History in the Sixth Form offers you the chance to explore further the central aspect of all History: human motivation. Asking why things happened (and what their effects were) is an essential and rewarding experience and requires skills of critical analysis, discrimination, argument and persuasion.
History can be taken in conjunction with a wide variety of subjects. Traditionally, it is chosen to complement the arts, languages and social sciences but also works well for scientists looking for a slightly different fourth subject. Beyond the Sixth Form, History affords good preparation for a range of degrees and careers such as law, journalism and the media, teaching, business, accountancy and banking.
Pre-U History is a very well established linear course, and therefore tried and tested. It is academic and stimulating, as well as being highly regarded by Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. The MCS-designed course allows the study of a considerable breadth of historical periods, ranging from the reign of Elizabeth I to the Russian revolution.
All Sixth Form History ‘menus’ need to cover a spread of at least 200 years. While there is no requirement to have an overarching theme linking them together, we have chosen one: our courses are largely based around the concept of ‘revolutions’. Thus, in the lower Sixth the English Revolution of the mid C17th sits alongside the French Revolutions of the late C18th and C19th, with the Russian Revolution of the early C20th providing a counterpoint in the Upper Sixth course. It is hoped that pupils will start to become aware of links and commonalities, taking them beyond the strict confines of what they need to know. The same principles of extension and independent thinking lie behind the coursework module, where pupils can choose their own questions, with guidance from their teachers.
One of the joys of History is that there is not always a ‘right’ answer, so it is important to test your ideas and develop your own justifications. However, a willingness to read widely is the most important requirement of a Sixth Form Historian. The school library boasts a well-stocked History section and the department has its own dedicated Sixth Form library.
Sixth Formers are encouraged to develop independent learning habits and to read around their courses. There is a weekly History Society on a Friday lunchtime where pupils, staff and visiting speakers give presentations and take questions, culminating in the MCS annual History Conference. Recent topics have included the decline of the Byzantine Empire, the life and afterlife of Mary Wollstonecraft and the British colonisation of South Africa. In the Hilary Term, a L6th Reading Group meets; members often enter Oxbridge college essay competitions.
Personal Investigation (externally-assessed coursework)
Paper 1b: British Outlines: 2 hours 15 minutes, 25% of marks
Paper 2c: European Outlines: 2 hours 15 minutes, 25% of marks
Special Subject: 2 hours, 25% of marks
Topic-based Essay: Up to 4,000 words, 25% of marks
|Guy, John||Tudors: Very Short Introduction|
|Castor, Helen||Elizabeth I|
|Mortimer, Ian||Time Traveller’s guide to Elizabethan England|
|Brigden, Susan||New World, Lost Worlds|
|Hutton, Ronald||Brief History of Britain|
|Blanning, Tim||Pursuit of Glory, 1645-1815|
|Price, Roger||Concise History of France|
|Hibbert, Christopher||French Revolution|
|Wilkinson, Richard||Louis XIV|
|Collinson, Patrick||Elizabeth I|
|Haigh, Christopher||Elizabeth I|
|Porter, Roy||Cult of Elizabeth|
|Nicholls, Mark||History of Modern British Isles, 1529-1603|
|Smith, David||History Modern British Isles, 1603-1707|
|Kishlansky, Mark||Monarchy Transformed|
|Worden, Blair||English Civil Wars|
|Purkiss, Diane||English Civil War|
|Hill, Christopher||World Turned Upside Down|
|Blanning, Tim||Culture of power and power of Culture|
|Doyle, William||Oxford History of French Revolution|
|Fontana, Biancamaria||Germaine de Staël: A political portrait|
|Hardman, John||Life of Louis XVI|
|Burke, Peter||Fabrication of Louis XIV|
|Doyle, William||Old Regime France|
|Broers, Michael||Soldier of Destiny|
|Broers, Michael||Napoleon: the spirit of the age|