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.

Sixth Form

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.

Clarisse GheurMA
  • Head of Humanities
  • French & Humanities

Thomas RobertsBA PGCE
  • History

Ben RuddinBSc MSc PGCE
  • Geography

Related News

Y1 Humanities Project

Children in Year 1 did a humanities project looking at objects from the past including telephones and clothes.

They then compared past objects which ones we use nowadays, considering their evolution and transformation.

Y7 visit Hampton Court Palace

On Monday, Year 7 spent the day at Hampton Court Palace. The children had the opportunity to travel back to Tudor times and discover the apartments of the famous King Henry VIII.

They took part in two workshops: Henry to Mary: a religious roller coaster and Tudor kitchens revealed.

The children enjoyed exploring the beautiful palace gardens at lunchtime and all agreed that it was a fantastic and very interesting day.

Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution 1917: Dream or Disaster?

November 1917: the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia; the Tsar is assassinated; a Marxist government under Lenin takes control; a bloody civil war breaks out. At first, little was made of these communist reactionaries by ordinary Russians. Yet, in hindsight,...

Continue reading

Humanities Week remembers Guernica and the Spanish Civil War

Eighty years ago, on 26 April 1937, the small town of Guernica in northern Spain was bombed by German and Italian planes at the request of General Franco, the fascist leader. It was the bloodiest day in the Spanish Civil War; the terror of aerial bombardment was captured by the artist Pablo Picasso in... his epic, eight-metre-wide masterpiece Guernica.

The humanities, English, languages and art departments will be exploring the Spanish Civil War in a cross-curricular week of assemblies and lessons. Year 9 will be leading assemblies on the history, geography and politics of the Spanish Civil War; the Middle Years will discover the literature and art inspired by the conflict, including Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. Pupils from across the school are learning about politics in the twentieth century, including the concepts of fascism, communism, revolution, dictatorship and democracy.

The Spanish Civil War is one of the most significant events of the twentieth century, yet it is so often overlooked (at least in Britain) because of the Second World War that followed soon afterwards. However, the events that unfolded between 1936 and 1939 in Spain determined the course of history across Europe. Franco’s coup was backed by other fascist dictators – Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy – and he paid back his masters by aiding the Axis Powers during the Second World War (even though Spain remained “neutral”, at least on paper).

Franco remained dictator until 1975: it is Spain that lived longest under the dark cloud of fascism that descended across Europe in the 1930s.

All images in this post are taken from a ‘Guernica’ inspired animation made by the HCH Animation Club.

See more

Year 4 Twitchers

As part of the UN Global Goals project, Year 4 participated in the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

We made some pinecone birdfeeders to hang on the trees in the garden, then we spent 30 minutes outside spotting the most common UK birds with our binoculars. Blackbirds, carrion crows and black-headed gulls were amongst the most popular ones!