History develops a coherent and balanced understanding of Scottish, British, European and world history. Through examining the past, pupils can better understand their own communities, their country and the wider world. 

Building on their experience in S1 and S2 pupils will continue to develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values, in different times, places and circumstances. Pupils will gain:  

  • a conceptual understanding of the past and an ability to think independently 
  • the ability to apply a detailed historical perspective and evaluate sources in a range of contexts 
  • a detailed understanding of the factors contributing to, and the impact of, historical events 
  • the skills of investigating historical events and, on the basis of evidence, forming views 
  • the skills of explaining and analysing historical events and drawing reasoned conclusions 

In S3 pupils will develop this through investigating historical events allowing them to build knowledge and shape views.  Pupils will also develop through a combination of active and independent learning, in addition to collaborative learning approaches such as discussion and debating, researching and sharing findings.  This will allow pupils to describe historical events, explain motives and reasons for actions, and analyse the consequences of an event. This will build the skills and knowledge necessary for National 4 and National 5 History in S4.  

This will be done through completing the following unit: 

  • The Atlantic Slave Trade, 1770-1807This unit will study the nature of the British Atlantic slave trade in the late eighteenth century, changing attitudes towards it in Britain and the pressures that led to its abolition, illustrating the themes of rights, exploitation and culture.  Pupils will examine the structure of the trade, the conditions faced by slaves during their passage to the plantations and the working conditions once there.  They will assess the arguments used by those who were pro-abolition and pro-slavery and make a judgement on why abolition took so long. 

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National 4/5 History 

In S4 we will continue to enable pupils to develop the ability to evaluate a wide range of sources which develops thinking skills. Using and synthesising information develops skills in literacy. Investigative and critical-thinking activities allow candidates to gain experience in contributing to group work and working on their own.  

This will be done through completing the following units: 

  • Hitler and Nazi Germany, 19191939This unit will study the social, political and economic conditions prevalent in Germany at the end of WW1 and throughout the 1920s including the attempts to establish democracy and the effects of Hyperinflation.  Pupils will assess the reasons for the collapse of the Weimar Government and Rise of the Nazi Party in the late 1920s and early 1930s as well as investigating the nature of life for ordinary citizens in Nazi Germany. 
  • Migration & Empire, 1830 – 1939This unit will study the reasons why immigrants from places such as Ireland and Italy came to Scotland during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  They will examine what factors at home and what factors in Scotland were responsible for this movement of people and pupils will investigate the impact that this had on society with a focus on issues of identity and community.  Pupils will also study the reasons why Scottish people moved abroad during the time period and their experiences in their new countries. 
  • AssignmentPupils will also complete an assignment worth 20 marks of their overall grade which will give them an open choice of historical issue.  They will draw on knowledge and understanding, collect evidence from sources, identify different perspectives, structure information and present a reasoned conclusion supported by evidence.   

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Higher History 

Pupils will continue to develop breadth and depth in their knowledge and understanding of the past through the study of British, European and world, and Scottish contexts in a variety of time periods. Candidates develop an approach and understanding that they can apply to other historical settings and issues. Candidates develop: 

  • a conceptual understanding of the past and an ability to think independently
  • a range of skills including the ability to apply a detailed historical perspective in a range of contexts 
  • the skills of analysing various interpretations of historical sources and critically evaluating a variety of views 
  • an understanding of the relationship between factors contributing to, and the impact of, historical events 
  • the skills of analysing, evaluating and synthesising historical information 
  • the skills of researching complex historical issues, drawing well-reasoned conclusions 

At St Modan’s we look at these issues through our topics: 

  • Britain, 1851 – 1951This unit will study the United Kingdom during its transformation into a modern democracy as the franchise was extended to women for the first time and the Welfare State as we know it today is created.  Students will examine the reasons for these changes and the conditions that lead to them and will assess the extent to which these solutions tackled the problems of the day. 
  • USA, 1918 – 1968This unit will study the growing tensions in American society.  Pupils will look at racial divisions and evaluate the reasons for changing attitudes towards immigrants in the 1920s.  They will study economic difficulties and the 1929 Wall St Crash, exploring the reasons why this happened and the impact it had.  Pupils will assess the effectiveness of the New Deal and the role of President Franklin Roosevelt.  Also explored will be the struggle for civil rights, the development of the civil rights campaign, the effectiveness of this movement and the role of figures such as Martin Luther King. 
  • The Impact of the Great War, 19141929This unit will study the experiences of Scots during the Great War and its impact on life in Scotland.  Pupils will consider the impact of technology on soldiers at the Western Front and will evaluate the ways in which the war changed life for people on the Domestic Front as the war began to impact society and culture through the Defence of the Realm Act and the changing role of women.  They will also study the impact of the war on industry as well as the effect of the war politically. 
  • AssignmentPupils will also complete an assignment worth 30 marks of their overall grade which will give them an open choice of historical issue. They should draw on knowledge and understanding and will develop reading and writing as they research the assignment topic and write up the outcomes of the activity. They will develop information handling skills as they evaluate and analyse a range of historical sources such as newspapers, diaries, memoirs, letters, photographs, cartoons, speeches and historians. This will allow them to present their information in a structured manner with a well-reasoned conclusion. 

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Advanced Higher History

Pupils will acquire depth in their knowledge and understanding of historical themes, and further develop the skills of analysing complex historical issues, evaluating sources, and drawing conclusions. The depth of study enables candidates to engage in historical debate and thereby develop a deeper appreciation of the forces which have shaped historical developments.  

Pupils will develop:  

  • a conceptual understanding of the past and an ability to think independently 
  • a critical analysis of existing historical research, including identifying important lines of argument and evaluating schools of thought on particular historical issues  
  • analytical skills through the use of historical sources relating to authorship and purpose, perspective and historical and historiographical context  
  • an understanding of the relationship between factors that contribute to complex historical events  
  • an understanding of the impact of contributing factors, and their relationship with one another, on historical events  
  • synthesis through the use of primary sources and perspectives from historical research to analyse complex historical issues and sustain coherent lines of argument 

We do this through our topic: 

  • USA: ‘A House Divided’, 18501865This topic will study American society before the Civil War and the tensions within it.  There will be a focus on slavery within the antebellum period, the arguments used in defence of it and those against it, as well as the different experiences of the North and the South with abolition.  Pupils will study the problems of territorial expansion, the emergence of the Republican Party and the election of President Lincoln.  They will assess the outbreak of hostilities, the causes of war and the impact of the war at home and abroad.  The Emancipation Proclamation and its consequences will be examined, as will the end of the Civil War and the reasons for the Northern victory.   
  • DissertationPupils will complete a 4000 word dissertation that involves an in depth study of a particular aspect within the topic being studied.  The student will choose a question from an approved list or create their own, providing it has been approved by the SQA.  Pupils will use faculty resources and complete resources to submit their written dissertation, including an annotated bibliography and footnotes – Setting them up for academic assignments in further education. 

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Pupils will have the opportunity to experience various trips during their study of History.  In S2 pupils can visit the Titanic museum in Belfast where they will discover more about the Titanic, uncovering the myths and legends surrounding its story.   

In S3 pupils will be able to take part in a ghost tour in Edinburgh giving them the opportunity to explore the darker closes and wynds of Edinburgh as well as the haunted Blair Street underground vaults whilst hearing stories of witchcraft and seeing a side of Edinburgh they won’t have seen before. 

Battlefields Trip: 

Pupils from S3 upwards will also have the opportunity to visit WW1 battlefields in Belgium and France.  This allows pupils to visit places like Ypres and the Somme and remember those who fought and died there.  They will hear stories of bravery and tragedy, and visit the Menin Gate as the Last Post is played.