"We are especially proud of our A Level results, achieving ALPS 3 at A2 in 2016"




 ‘They [humanities] alone help us understand what it means to be human, to make sense of our lives, and to understand the choices we make for it. And above all, how we interact.’ Nicholas Stern

In the history department at Rickmansworth School our aim is to provide our students with a varied and interesting curriculum which not only sparks their passion for learning, but also teaches transferable skills which will be useful later in life. We aim to achieve this by teaching through enquiry, developing schemes for learning which encourage students to show their understanding by making connections between events and changes in different periods, and by using varied teaching and learning styles in the classroom. We support our students to take an active part in their education and they undertake a range of different tasks both in school and at home including: research projects, presentations, engaging in class debates, historical reenactments and writing essays to enhance their analytical reasoning. Additionally, the Department develops our pupils’ interest in the past through an array of activities organised beyond the classroom. 

History is growing and popular option subject, with 210 students currently studying History at GCSE and 70 at A Level

The variety of trips and visits on offer is a strength of the department, with one Year 11 student commenting “I recently went on the History trip to Poland which gave me useful knowledge to help me with my end of year examinations”.

Key Stage 3

Our Programme of Study at Key stage three reflects a largely chronological approach in which we aim to teach students about key events in the past in Britain and the wider world though the use of enquiry questions. After an introductory module on historical skills, in year 7 students largely focus on medieval lives, starting with the Norman Invasion of 1066 and William I’s subsequent consolidation of power. In year 8 students learn about the turbulent years of the Tudors and Stewarts, Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans. They then complete a unit of study on the causes and consequences of the Atlantic slave trade and the British Empire in India. In Year 9 students mainly focus on conflict and co-operation in the Twentieth Century, they start the year by building a detailed understanding of life during World War One, including an in-depth look at the Battle of the Somme. They then examine the rise of the Nazis and the events of the Holocaust. At the end of year 9, students engage in a study of the major events of WWII.


Key Stage 4

At GCSE, our students follow the Edexcel programme of study. The students are assessed externally with three examinations at the end of Year 11. Students study the following modules: Medicine in Britain, c1250-present including the British sector of the Western Front, 1914-18: injuries, treatment and the trenches (30%), King Richard I and King John, 1189–1216, Conflict in the Middle East, 1945-95 (40%) and Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918 – 39 (30%).


Key Stage 5

At A Level students follow the Edexcel Syllabus, route F. In year 12 students study two topics, unit one ‘In search of the American Dream: the USA, 1917–96’ which comprises a study in breadth, in which students will learn about the dramatic political, economic and social transformation of the USA in the twentieth century. Unit two ‘South Africa, 1948–94: from apartheid state to ‘rainbow nation’ which comprises a study in depth of South Africa during its transition from white minority rule to the free elections of 1994, a long, and at times, dramatic process in which South Africa changed from an apartheid state into a multi-racial democracy. In year 13 students study Britain: losing and gaining an empire, 1763–1914 and complete an independent 4000 word personal enquiry focusing on South African history. All external exams will be sat at the end of year 13. 


Extra Curricular

We offer a wide range of optional trips throughout all key stages. In year 7, students supplement their study of medieval warfare with a visit to Warwick Castle, in Year 8 they visit Hampton Court Palace to learn more about the life of Henry VIII. In year 9, students visit the Battlefields of Ypres, Belgium and in year 11 there is a trip to Berlin to learn about life in Nazi Germany. In the 6th Form, students have the opportunity to visit New York and Washington. We have made important links with the local Historical Association, exhibiting student work on the importance of the local area during World War One. Furthermore, we annually invite a holocaust survivor to share their testimony with students at Rickmansworth School. History conferences for sixth form students are also encouraged.


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