History at Sir Thomas Rich's School


Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. said that "It is useful to remember that history is to the nation as memory is to the individual. As persons deprived of memory become disoriented and lost, not knowing where they have been and where they are going, so a nation denied a conception of the past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future."

Also, "The longer you look back," said Winston Churchill, "the farther you can look forward."

History has always been and remains an incredibly popular subject at Sir Thomas Rich's School. In years 7-9 all students study History as part of the core curriculum. At GCSE the subject is optional but, generally, three quarters of our boys continue with its study.

In the Sixth Form we run both A Level History and A Level Politics, both courses have high numbers boosted by many students joining us from other schools. Each year several choose to pursue the subject to degree level. Some of our ex-students have even become History teachers!

Our learning is enquiry based encouraging pupils to develop the skills of interpretation, analysis and evaluation. We use discussion to hone problem solving skills, ultimately encouraging our learners to be independent.

Above all, we aim to stimulate an interest in History and encourage a life-long enthusiasm for this fascinating subject.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Britain and the world from the Roman Empire till 1485 with depth studies on The Norman Conquest, King John and the Black Death.

Year 8

Britain and the world from 1485 till 1900 with depth studies on The English Civil War and The Spanish Armada.

Year 9

Britain and the world in the twentieth Century. This includes looking at both World Wars and preparing students for future GCSE study.


At present students study the existing OCR Modern World GCSE Specification which considers the effects of the Cold War, The rise of Hitler and his control of the German state, Inter-war USA and Britain in the early twentieth century.

This specification will be superseded in 2016 by a new AQA GCSE which includes:

Germany 1890–1945: Democracy and dictatorship

The development of Germany during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of democracy and dictatorship – the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism.

Conflict and tension between East and West, 1945–1972

Focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions which arose during the Cold War.

Britain: Power and the people

This thematic study will enable students to gain an understanding of the development of the relationship between the citizen and the state in Britain over a long period of time. It considers the

causes, scale, nature and consequences of protest to that relationship.

Medieval England – the reign of Edward I, 1272–1307.

The depth study will focus on the major events of part of the reign of Edward considered from the economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoint and arising controversies.

A Level

In History we study the AQA A Level which offers a broad range of topics including the Tudors 1547-1603 looking at the instability of England under Edward VI, the boy king, and Bloody Mary, followed by the long and glorious reign of Elizabeth. We also study The American Dream: Reality and Illusion, 1945-1980. Students also produce a 3500 word coursework essay.

A Level Politics is also a very popular course following the AQA specification it looks at a range of political philosophies as well as the workings of the British and American political systems

A Level Entry Requirements

History is a communication led subject and as such students would be expected to have at least an A in GCSE English. GCSE History is not absolutely compulsory (for History or Politics) but most students will have an A in this at GCSE too.

Life after A Level

Students who go on to study History at University can look forward to many diverse opportunities. Employers value Historians' analytical and critical reasoning skills as well as their research expertise and ability to select, manage and organise information. Typical paths post degree include Law, Politics, publishing, journalism, media and writing in all its forms alongside business and commerce, public sector administration and the charity and voluntary sectors, Teaching and research.