For younger boys, in Pre-Prep and Junior School, History is taught through the more generic study of Humanities, whereas for boys in Middle and Upper School it is a discrete subject. Throughout the school, the philosophy of teaching and learning in History is the same – as boys acquire knowledge of the way we lived, and what has been done to shape our world, they should develop skills of enquiry and analysis, to verify their understanding.
The approach to History in Middle School is a little different. It is taught in chronological order, covering the Medieval period, including the Middles Ages and the Black Death, through to the religious and political changes under the Tudors, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. A visit to Hastings and Battle Abbey, and a residential Trip to York reinforce life in these times for boys in Year 5, whilst a workshop, allowing boys to experience the lives of knights, noblemen and peasants is enjoyed in Year 6. In Year 5, enquiry skills and questioning historical evidence are the focus. In Year 6, more complex skills of selecting and evaluating historical sources are introduced, as are essays analysing them, all essential for Senior School entry in later years.
In Year 7 the boys make a smooth transition to the reign of Elizabeth I, investigating, amongst other things, the symbolism in her portraits, with an Outing to the National Portrait Gallery. Later, they move forward through time, to the early 17th century, discovering why the monarchy was so unpopular, leading to Civil War. Once in Year 8, we look at the madness of a ‘World Turned Upside Down’ before rejoicing in the restoration of the monarchy later in that century. Year 8 also focus on examination preparation for the Senior School of their choice. All boys are encouraged to open their minds, to question historical documents and select evidence to justify their judgements, when interpreting a source. Essay writing is frequent, developing written analysis of anything from the Dissolution of the Monasteries to the aftermath of the Black Death.