History is taught throughout the Prep School and covers an exciting mix of different periods and locations.
Overall, the History curriculum is designed to offer pupils a chronologically secure sweep of British History from the invaders and settlers (Anglos-Saxons, Jutes and Vikings) through to the nineteenth century. However, there are also opportunities to study other cultures such as the Egyptians, the Islamic Golden Age, the Kingdom of Benin and the rise of Kublai Khan.
There is a focus on acquiring factual knowledge, but also on equipping pupils with the intellectual skills that will be essential throughout their lives. Beginning in Year 5, pupils learn how to recognise differing historical interpretations, and they start to reflect on the complex issues of reliability and utility in relation to historical sources. In Year 6, our historians are introduced to the process of formal essay writing; they are taught how to form arguments and use evidence effectively to make substantiated judgements.
Pupils follow the Common Entrance syllabus in Years 7 and 8, when they study the modern period: Britain and Empire 1750-1914. Units of work include the anti-slave trade movement, the campaign for women’s suffrage, the development of the railways, Chartism, the Industrial Revolution, and public health.
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