The Humanities Department aims to cultivate the joy of discovery. Through our teaching of history, geography and perspectives we delve into the past, the present and the future; we travel around the world from our classrooms; and we take the students to unknown places; we explore the world’s most important ideas.
Whilst promoting a thorough academic study of the subjects in the classroom, we also encourage the students to broaden their understanding with overseas trips – recent expeditions have included Iceland, Italy, field work in the New Forest and Devon – and by taking action locally.
We aim to promote the ethos of the school by involving the students in current affairs, through class discussions, assemblies and clubs. We promote the practice of questioning our beliefs and reflecting on our place in the world.
Darest thou now, O Soul,
Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,
Where neither ground is for the feet, nor any path to follow?
The Lower Years
In the Lower Years, all the humanities disciplines are taught in French as an integrated course. We discover the world from the time of the dinosaurs up to the roots of Western civilisation in ancient Greece, visiting ancient Egypt along the way. The children learn the geography of Europe and work on their map skills.
The Middle Years
Once the children arrive in the Middle Years, they are ready to discover the fall of the Roman Empire and the world civilisations that follow: Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Pre-Columbian America, China and the Middle East. We teach a broadly chronological course in Years 5 and 6 to give the children an appreciation for the roots of Western culture and its context in the world.
From Year 7 the three humanities subjects are taught separately. In history and geography, two-year courses lead towards 13+ Common Entrance exams at the end of Year 8. Meanwhile, in perspectives the students explore the unfolding of philosophical and religious ideas.
The Upper Years
The GCSEs in history and geography provide students with a broad understanding of their chosen subjects. The history course is built on an overview of 20th century history, while GCSE geography includes physical and human components.
In Year 9, weekly perspectives lessons support the students in developing critical thinking skills, while Year 10 and Year 11’s GCSE studies are complimented by a cultural studies seminar led by the headmaster.
The A level geography and history courses explore the complex interactions between people, places and events. History A level requires students to span over 350 years of modern history, while the geography course unpicks the dynamics of physical and social processes.