“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”Cicero
History plays a fundamental role in developing students’ sense of how their own story fits both within Britain and within the wider world. Taking a broad sweep of History, from the withdrawal of Roman forces from Britannia through to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, and ranging from the industrial towns of northern England to the slave plantations of the Caribbean, we aim to give students an appreciation of both the ‘strange and familiar’ features of the past. Our students emerge as curious, critical and open-minded individuals, ready to engage with an increasingly interconnected world.
Year 12 students examine the themes of Democracy and Dictatorship, studying Mussolini’s Italy in-depth and adopting a breadth approach to Weimar, Nazi and West Germany from 1918 through to 1989. They undertake coursework on the causes of the First World War at beginning of Year 13, and then do a wide-ranging study of British protest and reform, examining the nature of parliamentary reform between 1780 and 1928, its impact on parties’ organisation and policies, as well as looking at how different minority groups, from the working-class to women, attempted to shape politics without possessing the franchise.
The History department works hard to support our students in their studies, and to encourage students to appreciate the scope and potential of further study. In addition to weekly clinics and individual consultation, we have a rich schedule of external speakers; previous speakers have included Michael Wood and Clare Mulley. We recently hosted the University of Kent’s History department as they presented a series of lectures on the theme of ‘Migration’. We encourage students to participate in external competitions – one of our students won the Historical Association’s ‘Great Debate’ competition. Potential Oxbridge students receive regular extension classes focusing on historiography and current debates, while the opportunity to present independent research to our History and Politics Society is open to all our A level students.