Ms Michaela Collins (Head of Department)
Mrs Emma McGlone
Ms Briege Moley
Miss Sinead McGirr
The study and teaching of History has radically changed in the last decade. The History Department has embraced the challenge of these changes and combines a thorough approach to academic work with a friendly, relaxed and fun atmosphere.
The History Curriculum reflects the aims and objectives of the College to promote mutual understanding, awareness, sensitivity and respect for all. It also reflects the aims of the revised curriculum to span local, national, European and global contexts and to develop students as individuals and as contributors to Society, the Economy and the Environment.
Key Stage 3
Throughout the KS3 course students are encouraged to express themselves both orally and in the written form. Students learn to become like ‘History detectives’, sifting through evidence and clues to fully understand the past. They use a wide range of sources to help them step back in time and understand how people lived in the past. Students are encouraged to ask questions and identify sources for investigation. They collect and record information and present it in a range of forms. Great emphasis is placed on the development of thinking skills and personal capabilities and all teachers use a range of learning and teaching strategies to promote life long learning. Lessons are enhanced by use of DVDs, internet resources and Power Point presentations.
Classes are given three periods a week. In Year 8 the students explore the Normans and the Medieval World as well as the Reformation. In Year 9 they cover Rivalry and Conflict 1500-1800 as well as the Famine. In Year 10 students cover Union to Partition in Ireland 1800-1921; a Modern World Study which focuses on the First World War 1914-1918 as well as a Development over Time Study on the Holocaust followed by an investigation of Irish History up to present day.
The History Department promotes active learning, participation and cross curricular skills such as communication, literacy, using mathematics and ICT. All year groups are given the opportunity to experience ‘living history,’ through workshops, trips and conferences.
In Year 8 Students participate in the Norman Outreach Programme. They meet with award winning Norman living History interpreters who lead them on a 50 minute interactive interpretation of offensive and defensive weaponry including spears, swords, chainmail etc. Pupils also have the opportunity to dress in Norman clothing and partake in a re-enactment of a shield wall demonstration and take an active role in a fictitious debate on who should be King.
In Year 9 our students embark on the Belfast City Sightseeing Buses for a two hour tour of Belfast. The tour of Belfast, compliments the study of economic awareness, focusing in particular on the Industrialisation of Belfast. It offers students the opportunity to investigate history in the local environment as well as exploring the changing nature of our local economy over time.
Year 10 students visit the Somme Heritage Centre in Newtownards to gain a ‘hands on’ experience of the impact World War 1 especially life in the trenches.
Key Stage 4
Year 11 OCR students visit Clough Motte and Bailey as well as Dundrum Castle and CCEA students visit Stormont.
GCSE is delivered in five periods per week. Teachers choose to follow either CCEA or OCR Examination Boards.
Unit 1 Study in Depth Germany 1918-41
Changing Relationships: Britain, NI and Ireland 1965-1985
Unit 2 Outline Study The Cold War 1945-1991
Unit 3 Investigative Study Controlled Assessment
Study in Development Medicine Through Time
Study in Depth Germany 1919-45
Controlled Assessment History Around Us –Dundrum Castle OR Modern World Study – Ireland
A Level is delivered in nine periods per week. All teachers subscribe to CCEA.
Module 1 Germany 1918-45
Module 2 Challenge and Crisis in Ireland 1821-67
Module 1 Unionism and Nationalism 1800-1900
Module 2 Partition of Ireland 1900-25
Year 13 and 14 pupils attend annual A Level Conferences for up to date information on their modules of study. We also have developed close links with QUB through the Researchers in Residence Scheme. This scheme enables our students to develop historical skills by working throughout the year with PhD students.
We also have a History Society which meet weekly on Fridays during Junior Lunch in 3Hi4. Last year our focus was the Time Capsule which is buried in the Courtyard. We sourced, located and ordered the lead box, choose the inscription and contents and attended the burial of it. This year we are aiming to produce a ‘History Wall’ for Open Day. We would like to collect photographs of past pupils in their school uniform with information on the years they attended the College and what they are doing now. We hope to create a timeline of past pupils alongside local, national and global events from 1985-2011. If you are a past pupil, please send the above information to Ms Collins at Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock, 120 Gilnahirk Road, Belfast BT5 7DL or email it to