Aim: To prepare Sixth Form History students with the learning skills required for the study of History at undergraduate level by developing links with higher education History departments and thus enriching History teaching in the classroom.

Background: Large numbers of students continued studying History either for AS/A2 or the International Baccalaureate (30-40 each year) and a further 25-30 studied the related discipline of Government and Politics for AS/A2. There were many students who continued with History or a history-related subject (such as International Relations) at undergraduate level, although links with specific higher education History departments were limited before the project.

A2 History students completed an extended piece of research of up to 4,000 words based on the use of secondary source materials and it was felt that this would provide the History Department with the opportunity to develop closer links with higher education.

Method: The project began with participation in the ‘History Forum’ with other schools and the History Department at Queen Mary, University of London. Former students who had studied Sixth Form History were invited back into school to talk to those individuals who were interested in continuing with History at university.

Some admissions tutors from higher education institutions met with Sixth Form History students as part of the Sixth Form enrichment programme.

Every year the History Department kept records of the sources being used by students in the completion of their coursework component for A2 and IB History, together with data on the numbers continuing with the subject at undergraduate level, so as to monitor change and progress.

Evidence: Data analysis, current and former student feedback, schemes of work, lesson plans.

Impact: Staff and students gained a greater awareness of the requirements for the study of History at undergraduate level.

Opportunities were created for students to have access to specialised source materials as a result of developing links between the History department and institutions of higher education. Schemes of work now provide students with opportunities to develop higher order learning skills and to use these in the classroom as part of the preparatory work for their coursework. Current and former students reported that the delivery of the Sixth Form courses was valuable in preparing them for the learning experience at university.

Reflections: This has been a successful initiative on the part of the History Department especially in terms of making time available to network with different higher education institutions for the benefit of students so as to develop the appropriate learning skills for undergraduate study.

Contact: Robert Goodall, Head of History and Politics