“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.
Years 7 – 9
At KS3 we aim to develop students’ core skills of enquiry, analysis and development of arguments. In Year 7, we start with family history before moving onto medieval Europe – peasant life, the power of the Church – and end with the Tudors and Reformation. In Year 8, we look at the idea of ‘revolution’ – how Early Modern monarchs attempted to hold onto power, and the consequences of their failure, as well as how imperial expansion and industrial innovation created modern Britain. We then focus on the 20th century, the world wars and the Cold War, and examine how extreme ideologies have shaped our current world order.
Our IGCSE course focuses on the 20th Century. Students study International Relations from the end of the First World War through to the fall of the Berlin Wall, developing examination technique and source analysis skills. In Year 11, students research the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s before starting their coursework essay, which constitutes 27% of their final mark. Students undertake a Depth study into Weimar and Nazi Germany, focused around the enquiry of whether Hitler’s rise to power was inevitable.
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’. This was the third conference that we have co-hosted in collaboration with the University of Kent, the previous two being a Black History conference and a Women’s History conference, to which we invite other local schools. 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.