Pupils studying History at Ballard are able to understand what motivates people and why they view the same event in different ways whether it is on a local, national or international scale. It allows them to celebrate a culturally diverse past by providing a direct link to society today. The chronological study of the past encourages the formation of pupil’s opinions and teaches life skills that are valued throughout society and in employment. It encourages pupils to form arguments based on interpreting, analysing and evaluating sources; this inevitably leads to the questioning of judgements. These skills are valuable in many other areas of the curriculum. As a department our aim is to encourage excitement and curiosity in the pupils. History is studied throughout the Key Stages by all students and is a popular subject both at GCSE. At every stage through an array of teaching styles from group work to debate it provides students with challenge, insight, enthusiasm and achievement. The teaching is also enhanced when possible by popular trips, both day and residential.
Head of History
As a Historian I am often asked: what is the use or relevance of studying History? Why does it matter what happened in the past? The answer is that History is inescapable. It is a subject that studies the past and the legacies of the past in the present. Far from being a 'dead' subject, it connects things through time and encourages its students to take a long view of such connections. Therefore, History provides us with knowledge and understanding of the past to help us make sense of the present and prepare us for the future. It helps put into context events happening around us whilst enabling us to see the wider picture. In the words of George Santayana, ‘We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.’
Our younger pupils study the Classical World, the Greeks and Egyptians and then look at the Romans and Roman Britain. Then follows the Invaders and Settlers; the Anglo Saxon and Viking age which lead on to a unit on exploration. The Year 5 pupils currently study the Victorians and the early Twentieth Century looking especially at the Home Front. They will usually visit Fishbourne Roman Villa, an Iron Age Hill Fort and local museums.
Cover the period form the Norman Conquest to the Hanoverians and the Industrial Revolution to the early 20th Century. By the time they move to the Senior School they should have a good understanding of key events in this period. Different learning styles are explored and they will begin to learn to analyse sources and how to write both narrative and analytical essays. They can expect to go on visits such as to Portsmouth Harbour and Stratford. Our curriculum links closely with the English department and as a result both departments join together for the trip to the Globe theatre. The department has a good record at both Common Entrance and Scholarship.
Year 9 is a really important year because it leads directly to the GCSE course. We look at the story of the UK from the Liberal Reforms, Women’s Suffrage, the Home Front WWI, the Titanic, Trench Warfare, the Abdication Crisis and many more current topics. Pupils become familiar with source analysis and are encouraged to do their own research, especially when the course covers topics within living memory. Over the years, we have had a range of visitors with a good story to tell. We also undertake visits to important local sites such as the Tank Museum at Bovington.
History is an optional subject at GCSE. We follow OCR’s Modern World Course. This allows students to study four themes from Twentieth Century History, typically one of the British Depth Studies and one of the American Depth Studies. They will also follow two international themes (usually a Germany Depth Study, and International Relations 1945 – 1990 study).
There are three assessment strands. Students undertake a Controlled Assessment Task on the American Depth Study. This involves 8 hours of planning and writing within the classroom, with their teacher. There is a Source based examination on the British Depth Study and a Core examination on the International themes.
George Santayana reminds us that ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ This quote reminds us of the importance of studying History and of its unique role in helping us understand how humanity came to be as it is and perhaps more importantly what we can learn from it to make the future a better place for all. As we pass through such important anniversaries as the start of WW1 and the 70th anniversary of VE Day and look at the situation across the world surely there can be no better time to study the motivations and outcomes of human beings.