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St Colman's High & Sixth Form College, Ballynahinch




Mrs. K McPolin (Head of Department)

Ms M Collins

History is more than the study of the past. It is the process of recording, reconstructing and interpreting the past through the systematic investigation of a wide range of sources. It is a discipline that gives pupils an understanding of themselves and others in relation to the world, both past and present.


Through studying History, students gain a sense of the past and a knowledge of the importance of historical events and their causes.  Their curiosity, interest and enjoyment of history is cultivated. In addition to this, the subject equips students with the ability to approach their studies analytically and logically.  It also trains students to think and write coherently and confidently, developing their ability to adopt a viewpoint or reach a judgement based on evidence. As such, it equips students with a broad range of transferable skills which are essential across the curriculum and beyond their school career.

History is an academically rigorous subject that is highly regarded by universities and employers. History will develop students as inquiring, curious and critical thinkers, and will spark a lifelong interest in making sense of the past.


The Key Stage Three Curriculum provides the opportunity for all pupils to explore contrasting historical periods. Pupils are encouraged to develop a thematic approach to the study of the past, and this provides scope for developing an awareness of cultural, political, economic and social factors.

The main themes are:

Year 8 - The Norman Conquest in the eleventh century in England and Ireland

Year 9 - Rivalry and Conflict in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

Year 10 - Twentieth Century War and Conflict

Student progress will be assessed both formally and informally. Homework and class assignments are marked regularly and teacher’s comments will indicate any areas for improvement. Term Assessments, peer feedback, parents’ meetings, reports, and examinations provide opportunities for monitoring and evaluating progress.


The exam board is CCEA. There is no controlled assessment component.

In Unit 1, Section A, students will study Life in the United States of America, 1920-1933. In Unit 1, Section B, students will study Changing Relations: Northern Ireland and its Neighbours, 1965-1998. Unit 1 will be externally assessed with a 1 hour 45 minutes exam at the end of Year 11, and this will be worth 60% of the overall GCSE.

In Unit 2, students will be study International Relations, 1945-2003. Unit 2 will be externally assessed with a 1 hour 15 minutes exam at the end of Year 12, and this exam is worth 40% of the overall GCSE.


The History Department facilitates a wide range of activities to help students develop their interest in the subject outside of the classroom. Some of our field trips have included The Ulster Museum, Crumlin Road Gaol, Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, The Somme Centre, Carrickfergus Castle, Dundrum Castle, and The Ulster American Folk Park. We also collaborate with Cinemagic every year. GCSE pupils have recently visited Krakow with Mrs McPolin and Mr Henderson (October 2017) and had the opportunity to visit the Schindler Museum, the Galicia Jewish Museum, the Salt Mines, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.


Studying History can lead to careers in:

  • Archaeology
  • Teaching
  • Law
  • Civil Service
  • Politics
  • Journalism & Broadcasting
  • Academia

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