Head of Department: Mr JR Stypinski BA
The department is well supported by a very sizeable selection of books in the school library. The department is also well resourced for visual presentations and possesses a diverse selection of materials appropriate to the ability of the groups being taught. There are three full-time and one part time history teachers.
History is compulsory in the lower school and a popular GCSE option attracting able and dedicated students. At this stage students follow a curriculum that is designed to teach them the history of Britain and place it into a wider context. In Elements Medieval England and the Crusades are taught covering the period between the battles at Hastings and Bosworth. In Rudiments attention focusses initially on the Italian renaissance and then looks at how ideas that took seed in this context went on to germinate in Tudor and Stuart England. Grammar looks at the changes in Britain and France in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It examines how Britain grew into a world power and how France, as the superpower of the day descended into chaos and gave birth to the ideas that dominate Europe to this day.
The iGCSE course (AQA 8045) is a traditional twentieth century course that focuses on events surrounding the two world wars as well as looking at the great European dictatorships of Lenin, Stalin and Hitler. The course covers the period 1900-1955. Students sit three examinations in the summer and there is no controlled assessment associated with this course.
Students in Rhetoric study, primarily the nineteenth century (OCR506). Courses cover the history of Britain from 1815-1885, looking at the changing social conditions and the threat of revolution following the Napoleonic Wars. In Rhetoric 2, students critically examine the careers of Gladstone and Disraeli, two of the most prominent prime ministers in the history of Britain. Outside of Britain students examine the United States of America and the creation of the continental nation between 1803 and 1890. They also examine how warfare changed between 1792 and 1945 in a course that covers both military history and the role of the state in warfare. Guest speakers have been brought in to the College from universities and arrangements are also made to attend lectures to develop the students’ interest in history and knowledge of how the subject works.
Students who apply themselves to their studies will learn how to select information and understand the cause and consequence of events. They will learn to synthesise different arguments and should learn that differing perspectives can be valid, but must learn to make decisions about which views they credit the most. They must learn to analyse documents and decide upon their reliability and usefulness in relationship to specific questions. Most fundamentally, students learn how to structure and support an argument.
History is useful in a variety of careers. Those directly related to the subject are obvious; teaching, museum work and the heritage industry. The legal profession uses many of the same skills as the historian and the decision making skills of history are also valued by the police, the military and larger businesses. Many librarians and archivists also have a background in history as do journalists.