Mrs RE Allen BA
DM Phelps MA, PhD
M Cornish MA
The History Department at Christ College Brecon encourage its students to immerse themselves in stories from the past. With a rich history of our own dating as far back as the 13th century, we aim to nurture a genuine interest in the past amongst our pupils whilst also providing them with a range of skills that will assist them in reaching their full potential. Historical studies are essential in helping pupils to develop a wide range of skills such as reading and note-taking, constructing arguments both orally and on paper and fostering the ability to analyse and learn independently. Key values such as responsibility, tolerance and cause and effect are also promoted through a wide range of themes and different types of History.
At Key Stage 3 all pupils attend 3 lessons of History per week, covering topics ranging from the Battle of Hastings to the 20th Century. Right from the outset, pupils will begin to develop skills in those areas that will be essential for success at higher levels – source analysis, written evaluation and extended writing. In Year 7 lessons focus on the Medieval Period (1050-1450) and examine such events as the Norman Conquest, Magna Carta and the Black Death; pupils interest will be further enhanced through trips to Cosmeston Medieval Village and Caerphilly Castle. In Year 8 focus shifts to the Early Modern Period (1450-1750), with topics considered including the Tudors, the Aztecs and the English Civil War; pupils are also invited to explore the history of their own school in the context of a study on Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Pupils in Year 9 study the Industrial World (1750-1945) and focus on concepts such as Empire, revolution and freedom through topics like Industrial change, Slavery, WW1 and the Holocaust. Their understanding of these events is further developed through excursions to Big Pit and an exciting school trip to the Battlefields of the Western Front, held every June.
At GCSE we follow the new strengthened WJEC specifications, focusing on 3 very different topic areas. In Year 10, pupils study an outline paper on USA 1930-2000, which puts particular emphasis on socio-cultural change and race relations – this paper is formally examined at the end of Year 10. In Year 11, pupils study 2 in-depth papers, one concerning Nazi Germany 1919-1947 and one on Post-War Britain 1945-1979. Pupils must also complete 2 pieces of Controlled assessment, which focus upon Britain at War and themes such as the Somme, Dunkirk, Women and Evacuation. In the process, pupils further develop their core skills through the consideration of how Historical interpretations are formed and the more complex combination of source analysis and written evaluation.
At A-Level, students are asked to consider issues through the confluence of politics, society, economics and religion, with particular emphasis being placed on cause and effect and historical interpretation. Independent thinking and wider reading are both encouraged both in school and through attendance at conferences, whilst the subject as whole seeks to provide those skills needed to succeed in higher education and working life. Students follow the new AQA linear A-Level specification and focus on 2 areas: the Tudors, 1485-1603 and Bolshevik and Stalinist Russia, 1917-1953. Coursework is usually completed on the theme of Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, which in turn is supplemented by an excursion to Cracow and Auschwitz at the start of Year 13.
The History Department also encourages a strong work ethic and the broadest possible understanding, with highly experienced and motivated staff working to provide a supportive and positive environment within which interest in the past and its effect on the present can be nurtured and pupils can be guided towards fulfilling their potential. The Department has experienced excellent exam success in recent years, with 84% pupils in 2015 scoring A/A* at A-Level, whilst 71% of pupils at GCSE scored A*-B. A considerable number of pupils go on to read History at university, with pupils in the last few years winning places at Oxford, Exeter, Durham and Birmingham.”