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History

Studying the past, so as to better understand the time in which we live.

"History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

The study of History offers an opportunity to develop an understanding of people living in the past, as well as giving pupils insight into their lives and the society in which they live, through the understanding of important historical world events. Current issues cannot be fully understood without an appreciation of the past.

The subject also stimulates interest in the heritage of our nation, from witnessing history on television to visiting places of historical interest at home and abroad, and is excellent preparation for higher education or employment.

Our History courses draw upon the evidence of the past, found in a wide range of sources including books, physical artefacts, oral recollections, pictures and film, maps, documents and museums. Questioning this evidence leads to debate and discussion, enabling pupils, crucially, to form their own points of view and arguments. 

Critical analysis of unseen information and extended writing are also developed throughout the History course, skills that are fundamental to higher education and the world of work.Studying history develops communication skills and the ability to think creatively and critically, qualities that are extremely important for a number of careers in fields including law, journalism, the civil service, business and finance.

Pupils are introduced to the subject during Transitus year, with issues such as time and chronology explored using evidence from the School's own archives.

The main topics of study at this stage are 'The Scottish Wars of Independence' and 'Castles', with Transitus pupils enjoying an opportunity to visit Bothwell Castle during the summer term.

Pupils add to these solid foundations of knowledge within the subject during First Year and Second Year.

The topics studied at this stage are: '1066 - The Normans', 'Mary Queen of Scots' (First Year), 'The First World War' and 'The Holocaust' (Second Year). These topics provide a wide range of fascinating historical study, looking both at the history of the United Kingdom, as well as having a more global outlook on the recent past.

At National 5 level, pupils study the following topics that cover important historical periods between the 18th and 20th centuries: 'Migration and Empire, 1830-1939', 'The Atlantic Slave Trade, 1770-1807' and 'Red Flag: Lenin and the Russian Revolution, 1894-1921'.

One fifth of pupils' final grades come via an assignment that allows them to research a historical topic of their own choosing, while there is also the opportunity for National 5 pupils to visit the First World War battlefields of Belgium and France, an unforgettable experience that brings one of the most important events in world history to life.

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The Higher History course adds to pupils' knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live and the changes that have shaped it over the last 150 years in the topics: 'The Scottish Element: The Impact of the Great War 1914-1928' and 'Britain: 1851-1951', with pupils studying the impact of the First World War on Scotland and the rise of democracy in Britain. Pupils also study the effectiveness of Soviet Policy in controlling Eastern Europe in the topic, 'The Cold War: 1945-1989'.

Analytical skills are developed to foster a critical judgement of historical events and to allow pupils to express a logical and coherent case in their answers, giving detailed evidence to support arguments. Discussion and debate is an important part of the Higher course, as does developing the ability to study independently.

The study of History at Higher level is also central to the development of the transferable skills identified in the Curriculum for Excellence such as critical thinking, careful research, extended writing, communication and working with others. These are essential skills in higher education, regardless of the subject being studied.

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Advanced Higher History allows pupils to study a topic in depth and further develop a capacity for independent work. Developing at greater depth the skills learned during the Higher History course, pupils also take the opportunity to evaluate and challenge the opinions of historians who hold differing historical views.

AH pupils study the topic, 'Germany: From Democracy to Dictatorship, 1918-1939', which touches on the German Revolution of 1919; the rise of Nazism, the Nazi take-over and the transformation of post-Weimar society. Candidates research and write a dissertation on a subject of their choosing, meeting on a regular basis with a member of the History Department for supervision and guidance.

Advanced Higher candidates also write a number of in-depth essays throughout the course, while tutorial papers are presented by individuals to the rest of the class to encourage discussion and debate of important issues. Pupils have the chance to research a topic and present their findings for discussion. The in-depth essays, seminar papers and dissertation provide excellent preparation for the demands of Higher Education.

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