History at Newtownhamilton High School
‘A generation which ignores history has no past and no future’.
History Department Aims:
To promote the enjoyment of History through stimulating, varied and accessible teaching;
To develop a broad understanding of the significant events, individuals and moral and ethical issues which have shaped our world and society today;
To help pupils understand where their own present values and attitudes come from and how the past has shaped their own personal identity;
To promote the development of socially and morally responsible attitudes, tolerance and an understanding of the perspectives of others;
To help equip pupils with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges and opportunities of life in the 21st Century.
A New Approach to History
History is a very popular subject in our school. The History Department is welcoming, enthusiastic, innovative and forward-thinking. We aim to inspire and capture the interest of all who study History by offering our students a wide range of dynamic and exciting topics through a variety of engaging teaching strategies. Through the teaching of History we encourage our students to think for themselves and to appreciate the difficulties in building a picture of the past based on incomplete or distorted evidence. We believe that the study of History should be interesting, relevant, accessible to all abilities and fun!
We have launched our new and exciting Twitter feed which you can follow @NHSHistoryDept. It has proved very popular with all our students, particularly our GCSE pupils, who can easily keep up to date with what is happening in the department by simply checking out our latest tweets! KS3 & KS4 pupils are also encouraged to visit the school’s History Fronter and History Google Classroom to access additional resources and links to useful Youtube videos and tutorials for consolidation and revision purposes. We also run after-school History Help Clinics in the lead up to GCSE examinations to focus on examination technique and past paper practice.
Key Stage 3
Pupils follow the N Ireland Curriculum and develop a variety of skills, including communication, thinking skills and working with others. The department tries to nurture and bring the History that they have been studying in the classroom to life by taking our students out on trips each year. Year 8 pupils visit Carrickfergus Castle, the Living History Team also visit our Year 9 pupils, where they help them to discover what it was like to live during the time of the Ulster Plantation and Year 10 pupils venture to the Somme Heritage Centre in Newtownards.
In 2017 our Year 9 pupils had the fantastic opportunity to take part in a North-South Digital History Project called 'Different Lenses' which culminated in the screening of their film 'A Hidden Hero' at the Armagh Market Place Theatre. You can check out our budding Speilbergs and Oscar contenders at the following link: www.pdst.ie/northsouthproject
In June 2018 5 of our Year 10 History pupils had the wonderful opportunity to take part in a collaborative WWI Battlefields trip to Belgium and France with our friends from St Paul's History School, Bessbrook. Both schools took part in a poignant ceremony of 'Hope and History' at The Island of Ireland Peace Park in Messines, Belgium where they met the Irish Ambassador, Ms Helena Nolan and Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Alan Campbell. They explored and reflected at historic sites such as the Ulster Tower, Thiepval Wood, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Thiepval Memorial and Willie McBride's final resting place. Our Year 10 pupil, Ruby Blackwood and St Paul's High School pupil, Michael Doran also made a very special visit to the gravesides of their relatives who died in World War One at the Battle of Passchendaele and during the Battle of the Somme.
In 2019/2020 our Year 11 GCSE History pupils took part in the Politics in Action Programme with our Shared Education partner schools: St Paul's High School, St Joseph's High School and Newry High School. The PIA course enabled our pupils to work closely together, researching and debating current issues. They also had the unique and marvellous opportunity of jointly interviewing MLAs at Stormont Parliament Buildings, Belfast and TDs in the Dail Eireann, Dublin. We also travelled to London and visited the Houses of Parliament, the Churchill War Rooms and the Tower of London.
In Year 8 we ask some of the following questions:
What is History and how do historians find out about the past?
Who am I & how has the past shaped me?
How did William the Conqueror control England?
Why was 1066 such an important year in History?
Why did the Normans invade Ireland and what was their legacy?
How did castles develop over time?
What was health and medicine like in the Middle Ages?
Our Year 9 students investigate these questions and many more:
Why was the Renaissance period so significant?
What was the Reformation and why was it a turning point?
Henry VIII: Was he a saint or a sinner?
What problems did Queen Elizabeth I face & why did the Spanish Armada fail?
Why does the Ulster plantation matter today?
What did King William really think of Catholics?
What was the slave trade and does it still exist today?
In Year 10 our focus is the twentieth century and a few of the areas we study are:
Why was the twentieth century so significant?
Was the use of the atomic bomb on Japan justified?
Why did men join the army in WWI & what was trench life really like?
Why was 1916 such a significant year for Ireland?
Who was Adolf Hitler and how did he rise to power?
Who were the Suffragettes and what difference did they make?
Why is it so important to study and remember the Holocaust?
What were the causes & consequences of the partition of Ireland?
Key Stage 4
History is also a popular subject at GCSE and the department prides itself that our students achieve excellent results consistently year on year. Extremely high standards are set and maintained with the History Department’s 3 Year Average (2017-2019) % pass rate A*- C sitting at an outstanding 100%. Our 5 Year Average (2015-2019) % pass rate A* - C is currently a fantastic 98%. Our results are consistently higher than the Northern Ireland averages and pleasingly a high percentage of our pupils have a very strong candidate performance within the A* to B grade range. Our History Department remains one of the top performing departments in the school. In 2018 our department celebrated historic GCSE History results as we achieved a 100% pass rate at A* - A.
Why study GCSE History?
It is fascinating and you will develop an even greater interest and enthusiasm for history over the two years!
You will be studying some of the major turning points, as well as some of the most exciting and most tragic events of the 20th century. To fully understand the significance history has for today’s society; increasing your knowledge and understanding of the world that you live in. To become aware of how the past has been represented, interpreted and given significance for different reasons and purposes. To develop skills that will equip you for future employment.
Content Assessment Weighting
The department follows the CCEA GCSE History Specification and is a single tiered examination.
Unit 1: Studies in Depth
Life in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Changing Relations: Northern Ireland & its Neighbours, 1920-1949
Externally assessed (1 hour 45 minutes written exam worth 60%)
Unit 2: Outline Study
International Relations, 1945-2003
Externally assessed (1 hour 15 minutes written exam worth 40%)
GCSE History is a fascinating, dynamic subject taught by an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher.
History is studied by those contemplating a range of careers, from law, journalism, politics, television to business - the list is endless! The vast array of skills that you will develop whilst studying GCSE History will open a huge range of careers to you.
Studying History will actually help you to get a job! Distinguished students of History range from Gordon Brown and several U.S. presidents to TV presenter Jonathan Ross and actor Sacha Baron Cohen. They also include the heads of the Sony and IBM corporations and Lord Sainsbury, President of the Supermarket chain. History is an increasingly valuable subject, highly regarded by educational establishments and employers alike. Many History graduates also go into: Administration, Management, Marketing or Finance.
A few career possibilities are listed below:
Industry & Public Services