Aim: To excite and enthuse the students, to raise the profile of History within the school and to help students develop their subject knowledge and prepare for university.

Background: There was no school club or organisation that was completely based on History, and by creating one it was hoped the uptake at GCSE and A Level would improve together with the quality of students’ work in the Sixth Form.


Year 1:

  • The History Society was set up in 2010
  • In 2011, in need of a clear structure and vision, the society was re-established to be led by five key student leaders in order to nurture their independence and ‘ownership’ of their learning
  • Students completed regular presentations based on personal research

Year 2:

  • Student membership expanded to include younger students following a recruitment surge by the society leaders. This worked well insofar as nurturing expectations and improving the quality of discussion from the younger members
  • Students helped to organise three trips to places of historical interest: The British Museum, the National Army Museum and the Natural History Museum
  • Hooded jumpers were printed and sold to members which raised the profile of the subject and the society
  • Guest speakers were invited to talk about their experiences of both the British Army and the Royal Navy

Year 3:

  • Students aged 11-16 carried out debates and presentations every week and included ‘starter’ activities and reading materials as part of their work
  • Students discussed historical novels, debated historical issues and planned a trip
  • Students debated key historical issues, in costume, on ‘Open Evening’ in order to raise the subject profile and showcase their passion for the subject
  • History Society students were invited to join the GCSE trip to Berlin (Weimar and Nazi Germany)

Evidence: Governor feedback, student surveys.


  • Members expressed their increased confidence in the subject and in presenting to others
  • Students noted that their learning had been considerable and that they enjoyed learning beyond the classroom
  • Increased contact with universities and external (and internal) speakers added diversity to the work of the group
  • Uptake figures for GCSE and A Level remain high: History is the most popular option subject
  • Of the five History Society founders and ‘leaders’ who left the academy in 2013, three are studying History at university, one is set to begin a teaching course in 2014 and one continues to support the society

Contact: Philippa Edwards, History teacher