History is taught as a stand-alone subject throughout the prep school. From Year 4 onwards the History curriculum has been designed to offer pupils a chronologically uninterrupted sweep of British History from the invaders and settlers (Anglos-Saxons, Jutes and Vikings) through to the nineteenth century. There is a focus on acquiring factual knowledge, but also on equipping pupils with intellectual skills which will be essential throughout their lives. Beginning in Year 6, pupils learn how to recognise differing historical interpretations, and begin to reflect on the complex issues of reliability and utility in relation to historical sources. They also start to practice the technical skill of formal essay writing, in which they are taught how to form arguments and use evidence effectively to make substantiated judgements.
The department’s philosophy is that history is full of extraordinary people, places and events. The subject stimulates our interest and allows us to form opinions as we explore the dilemmas others have faced in the past. Above all, it helps us to understand where we came from and encourages us to think about the future we want to create.
“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 lives of our ancestors by the records of History?” Cicero
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke