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History & Modern Studies

The History and Modern Studies Department encourages pupils to think independently and critically about the key political, economic and social events that have shaped the modern world.

History courses

History courses in Forms 1 and 2 are 'issue based' allowing the pupils to investigate imaginative and stimulating issues that by their very nature demand to be analysed and explored. This encourages the pupils to develop their own opinions and express them both verbally and through extended writing.

In Forms 3 and 4, pupils study the SQA National 5 Qualifications developing the skills embedded as part of their studies in Forms 1 and 2. Pupils study 'The Atlantic Slave Trade, 1770 - 1807' 'Free at Last? Civil Rights in the USA 1918 - 1968' and a Scottish History focus on 'Migration and Empire, 1830 - 1939.'

In Higher History, available to pupils in Forms 5 and 6, pupils study 'Germany 1815 - 1939', 'Britain 1851 - 1951' and a Scottish History focus on 'The Impact of the Great War, 1914 - 1928.'

In Form 6, pupils have the option to progress to Advanced Higher level studying 'A House Divided', the USA 1850-1865.'

Modern Studies courses

Modern Studies is a subject unique to the Scottish curriculum; with a study of local, national and international issues from a social, political and economic perspective. Modern Studies complements the study of History exploring current issues in our modern world and preparing pupils for courses beyond school in politics, law and international relations.

Scottish Parliament visit

Modern Studies is available as an option from Form 3, where pupils study for the SQA National 5 Qualification. Courses focus on 'Democracy in Scotland,' 'Crime and the Law in the UK,' and social political and economic issues in the USA as our 'World Powers' study.

In Forms 5 and 6, pupils have the opportunity to study Higher Modern Studies. The course focuses on 'Democracy in the United Kingdom,' 'Social inequality in the United Kingdom,' and social, economic and political issues in South Africa as our 'World Powers' study.

In Form 6, pupils have the option to progress to Advanced Higher level and the course on 'Comparative Politics.' The course is a comparative study of Scottish, UK and US political systems, political ideologies, voting systems and wider participation in the political system.

Staffing, Departmental Facilities and Accommodation

There are six History and Modern Studies teachers, comprising four full time teachers, a teacher with additional Guidance responsibilities and the Deputy Head (Guidance).

The department is situated in spacious and bright accommodation in the Bonar Hall Building and is generously equipped with four classrooms, a study area for pupils and a dedicated departmental ICT Suite. Each teaching room is equipped with PCs, Video Projectors and 'Apple TV', with all pupils having access to an iPad which is critical to the independent research associated with a study of the subject.

Beyond the classroom

The department offers a varied and engaging programme beyond the classroom which aims to place pupil learning in the context of the events and issues studied. In recent years, pupils have had the opportunity to visit the WW1 Battlefields in Belgium and France, experience the extraordinary history of Berlin and be part of a trip to Washington DC and New York City in the USA. There is also an annual visit to the Scottish Parliament. The department organises an annual Advanced Higher conference and welcomes a range of visiting speakers throughout the session.

The department has two thriving co-curricular societies which meets during lunch breaks.

The History Society aims to foster an interest in historical issues which may not be studied in the classroom environment through a varied range of activities, competitions and experiences.

The Model United Nations organisation simulates the United Nations committees and aims to enhance our pupils understanding of world issues. The MUN organisation has recently participated in conferences at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, Manchester and Livingston.