Teaching Staff

  • Mr P Boyle, BA PGCE (School Leader)
  • Mrs P McHugh, BA PGCE
  • Mrs M O'Donovan, BA PGDip PGCE
  • Miss R Wright, BA (Hons), PGCE


Key Stage 3


History students at Key Stage 3 follow the Northern Ireland curriculum.

All students at Key Stage 3 receive 4 fifty minute periods per fortnight.

At Key Stage 3 our students develop their historical skills through a range of exciting and dynamic units. Teachers use a variety of teaching and learning methodologies to nurture an interest in History.

In Year 8 we ask some of the following questions:

  • What is History? Why is it important?
  • Who was the Tollund Man? What can we learn about the past from him?
  • Why was 1066 such an important year in History?
  • How did castles develop over time?
  • What impact did the Normans have on Ireland?
  • What is slavery? Does it still exist today?
  • What was life like as a slave in the Americas?

Our Year 9 students investigate these questions and many more:

  • What was the Reformation? Why was it so significant?
  • Henry VIII: Was he a saint or a sinner?
  • What can portraits tell us about the image of Elizabeth I?
  • What caused the Plantation of Ulster and what were the main consequences?
  • How does the Battle of the Boyne still hold relevance today?
  • How was Europe affected by the 'revolution bug' of the late eighteenth century?
  • Who were the leading figures in nineteenth century Irish nationalism?
  • What impact did the Famine have on society in Ireland?

In Year 10 our focus is the twentieth century and a few of the areas we study are:

  • Why was the twentieth century so significant?
  • Who was to blame for the Titanic disaster?
  • How did war develop during the twentieth century?
  • Were the suffragettes a terrorist group?
  • Why is it so important to study and remember the Holocaust?
  • Was the dropping of the Atomic Bomb justified?
  • How has international terrorism developed in the twentieth century?
  • What were the causes of the partition of Ireland?
  • How was Northern Ireland affected by 'The Troubles'?
  • What was it like to be a young person during 'The Troubles'?
  • How have the media portrayed the Northern Ireland conflict?



History is a very popular subject at GCSE in Slemish with many students opting to study it. The department follows the CCEA specification.

In Year 11 students complete two Studies in Depth. The options studied are:

  • Life in the United States of America, 1920-33
  • Changing Relations: Northern Ireland and its Neighbours 1965-1998

At the end of Year 11 students sit Unit One of their GCSE, worth 60% of their overall result. Students also complete an Outline Study which focuses on International Relations, 1945-2003. This is examined with an external examination in Unit 2 at the end of Year 12.

A Level


At A Level the History Department continues to follow the CCEA specification. A Level History is 100% examination based.

In Year 13 we study:

  • Germany, 1919-1945
  • Ireland, 1823-1867

In Year 14 we study:

  • The American Presidency, 1901-2000
  • The Partition of Ireland, 1900-1925

The History Department has enjoyed great success at A2 Level. Many of our students have gone on to study History at undergraduate and post-graduate level. We are very proud of their achievements. There are opportunities to enhance the study of A Level History with visits to relevant A Level conferences and seminars. Students also have the opportunity to visit Dublin in Year 14 to enhance their study of the course.

Extra Curricular

  • This year the History Department will be running a History Film club. We will be critiquing historical films and use our historical skills to assess the accuracy of Hollywood films in History. If you think you are the Slemish version of Jonathan Ross or Claudia Winkleman you will be very welcome to join us!
  • We run History Help Clinics in the run up to GCSE and A Level examinations to focus on examination technique and past paper practice.
  • As well as support within school, we also offer online support through our Twitter profile, aimed at GCSE and A Level students.
  • We participate in the College House competitions throughout the year.
  • To enhance the enjoyment and interest in History outside of the classroom we run a biennial visit to Berlin. Our most recent visit was in February 2018 where fifty students and six staff enjoyed a fun-filled five days in Berlin.

Homework & Core Assessments

  • Homework in History is used to consolidate learning from the classroom and takes a variety of forms.
  • Students in Key Stage 3 receive one homework per fortnight and students should aim to spend 30-40 minutes completing this work. At Key Stages 4 and 5 homework is set after each lesson. We recommend students at Key Stage 4 spend 40-50 minutes per homework and at Key Stage 5, 50-60 minutes are recommended.
  • Core Assessments for Key Stage 3 students take place three times during the academic year (one per term). These assessments are designed to assess historical skills and are used to track progression and student performance. One task in Year 9 is also used to assess the cross-curricular skill of Communication.


For GCSE and A Level examination support:

Slemish History Twitter

BBC Bitesize Revision (USA)

BBC Bitesize Revision (Northern Ireland)

Twentieth Century history


Carrickfergus Castle