History & Politics

Welcome to the History and Politics Department.

History and Politics is a well-established and thriving department.  History is regularly the largest option subject at GCSE and with Politics often the largest A level option in the Sixth Form.

The department has strength in its long-serving and experienced staff:  Simon Young Min, David O’Brien, Evelyn Corney and Tara Dalgliesh.  Between us we also have experience as day and boarding tutors, upper and lower key-stage senior tutors.  The History suite of rooms comprises two large and two seminar rooms, each is equipped with interactive whiteboards, visualisers, audio-visiual equipment and other learning aids.  Each student is given a course textbook and access to the department’s collection of other books and periodicals, particularly useful for coursework and extended projects.

Why study History and Politics?

History is a subject for the curious.  It allows the student to enter the mind-set, the events, and the world of peoples and periods in the past.  To understand the actions and thoughts of our ancestors is to better understand ourselves and our own times.  History is also an indispensable qualification for a far broader range of careers.  It is difficult to imagine a successful lawyer, diplomat, civil servant or politician, who lacks a considerable understanding of the subject.  Moreover, the logical thinking and ability to communicate ideas that a study of history develops are obviously relevant in all management or employment situations.

The Government and Politics A-level provides a challenging programme for students who enjoy discussion and ideas.  Politics is a challenging course, of intrinsic interest to anyone who reads the papers and follows current affairs.  It challenges students to re-consider how they view society, the role of the state and the freedom of the individual.  Politics fits very well with History: knowledge of politics in the past, in both a British and world context will clarify political issues and patterns of political organisation in Britain today.  Candidates should be good essay writers, willing readers of the serious papers and political magazines and ready to discuss topics freely.

Year 7 :  follows a course of British history in the Middle Ages with topics such as the Norman Conquest, the Black Death, religious life in a monastery.

Year 9 : follows a course on Britain 1750-1900 and a broader study of the world wars and more recent post-WWII topics.

The new GCSE 9-1 course studies international relations in the Twentieth Century from the Treaty of Versailles to the War-on-terrorism.  There is a European depth study on Germany from the fall of the Weimar Republic through Nazism to the division of Germany in the Cold War.  A study of war and its impact on society from the 11th to the 21st centuries is accompanied by a castle study and an in-depth look at the period of the English Civil War and the Interregnum.

A Level :  We offer two History A level courses.  For those who wish to continue a modern history study there is a Later Modern history course which covers US history, Apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa, the British experience of warfare and the Cold War GDR.  The Early Modern history course comprises a study of British History from the War of the Roses to the Reign of Elizabeth, Luther and the German Reformation and the European witchcraze of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Politics :  A level politics has three main strands:  a study of British politics – topics such as political parties, elections, voting behaviour and the media; government – Prime Minister, Parliament, workings of the constitution; and Global Issues – economic and political globalisation, human rights, the environment, international cooperation and supranational bodies.

Extracurricular activities

The department runs a number of trips including a Year 10 trip to the battlefields of World War One, a trip to Berlin in the sixth form, as well as a number of day trips such as a Year 12 Politics trip to Westminster.  There is a very popular student led Current Affairs and Politics Society that holds regular and often combative debates on issues in the news.  The History Society runs lecture and film events on chosen themes and runs student competitions.  Catch-up, extension and Oxbridge classes are run throughout the year in term time and, during the exam season, during the holiday to support students.

Mr Simon Young Min, Head of History and Politics : youngmins@cranbrook.kent.sch.uk