History

At Dean Close we offer a rich and varied History curriculum, which aims to provide scholars with a better understanding of how the world around them came to be as it is. We aim to develop informed, inquisitive and independent learners who are able to critically engage with the arguments of others and who can effectively construct and articulate their own perspectives. Most importantly though, the department aims to foster an interest in the past and we believe that, through immersing themselves in the stories of some of the most significant and dramatic events, people and epochs in history, scholars will develop a life-long passion for studying the past. 

Our aims are: 

  • Excellence: we aim to achieve the very best results possible. We encourage pupils to be inquisitive and to take academic risks.
  • Independence: we aim to encourage independent learning in all that we do through a range of projects, activities and speakers.
  • Communication: our pupils are taught to communicate effectively.
  • Enjoyment: the department is staffed by enthusiasts with a commitment to bring the subject to life by making use of a range of teaching techniques including role-play, visits and re-enactors

Why study History, what does it enable students to do?

  • To be multi-disciplinary
  • To analyse and evaluate many different sources of information
  • To learn clarity and precision of expression
  • To engender interest in the past
  • To gain an understanding of other peoples and culture

What will you study?

In the Fourth Form pupils undertake a comparative study of a range of revolutions throughout history. We begin with a project on the history of Dean Close School, examining the extent to which it has changed since its foundation. We then explore the causes and consequences of the English Civil War, followed by the American, French and Russian Revolutions. In the Trinity Term pupils undertake an independent research project on a revolution of their choice, with recent years seeing excellent projects on the revolutions in Cuba, China and the technological revolution, amongst others. 

At Remove and Fifth Form pupils follow the Edexcel IGCSE course. Pupils study four units, on the Causes and Course of the First World War, the Development of Dictatorship in Germany 1918-1945, Dictatorship and Conflict in Russia 1924-53 and Conflict, Crisis and Change: the Middle East c1917-c1995. These four units enable pupils to develop an informed understanding of some of the major events of the 20th Century which have shaped the modern world.

In the Sixth Form scholars will study two of four different units from the AQA A-Level course, reflecting the specialisms of our teachers. The units are The Age of the Crusades c1071-1204, Religious Conflict and the Church in England c1529-1570, The Quest for Political Stability: Germany 1871-1991 and The Making of Modern Britain 1951-2007. Alongside this pupils will complete a piece of independent coursework, with recent topics including the causes of the French Revolution, Russia under the Tsars and the fall of the Roman Republic.  

What happens outside of the classroom?

As a department we believe that History should not be confined to the classroom and in the value of extra-curricular trips and visits in enriching and enhancing our pupils’ historical understanding. As such we run a number of extra-curricular trips throughout the year, including visits to the Imperial War Museum, regularly attend and host speakers from the Cheltenham Literature Festival and run an annual First World War Battlefields Tour of the Somme and Ypres for GCSE students. Scholars regularly get to hear significant speakers present papers on A-Level subjects, both at external conferences and with guest lecturers visiting the school; in recent years pupils have met eminent historians such as Dr David Starkey and Professor Diarmaid Macculloch.