Course Overview

Higher History is a broad, challenging qualification that is highly regarded by both employers and Higher Education institutions alike.  The analytical skills developed in this year are invaluable in a wide variety of disciplines.  Building on their experience of National 5, pupils explore a range of topics that compliment their understanding from previous courses.  The skills of essay writing and source handling are also further developed from National 5.

Course Content 

British History: Britain, 1851-1951

    • The growth of democracy, 1851-1928
    • The Women's Suffrage Movement
    • The Liberal Reforms, 1906-1914
    • The Labour creation of the Welfare State, 1945-1951

Scottish History: The impact of the Great War, 1914-1928

    • Scots on the Western Front
    • Domestic impact of war: society and culture
    • Domestic impact of war: industry and economy
    • Domestic impact of war: politics

 European & World: USA, 1918-1968

    • Immigration to the USA & the Multi-ethnic State
    • Wall Street Crash & the Great Depression
    • The growth of the Civil Rights Movement from 1945
    • The growth of black radicalism in the 1960s


A wide range of approaches to teaching and learning are used.  Pupils are expected to organise and maintain their own folder of work, which acts as course notes and material for revision.  Pupils are engaged in a range of activities including; group work, presentations, whole-class discussion and debate, independent research tasks, as well as more traditional written work.


Units 1 and 3 are assessed for through the writing of two essays in response to previously unseen questions.  Each essay is worth 20 marks and would be around 1000 words in length.  Unit 2 is assessed by answering 3 source based questions worth a total of 20 marks.  This is the Evaluating Sources section of the exam.    

To gain an overall course award, pupils must also pass assessments for each unit studied.

In addition, as part of their overall award, pupils will write an extended essay on a question of their own choosing taken from any of the three units of study undertaken.  They will have to answer their chosen essay question under exam conditions.  This essay will be externally assessed and is worth 33% of the final grade.


There will be regular homework in the form of essays and source questions, and also completion of any unfinished notes or preparation for future classes.

Recording and Reporting

Target setting is a key part of the course and pupils are involved in setting target from the start.  Feedback is always focused on how to improve and teacher-pupil conversations are regular.  Grades are monitored by the Principal Teacher on a monthly basis, and any concerns are discussed at Departmental Meetings.  Any causes for concern result in contact with parents through Support for Pupils.  Letter regarding this are posted prior to each holiday.

Entry Requirements:

Pupils should have attained, or expect to attain, a pass at National 5 History. Pupils that do not have these entry requirements (for example, those that studied Geography in S4) are welcome to discuss choices with Mr Baxby.

Progression Routes:

Pupils who achieve a Higher Pass (Grade A or B) at the end of S5 are encouraged to undertake an Advanced Higher History course in S6.  A pass in Higher History is also a very acceptable entry qualification for all university courses and is well respected by employers.


The department offers an annual trip to the battlefields of Belgium and Northern France.  This forms a very useful addition to the pupils' understanding of the First World War.

Higher Course Timeline