History Department

Mrs McGill (Principal Teacher)

  • Mrs McRae (Teacher)
  • Mrs Hubbard (Teacher)


There are three History classrooms. The department has its own base and a tutorial room for use by the Advanced Higher class.

Each classroom has a TV/Video/DVD player and an OHP. Each classroom is fitted with a data projector.

History – S1 Course

S1 pupils receive their History as part of an integrated Social Subjects course.

Areas of Study

  1. Introduction “What is history?”
    • the use of evidence in History – primary/secondary sources
    • the concept of time and timelines
    • chronology
    • the problem of bias in sources
    •   an investigation into the death of JFK.

3. The study of the discovery of the ‘Iceman’.


The department encourages a variety of methodologies which include

  • Using computer programmes
  • Whole class teaching
  • Paired working
  • Groupwork
  • Investigating
  • Using Historical sources
  • Extended writing
  • Using film archive materials


The department caters for different levels of ability, so that all pupils are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Tasks are designed to give pupils ample experience of using different types of evidence, and some opportunities for extended writing.

The department encourages a variety of resources which include:

  • Power points
  • worksheets/guides/books
  • audio
  • videos, DVDs
  • ICT


History – S2 Course

Second year pupils receive their history in “blocks”, 4 periods a week, rotating with Geography and Modern Studies throughout the year.

Areas of Study

Block 1

  1. The Age of Discovery – Columbus and the New World.
  2. Life in England and Scotland in the age of discovery – Tudors and Stuarts.
  3. The development of the North Atlantic Slave Trade.
  4. America – Slavery from emancipation to the civil rights movement.


The department encourages a variety of methodologies which include:

  • oral recreation
  • paired work
  • work guides
  • group tasks
  • computer programmes
  • investigating – individual research/extended writing


The department caters for different levels of ability, so that all pupils hopefully fulfil their potential.

Tasks are designed to give pupils ample experience of using different types of evidence, and some opportunities for extended writing.

The department encourages a variety of resources which include:

  • Power points
  • worksheets/guides/books
  • audio
  • videos including ‘Roots’
  • ICT

History – National 4/5

Unit 1 Scotland and Britain,

Unit 11  International Co-operation and Conflict,

Unit 111  People and Power: Germany,


The department uses a variety of learning experiences including elements of:

  • oral discussion
  • paired work
  • investigating/extended writing
  • work-guides
  • group-work
  • audio-visual aids
  • computer programmes
  • power points
  • field-work – trip to the battlefields of Belgium and France

Methodology used is advocated by the SQA at National 5 with a final examination.

Resources: Unit 1 (B)

At present we have:-

  • Information booklets for each topic
  • Enquiry Skills booklet
  • Revision work guide

 The department run an annual trip to the trenches in Belgium and Northern France, this year it will take place in February.


Paper 1 – essays

Britain 1850 – 1950

Italy, 1815 – 1939

Paper 2 – sources

Scotland – The Impact of the Great War on Scotland 1914-1928

Paper 1 topics on Britain include:

  • The growth of democracy 1850 – 1928
  • Women, and the vote 1850 – 1928
  • The foundations of the Welfare State,- the Liberals-  1906 – 11
  • The Labour Welfare reforms 1945-51

Paper 1 topics for Italy include:

  • The state of Italy in 1815
  • The Romantic Movement, 1815 – 48
  • The failure to achieve unification, 1848 -9
  • The success of unification, 1850-1871
  • The rise of Mussolini
  • Mussolini in power – domestic and foreign policy

Paper 2 is source based. Topics are:

The Experience of Scots on the Western Front

The impact of the Great War on society

The impact of the Great War on the economy

The impact of the Great War on politics


The department attaches great importance to the development of the skills of essay writing, including analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

The department distributes essay guide sheets based on good practice identified by the Exam Board, highlighting the standards expected at Higher Grade, and identifying common faults. A pupil essay grading task is set at this stage. Essay plans are used, especially in the early stages of the course. Essays are set at the end of each topic and grades recorded, thus enabling continuous monitoring of pupil progress. Likewise pupils receive ample experience of doing source-based exercises. Again, there is an assessment at the end of each topic and the grades are recorded.


  • school produced information sheets and work-guides
  • text-books:
    • The growth of Nationalism – Cameron, Robertson & Henderson
    • Britain 1850s – 1979 – Morrison & Morrison
    • Britain 1851 – 1979 – Wood
    • A wide variety of books is available for the extended essay
    • The Impact of the Great War – John A. Kerr
    • Scotland and Britain – John A. Kerr

History – Advanced Higher

Area of Study

Pupils undertake Unit (b) Scottish Independence 1286 – 1329.


Pupils are expected to take more responsibility for their own learning in preparation for the more individualised study required at further education level.

The main units of study are taught, but pupils are directed to a wide variety of books written by historians, some with controversial opinions, which they are expected to read to develop their understanding of the issues raised. Pupils are also given ample experience of working with sources.


The department has a well stocked library containing a wide variety of primary source materials and books written by historians. The department also has access to the Carnegie Library and university libraries should more specialised books be required.

History – Cross-Curricular Links

  1. Within the Social Subjects Departments
    There is a tradition of co-operation between the three social subjects departments e.g. the standardisation of assessment in S1 and S2 and reporting.
  2. With the LS Department
    The department would welcome LS involvement in curriculum development and in team-teaching in the classroom.
    LS help has been useful in reader/scribe assessment exercises.
    Classroom assistants/auxiliary support can be extremely helpful in classes which require a lot of support and their input is appreciated.
    Where problem areas exist, the department seeks out help from LS or BS.
  3. With the Impaired Hearing Unit
    The school has an IHD unit with specialised staff.
    When pupils with impaired hearing visit the department, specialised help is usually available.
  4. Within School Committees
    A number of cross-curricular committees exist within the school which staff can serve on.
  5. With Computing Department
    S1 pupils have some time in the Computing department where they can access the Internet to help with topics they are learning about in History.

 History – Homework Policy

The department recognises the value of homework at all levels.

In the first and second years, homework can vary from completion of core and/or extension tasks, to special assignments on JFK, the Iceman in S1 and the Slave Trade in S2 for which a greater amount of time is allowed.

In the third and fourth years, the quantity and nature of homework depends on the ability of the pupils i.e. those pupils with National 5 Level potential are required to complete all extension tasks.

At Higher Grade and Advanced Higher level, homework expectations are greater; these might take the form of assignment reading, completion of work-guides and essay writing. Increasingly, senior pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.