History at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

“History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.”
John Dalberg-Acton

The study of History is the study of people: their successes and failures, their triumphs and mistakes, their day-to-day lives and the exceptional moments upon which the stories of entire nations can turn. It is, in summary, a subject that enriches students’ understanding of the world around them and rewards their curiosity. As such, it’s no surprise that History at Durham Johnston is an extremely popular subject amongst all age groups: studying the past not only allows students to gain knowledge about crucial events that have shaped Britain, Europe and the wider world, but also provides them the tools to question the history that is playing out on a daily basis before their eyes.

Over the course of their studies, each student will be taught by enthusiastic and committed historians who will guide them through key moments in British and world history, both in breadth and in depth. Ranging from the Romans in the North East of England to the USA in the early 1990s, via the Caribbean in the 1700s and the Peasants’ Revolt, the fascinating stories and key questions of these periods will be analysed, evaluated and judged using a range of sources and interpretations. By the end of their time studying History, we want all of our students to be confident in building arguments using evidence, showing their understanding of how and why people have behaved as they did (and as they do), reaching judgements about past events and figures, and being able to question and challenge the stories that humans tell each other. These skills are much sought after in many places and industries- not just in sectors such as journalism or academia, but also in any sector that needs people to be able to reach judgements, weigh up differing viewpoints, explain their thinking and find the patterns that connect events together.

For those who choose to study History for GCSE, we follow AQA's course, studying four different components: Conflict and Tension: The First World War; Democracy and Dictatorship: Germany 1890-1945; Elizabethan England; and Power and the People, a breadth study of British protest from Magna Carta to the Brixton Riots.

At A-Level, we follow OCR's course, studying Britain from 1930-1997 with a depth study on Winston Churchill, the French Revolution and the Rule of Napoleon, and a breadth study of Civil Rights in the USA from 1865-1992, encompassing the changing circumstances of African Americans, Native Americans, American women and trade unions and organised labour.