History & Politics
We are committed to developing in our students a sense of the significance of the past and its people and an understanding that an awareness of historical events might be applied to the political, social, economic and religious issues of the present.
Through a balanced study of History and Politics, we also aim to touch on the full range of human experience and develop in students a sense of moral and civic awareness. Consideration of gender, ethnic, cultural and geographical diversity is critical to historical narrative, political debate, empathy and historical imagination.
In lessons, we aim to encourage initiative and self-directed study through literary and electronic resources. Development of the skills of critical analysis, coherent explanation and confident argument are at the heart of the department’s teaching and we are passionate about facilitating academic discussion in our lessons, right from Year 7.
In the Sixth Form, students are offered a choice of History courses – A Level or IB Diploma. We also offer Government and Politics in the Sixth Form which may also be taken as an AS level over two years.
The department has a vibrant extra-curricular life, with four academic societies, two journals and a wide range of trips on offer. We firmly believe that academic excellence comes from vibrancy and passion and are committed to inspiring this in our students beyond the classroom.
Our History Society is one of the most successful societies in the school. It holds weekly seminar sessions and student-led debates, as well as inviting in illustrious academic speakers. The Young Historians group also meets weekly, and is a forum for students from Years 7 to 9 to present research on historical topics of their own interest. This term has seen fascinating talks on the Salem witch trials, the history of confectionery and the history of alternative medicine. Our Politics society also invites speakers to Thursday ‘Senior Societies’ sessions and has recently set up a weekly discussion group, to enable students to grapple with key political issues beyond the classroom. Our final society is the United Nations Society, which prepares for and participates in Model United Nations competitions with other schools. All of these societies broaden our students' horizons, encourage their passions and allow them to take responsibility for the organisation of the academic life of the school.
Our programme of trips includes a Year 8 visit to York via Birmingham, to visit Bournville, York Minster, the Shambles and Clifford's Tower; a Year 9 battlefields tour of the Western Front; a Year 10 trip to Berlin as part of Nazi Germany and Cold war studies; a Year 12 summer study tour to Paris; a collaborative trip with the English Department to Dublin and a cross-year History and Politics trip to New York and Washington. On top of our formal programme of visits, Sixth Form students attend study days in London and teachers regularly organise evening theatre, museum and lecture visits.