History in S5-S6

Purpose and Aims of the Course

The purpose of the Course is to open up the world of the past for learners. History provides learners with insights into their own lives and of the society and the wider world in which they live.

By examining the past, learners can better understand their own communities, their country and the wider world. Through an understanding of the concept of continuity, they can better appreciate change and its significance, both in their own times and in the past.

The learner will acquire breadth and depth in their knowledge and understanding of the past through the study of Scottish, British, European and world contexts in a variety of time periods. The topics studied at Jordanhill are from the Later Modern period and include elements of political, social, economic and cultural history. The approach developed and the understanding gained can be applied to other historical settings and issues.

The main aims of the Course are to develop:

  •  Conceptual understanding of the past and an ability to think independently
  •  Various skills including the ability to apply a detailed historical perspective in a range of contexts
  •  Skills of analysing various interpretations of historical sources and critically evaluating a variety of views
  •  Understanding of the relationship between factors contributing to, and the impact of, historical events
  •  Skills of analysing, evaluating and synthesising historical information
  •  Skills of researching complex historical issues, drawing well-reasoned conclusions

This course aims to help you continue the process of gaining a wider appreciation of Scotland’s past within the wider British, European and world contexts.  You will learn to access and use information from different kinds of sources, think critically about evidence and be able to draw conclusions.  You will be given the opportunity to justify your arguments in discussion and debate.  By looking at the past, we hope you will develop the ability to communicate your own stances on current issues.

We will be delivering the course through a huge variety of written and visual materials.  As well as teacher-led discussions, we aim to work collaboratively be it doing research, note taking, presentations or debates.

At Advanced Higher, we hope to build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained previously.  The aim of the course is to provide students who have already passed History at the Higher Grade with an opportunity to proceed further with the study of History and so develop at greater depth the abilities and skills associated with it.  These would include:-

  • the ability to evaluate opinions of historians
  • the ability to interpret source material
  • the ability to plan, research and write a dissertation

Students will be encouraged to work independently but learning will be reinforced by: class lectures, discussions, workshops where students will exercise the use, evaluation and interpretation of sources and work guides.  Extensive use will also be made of visual and digital media.

Course requirements ask students to:

  • handle detailed information in order to analyse events and their relationship thoroughly
  • use this analysis to address complex historical issues including consideration of alternative interpretations
  • draw a series of judgements together by structured, reasoned argument reaching well-supported conclusions.


As essay writing, source handling and knowledge of the interpretation of historians is a vital part of the lessons, regular homework to develop these skills is an integral part of the course.  Students must submit essays regularly and extensive reading is essential.

Advanced Higher

Each unit will be assessed internally and the student will have to demonstrate successful attainment of outcomes of Unit 1 and Unit 2.  The course will be assessed externally by an examination consisting of two essay questions and three source based questions.  There is also a Dissertation (4000 words) which has to be submitted.

Learners will develop various skills including:

  • Transferable skills: thinking independently; presenting information and views; researching, organising and analysing information; decision-making and problem-solving; communicating for different purposes.
  • Analysing the impact of historical developments.
  • Evaluating a variety of primary and secondary sources e.g. print, photographs, artefacts, newspaper archives, oral recordings.

Is history for me? 

You will enjoy this subject if: 

  • You like people and want to find out about their stories.
  • You believe that what people tell you must be critically examined – and want to develop the skills to do so.
  • You think the past and present are connected and want to know more about how we got here.
  • You’re curious and want to find out the truth behind the news headlines.

Influential Historians

  • Susan Wojcicki –  Has a degree in History and Literature from Harvard and is currently the CEO of YouTube. Her advice to women looking to follow her in footsteps: “Though we do need more women to graduate with technical degrees, I always like to remind women that you don’t need to have science or technology degrees to build a career in tech.”
  • Louis Theroux -The famously and fabulously awkward yet inquisitive documentary maker earned himself a first-class degree from Oxford in History.
  • Lucy Worsley – Studied Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford.  She is a well-known historian, author and television presenter. 
  • Suzannah Lipscomb – British historian, academic and television presenter who has written and appeared in a number of television and radio programmes about British history. She was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of History at the University of Roehampton in January 2019. 

‘I liked the topic of migration and empire, as I enjoyed learning about the experiences of different nationality groups from within our own country.’

Rachel Hughes 6Cr