History Head

Mr McGurk (BA Social and Economic History with Business Management from University of Wales Aberystwyth) is the Curriculum leader for the Humanities faculty and History department.  He is proud of his faculty who are all keen to get involved in all parts of school with a number of members of the faculty being house leaders, Duke of Edinburgh’s award leaders, Primary schools quiz planners and presenters, charity event organisers, community project planners and Eco-warriors! 

Year 7

In year 7 students will begin their study of history by looking at an overview of the major events that have happened in the local area. 

This includes a study of Chorley’s Bronze Age past, the medieval foundations of the town, how Astley Hall was connected to the reformation and why Oliver Cromwell’s boots are there! 

This will then move onto a review of Chorley’s significant industrial past and the contributions of the Chorley Pals to the First World War.

Our students will be involved in an in-depth study of the events of the Norman Conquest and Medieval life. 

The year will finish by building on the knowledge many students learn in primary school involving the Tudors. This will cover a different side to Henry VIII, asking if Mary Tudor was really so bad and a detailed look at how Elizabeth dealt with the Spanish Armada. 

The year will end with the history department delivering an element of the year 7 PSHE curriculum.

Year 8

Year 8 students will start the year by studying an overview of Britain and what it means to be British. 

This will include looking at how the home nations became ‘Britain’ or the United Kingdom. 

We will then go on to discover how Britain was involved in the wider world such as the settling of the American colonies, the work of the East India Company and what we used Australia for.  This study will look in some depth at British involvement in Africa and exploring the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Later in the year the focus will change to the history of disease; comparing the Victorian problems of Cholera which had devastating effects on places like Chorley to the world wide issue of the Black Death.  How did these two major issues spread?  What problems did they cause and how were they eventually over come?

The final Historical Topic of the year will be The First World War and with a focus on the involvement of the Chorley Pals.

In the summer term the history department will be delivering part of the PSHE curriculum.

Year 9

All students in year 9 follow a history curriculum before they opt to continue following the subject at GCSE starting in year 10. 

The year 9 curriculum begins with a study of conflict over time.  Focusing on how wars and battles have changed through the ages from 1066 to Iraq 2003.  This will also cover the different forms of conflict that our nation has been involved in; on foot, horse, at see, in tanks and in the air.

Our students will then undertake a depth study of the Nazi’s in Germany and the lessons that can be learned from The Holocaust. 

After Christmas students will begin to study a second overview topics, but rather than war and conflict we will be looking at popular culture.  This gives our students the opportunity to look at the lives of ordinary people through time and how things have changed.  How have people enjoyed themselves?  What issues have been most important to people through the ages?  This will then settle on a study of later 20th century popular culture where our students can look at what their parents and grandparents did in their younger years.  

At the end of the year the history department will deliver part of the PSHE curriculum.

Year 10

History is available as a GCSE option from year 10 onwards.  For those who opt for History they will be following the OCR History (A) Specification called ‘Schools’ History Project’.

Within in this specification there are four main areas to be covered, two of which are studied in year 10.  The first is the development study which encourages students look at a particular theme and chart how it changes over time.  At Southlands we study the changes in Crime and Punishment.  This study allows us to compare Roman gladiators with Victorian prisons as a form of punishment, the Robin Hood myth with that of Dick Turpin and the reasons why it was illegal to be a Witch amongst many other things.  

The second major part of the year 10 curriculum is the controlled assessment.  For this students are asked to study a building in the local area and explore its connections to the history of the town our students live in.  

The rest of the course is covered in year 11.

Year 11

History is available as a GCSE option from year 10 onwards.  For those who opt for History they will be following the OCR History (A) Specification called ‘Schools’ History Project’.

In year 11 students cover the final two units out of four.  At the begining of the year our students will undertake a depth study of Elizabethan England.  Unlike the development study in year 10 which requires students to study one theme over a long period of time, the depth study requires our students to look at numerous factors of one short period.  For example we will study the political aims of Elizabeth, the methods she used to gain popularity, how she dealt with the growing problem of poverty and how she managed Philip II and his ‘Spanish Armada’. 

The final element of the GCSE course involves a source enquiry of protest and reaction.  The main aim of this unit is not necessarily to add more historical stories to our students memory but rather to develop this ability to discover the stories for themselves and encourage their critical thinking skills.