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"We need history. Without it, we are like foundlings left on the doorstep of the future.” James Irvine

History is about the people and events that shaped the Modern World. As well as being fascinating and exciting, it enables you to continue learning about the past through your studies, and come to a far better understanding of the present.

If you really want to understand what is happening around you today, study the history of the Modern World. History particularly develops independent thought and analysis. It teaches you to organise and present ideas very clearly. 

"History is really interesting. I find studying something that had an impact on us today yet it was sometimes thousands of years ago really amazing. It teaches you to analyse and helps you think about both sides of the story. If you have any inclination in studying it, just go for it, you have nothing to lose!"

Our aim is to develop a passion for History

We want girls to be fired up with intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm. We make sure that girls have a good historical background before specialising for GCSE and A level. We aim to introduce them to our national story as well as giving them a sense of international history.

We want girls to learn specific skills in the historian’s toolkit:

  • Developing a sense of chronology and the big picture
  • Cause and consequence,  Continuity and change and Significance
  • Evaluating evidence

We also aim to enhance literacy skills:

  • Learning to skim and scan for information
  • Structuring and writing critical essays and note taking
  • Logical reasoning

"History is really fun as we learn of what has shaped the world today and it has really helped improve my essay writing for my other subjects, it is also great as we get to argue a lot!"

Overview of what we teach

Year 7 - Focus on Medieval History

Girls will learn about Historical Sources and Chronology. This might involve solving mysteries!

  • Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?
  • Why would people be prepared to die for the Church?
  • What was life like for people in the Middle Ages?
  • How were Baghdad and China different to medieval England?
  • How and why did Castles change?
  • Why did people go on Crusades?

Year 8 - Focus on Tudors and Stuarts and Industrialisation

We study Political, Religious and Social changes, Henry V11 and the establishment of the Tudor Dymasty.

  • The Break with Rome
  • Elizabeth
  • The Gunpowder Plot
  • The Civil War
  • Industrialisation in the 18th and 19th Century

We will aim to sharpen their understanding of source evaluation and develop skills of synthesis, analysis, essay writing and note taking.

Year 9 - Girls develop the skills they will need for GCSE but we aim to cover aspects of modern History outside the GCSE syllabus

These include:

  • The 1st World War, Including a Documentary Film Project
  • Women’s Education & The Vote
  • From Slavery to Civil Rights in the USA
  • Britain in the 1950s and 60s, focusing on significance, change and continuity

Girls learn to write analytical essays, evaluate sources, produce documentary films and study local History.

They will study:

  • Germany 1918-45
  • USA 1918-41
  • Superpower Relations 1943-72
  • History of Medicine 1848-1948

A Level OCR - We aim to give our students an introduction to early Modern and Modern History, rather than a narrow focus on Modern History

  • America in the 19th Century Westward Expansion and Civil War
  • The Early Tudors and the Mid Tudor Crisis 1485-1558
  • Russian in the 19th & 20th Century


We have three teachers in the History Department with a range of specialist interests. We spend time working alongside students not only in the classroom but with 1:1 sessions outside of lessons.


We have extensive collections of books relating to the topics we cover and wider historical debate as well as subscribing to The Historical Association and History Journals.

Online/Media Resources

We have extensive clip collections, films and online textbooks. We use movie maker, research tools and other relevant software, MOOCs and Podcasts.

Sources and artefacts

We have facsimiles of a number of historical sources as well as shared costumes with the Drama department. Antiquarian books are available to the sixth form as well as a number of history based games.

The Library

We work very closely with the Library who frequently produce tailored book boxes for lessons and research IT links to relevant sites for us. They train pupils in relevant research skills.


A number of our students have gone on to read History or related subjects in recent years at a number of Russell Group Universities including Oxford, Exeter, Warwick, Durham, Cardiff, UCL. 


Keep up to date with History at MSJ by following @msj_histpol on Twitter.

Beyond Lessons

We hold regular Oxbridge Discussion sessions; these take place during the Lower Sixth and then weekly in the Autumn Term. These will include discussions about historical subjects and wider reading as well as preparation for HAT.

MSJ History Societies

  • We have a Junior History Society that includes an annual historical banquet
  • The Guillotine Society combines History & Politics and is student led. Activities include watching films and student led seminars on topics such as Soviet Propaganda and Is Colonialism all bad?
  • History outings to places of historical interest including: Baddesley Clinton, Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, The Black Country Museum, Worcester Cathedral and the Imperial War Museum. 

History Lectures

Girls attend lectures at neighbouring schools as well as A Level lectures in London. We also have an annual lecture at MSJ by a visiting academic. Recent lectures have been on Soviet Communism by Chris Ward and the Pre –Reformation Church by Dr Benjamin Thompson, The Russian Revolution by Martin McCauley.

History Trips

We organise trips to the USA, the 1st World War Battlefields and Berlin.