of Year 11.
At AS & A level, our students curr
ently follow the new AQA History specification. They study two units: Tsarist and Communist Russia 1855-1964 and Wars and Welfare: Britain in Transition 1906 to 1957.
At AS, students are examined on two components:
Component 1: Autocracy, Reform and Revolution: Russia 1855-1917
Component 2: Society in Crisis, 1906 to 1929.
At A level, students continue where they left off at AS level to complete the two units studied in the Lower Sixth and undertake a third coursework based unit:
Component 1: The Soviet Union, 1917-1964
Component 2: The emergence of the Affluent Society, 1929-1957.
Component 3: Students complete an individual investigation of approximately 3500 words on an aspect of Witchcraft in Britain and Europe 1560-1660. This is worth 20% of their A level.
In 2017, the History department expanded to offer A Level Politics to Stafford Grammar School students. With the advent of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president, there has never been a more exciting time to choose to study Politics and as a result, the subject has proved to be a popular one among our students. Politics is a living, breathing subject which is lively, relevant, and often controversial. The excitement of the subject is that is it constantly changing and all pervasive: the world of politics surrounds almost every aspect of our lives and if you are interested in current affairs, enjoy debating and discussing what is going on in the world around you and like a good argument, then this is the subject for you!
Students currently follow the Edexcel AS & A level specifications. AT AS, they are assessed on two components:Component 1: UK Politics. Topics include Democracy and Participation, Political Parties, Electoral Systems and Voting Behaviour.
Component 2: UK Government. Topics include the Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister and Executive and Relations between Institutions, including the Supreme Court and the EU.
In the Lower Sixth, students have the opportunity to hear MPs from across the political spectrum speak when they attend the sixth form Politics Conference in Westminster in December. Later in the year, they visit the Houses of Parliament where they enjoy a guided tour of the House of Commons before meeting their local MP.
At A level, as well as the above, students study the core political ideas of Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism, as well as Feminism. There are three assessed components, the third of which is:
Component 3: The Government and Politics of the USA. Topics include the US Constitution, Congress, the US Presidency, The Supreme Court and Civil rights, and Democracy and Participation. They compare and contrast the US political system with that of the UK.
In 2019, students will embark on a 5 day visit to Washington D.C, where they will have the chance to see some of the landmark political and historical sites, including the White House, Congress, the Pentagon and the museums of the Smithsonian.