History Department: Subject Leader, Dr Carolyn Easterbrook

The Langton History department is dedicated to the provision of high quality teaching and aims to inspire students to pursue their interests in the subject beyond the classroom. The department is staffed by researching historians who bring their breadth of knowledge, expertise and passion for the subject to bear in the classroom. The students are challenged to read beyond their curriculum and to develop a high level of critical thinking; the success of this is borne out by the number of students who go on to study History at university.

The department fosters academic links with other departments to forge the ‘academic connections’ between subjects, with an emphasis on the local historical environment. This allows us to promote the historical significance of our school and its founder and the historical connections to Canterbury and of our nation. We are keen to take the study of History beyond the classroom by working with local sites, such as the Cathedral and its archives and St Augustine Abbey, to enhance our students’ understanding. This is further developed with trips to Ypres and the Somme battlefields in Year 9 and study trips to Berlin and Russia in years 11 and 12/13. The focus on the history of the local environment is also emphasised by our departmental research projects and our growing relationship with Historic England.

We currently have two projects already running and one, ‘Digital Kent Mapping Project’, which is new for 2017. The ‘The Forgotten Front: WWI Research project’ and ‘A People’s History of Kent’ have joined together to focus on local history research, aimed at students in Year 12 and 13, in order to foster and cultivate a unique culture of research within History and the Humanities and prepare them as future undergrads. The ‘Digital Kent Mapping Project’ is designed to promote the academic links between the History, Geography and English departments and is run in partnership with CCCU.

Study the past if you would define the future. (Confucius)

It is an article of faith that knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present. (K. Stampp)

History at KS3

The History Department strives to provide a rich and varied programme. Alongside the traditional approach, focusing on Kings and Queens, we explore the roles of ordinary people in shaping the historical landscape. In terms of a theme, to provide continuity through Key Stage 3, the department is keen to focus on power and politics by exploring and evaluating the movement from absolutism to democracy. We’re keen to run a department that doesn’t see history as a distinct discipline but one that engages with politics, literature, art, sociology etc.

The study of History at Key Stage 3 is composed of the same “key elements” prescribed by the National Curriculum at Primary school, but at an appropriate level. The key elements are:

Chronology: understanding the importance of the causes and consequences of events, the significance of change and continuity in History, and appreciating the different features of historical situations.

Interpretation: understanding how and why interpretations of History can differ.      

Historical enquiry: using historical sources as evidence and assessing the reliability and value of such evidence in order to reach conclusions.

Organisation and communication: development of the ability to recall and select historical information, use relevant terminology and communicate one’s knowledge by the written and spoken word.

The programme of study for Key Stage 3 consists of four study units.

Year 7:  Unit 1 Medieval Realms; Britain 1066-1500

Year 8: Unit 2 The Tudor Dynasty

Year 8: Unit 3 The Making of the UK; Crowns, Parliaments and Peoples 1500 -1700

Year 9: Unit 4 The 20th Century World – The Great War on the Western Front

History at KS4

At the Langton, History is one of the most popular subjects at GCSE, A Level and as a choice for university (we have sent 21 onto university this year (2017), more than any other subject in the school). Students are impassioned and excited by the History they are taught in the upper school, which is testament to the quality of the staff, in particular their ability to prepare students for university life through the delivery of academic, challenging lessons and a rich extra-curricular programme.

Of course History is much more than an effective stepping stone to a successful career (a Telegraph survey this year placed only the options MFL and History in the top ten of graduate subjects leading to employment); it is an enthralling, engaging and edifying subject. History is dynamic too, our understanding of the past can determine both our present and future, for example, if we revise our understanding of Britain’s imperial past as something glorious then there is every chance that contemporary policy makers will attempt to emulate those former glories. A deeper understanding of History helps us improve the world we live in, preventing us from replicating the mistakes of the past. 

Berlin Trip

As part of the first two units (listed directly below), the History Department offers a residential trip. Spread across four days students would get to visit the Reichstag, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall and other important historical sites. We have found that such trips have a deep and lasting impact on the students, not only on their ability at History but in terms of their maturity. This trip provides a rare opportunity at GCSE for travel and adventure.

GCSE-AQA (This GCSE is entirely tested via examination)

Understanding the Modern World: Germany 1890-1945: democracy and dictatorship

The rise of Nazi Germany is evidently a seminal event in the 20th century and for that reason alone it is important to study. Furthermore it is essential that students understand how extremism can develop, particular in the light of current international developments.

Understanding the Modern World: Conflict and Tension between East and West 1945-72

The Cold War shaped the latter half of the last century and this course will introduce students to the innumerable fault lines that opened up between the East and West. In addition the course will introduce students to important ideologies which really helps the large number of historians who go on to read politics at A level and on through to university.

Shaping the Nation: Britain: Power and the People (c.1215 to present)

The department is excited to introduce this new content area and it should provide an opportunity to construct a people’s history of England, through which students can understand how the power of monarchs was increasingly eroded. This course will build on their KS3 knowledge but go further and deeper in terms of content and analysis.

Shaping the Nation: Elizabethan England c. 1568-1603

As a remedy to our tendency to teach modern Histories the department is pleased to offer a course on our early modern period. This option provides a rich social and political history which will really help students who aim to carry on with the subject at A-Level, since we now teach a course on Stuart England and the English Revolution.

History at KS5

What use is history?

A lot of use. You have a trained mind. The capacity to abstract information rapidly and the ability to communicate in a clear and analytical way. Well, we would say that because we believe History will aid your academic development. It is a fascinating subject and perhaps and it has been identified a very useful A level and degree course.

“The successful conduct of business requires the use of skills well-known to trained Historians”

Robert Powerby of the International American Development Bank

“History is made by people. When you understand people, you can live a full life”

Charles Miller-Smith, Chairman, Imperial Chemical Industries

The general thrust of our programme is to move away from traditional, elitist histories and to explore history from the perspective of the marginalised and oppressed. With that in mind we explore two great revolutions, one bourgeois and the other proletarian, one born in Britain and the other Russia. At A level we have a broader study of the US in the 20th century through which we analyse its development in terms of women, labour and ethnic minority rights. Perhaps the most exciting element of the new course is the coursework component. Students will effectively be able to study any history that engages them, it could be Mexican political history in the early 20th century or a study of guild socialism in Iceland over a millennium ago. We are one of only 20 schools nationally that uses JSTOR (online academic journals) and this will provide a massive advantage to our historians on this particular element.

In Year 12 you will study two units as below:

Y108     Early Stuarts and the Origins of the Civil War 1603-1660

  • James I and Parliament
  • James I and religion
  • Charles I 1625-1640
  • Charles I and the victory of Parliament 1640-1646

Y249     Russia 1894-1941

  • The rule of Tsar Nicholas II
  • The 1917 Revolutions
  • The Civil War and Lenin
  • The rule of StalinIn Year 13 you will study two units as below:

Y319     Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992

  •  African Americans
  • Trade Union and Labour Rights
  • Native American Indians
  • Women
  • Civil Rights in the ‘Gilded age’ c.1875-c.1895
  • The New Deal and Civil Rights
  • Malcolm X and Black Power

Y100 Coursework

Students will be required to complete a 4000 word essay. They will have a free choice on subject matter, subject to approval, with the standard option being to pursue an aspect of the Russia course in greater depth.  Amanda Richter.“History provides you with Key Skills that will be useful in life. The analytical, research and debating skills provide a good base for university and a future career.” 

  • “Due to my ambition to have a career in Law as a practising Barrister, I continued to study History from GCSE to A level. History is a valuable subject for many careers due to the key skills learnt during the course.”

What the students think

 “Due to my ambition to have a career in Law as a practising Barrister, I continued to study History from GCSE to A level. History is a valuable subject for many careers due to the key skills learnt during the course.”

Amanda Richter.

“History provides you with Key Skills that will be useful in life. The analytical, research and debating skills provide a good base for university and a future career.”

Richard Bore.