We aim then to teach History so as to fire the curiosity and thinking skills of our students. Students are encouraged to focus on the dilemmas, choices and beliefs of people in the past. As a result, open minded discussion and debate naturally come to the fore during lessons. Typical questions might include: in what sense if any was Henry VIII a great King? Was Guy Fawkes really responsible for the plot to blow up Parliament or was he “fitted up”? Should we see Oliver Cromwell as a republican hero or the forerunner of modern dictatorship? Why did the Industrial Revolution first occur in Britain and not elsewhere? These are not easy questions but they are stimulating and important.
The History Department consists of four teachers committed to teaching History in an interesting and innovative way.
In Years 8 and 9 we study aspects of the political, economic and social history of the British Isles from c. 1500 to 1900 as well as undertaking Depth Studies in “Black Peoples of the Americas" and "The History of medicine from the Greeks to the NHS".
For students in Year 10 and pre-IB we offer two routes: a two-year GCSE course entitled "Modern World" and a one-year IGCSE course on Modern History. “Modern World” focuses on 20th century History including International Relations, the United States 1919-1941, and the role of the individual in History with particular reference to South Africa, Nelson Mandela and the struggle against apartheid. The Modern History course includes studies of the Cold War, the United Nations and some topics similar to those of the GCSE course, such as America.
The popular and stimulating IB History course includes elements on the "causes, course and consequences of wars", "single party states in the 20th century" and, for the Higher Level, 19th and 20th century European history with a particular emphasis on Russia, Germany and Italy. The need to think for yourself, examine evidence intelligently and distinguish between conflicting accounts is particularly important at IB. History, particularly, is the subject for detecting truth from propaganda. In these days of so-called "spin", IB History students are encouraged to develop some mental apparatus to help them winnow out the chaff of half-truths, propaganda and deliberate deception.
The Department believes that History should prepare its students for the future. It equips them with knowledge and skills which are prized in adult life, enhances their employability and fosters an ability to participate critically in a democratic society. We also believe the subject should be enjoyable and fun!