We aim to make History exciting, interesting and relevant to our pupils, and also aim to teach beyond the prescribed syllabus to encourage self-reliance and independence of thought.
Vital skills inculcated by History teaching include wide and critical reading, clear thinking and the construction of well-focused, wide-ranging and detailed written answers. History is compulsory from the First to the Third Forms. Thereafter it becomes an optional subject.
In the First and Second Forms, topics include aspects of English and European History from 1066 to 1750. Apart from the First World War, Third Form sets will study a variety of courses according to the choice of their teacher. Current topics include the British Empire, Ireland, the Holocaust and the rise and fall of Apartheid in South Africa.
At GCSE we use the Modern World History IGCSE specification, with a focus on Russia, International Relations, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Germany.
The History department follows the Pre-U History course in the Sixth Form. The course is challenging, rewarding and wide-ranging. Pupils are encouraged to discover information and ideas for themselves with the guidance of their teachers. There is great emphasis on independent learning and a chance to research and write a Personal Investigation on a wide range of historical periods from the Middle Ages to the Origins of World War One.
The department maintains good links with numerous university History departments and many Oundelians apply to read History in higher education. The department prides itself on the success of its Oxbridge programme in helping students achieve places at Oxford and Cambridge.
The department runs annual trips to Paris, Vienna/Budapest/Berchtesgaden, Berlin, and Prague. We also offer occasional trips to the Somme battlefields, as well as an annual trip to London for Lower Sixth historians.
History society meetings are held regularly throughout the school year. Speakers who have addressed the Senior History Society include Jeremy Black, George Bernard, Anne Curry, Richard Overy and David Carpenter. The Junior History Society runs an equally ambitious programme with speakers including Gary Sheffield and Robert Tombs.
The History Forum offers the opportunity for Sixth Form History pupils to present and discuss research papers on a historical theme or problem of their own choosing. It is particularly valuable for those hoping to study History at university, especially those candidates who will have a university interview.
Mr J M Allard
Acting Head of Department