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 Ruddin

Related News

Year 8 Geographical Investigation Day

The Year 8 students enjoyed a productive Geographical Investigation Day on Wednesday, carrying out surveys to assess the impact that Hampton Court Palace has on the local area. Scores for environmental quality were calculated, land use maps labelled and questionnaires were completed by helpful passers-by.... The sun shone and everyone contributed with positivity and focus – well done Year 8!

See more

Year 1 launch their first book in French

This year, the Year 1 children have been working on a project to create their very own first book in French. The story called ‘Le voyage fantastique des Year 1’ is about a group of Year 1 children who want to travel the world and discover different countries using a magic red bus. They put into practice... their French speaking and writing skills when inventing the story, and got the chance to record themselves speaking French when making an audio version of their book. The project combines cross-curricular subjects, including French, Art, Life Skills and Geography.

See more

The trial of Charles I…on Zoom

The Year 12 History curriculum covers the Stuart period as one of the A level modules and always culminates in 1649 and the trial and execution of Charles I. Head of History, Thomas Roberts would usually conduct a mock trial at school and thought, “there’s no reason not to attempt the same over Zoom”.... The fact that UK courts have resorted to conducting trials via Skype due to C19 made it seem especially fitting to do so. The lesson worked extremely well, mainly due to the fact that the students made the effort to come fully prepared, even dressing up for the occasion. It goes to show that when you have enthusiastic students there’s no reason why remote learning can’t be creative, interactive and fun.

See more

Year 7 and 8 trip to Westminster Abbey

On Friday Years 7 and 8 spent the day at Westminster Abbey, a site of significant historical and religious importance in London. Contextualising 1000 years of history, the students could walk past the tombs of kings and queens that shaped the nation, look at the chair that was used in the coronation... of monarchs from Henry VIII to Elizabeth II, as well as reciting the beginning of The Canterbury Tales near the remains of Geoffrey Chaucer. Despite the rain, the group really enjoyed their excursion and the chance to deepen their knowledge from their Perspectives and History lessons.

See more

Year 4 trip to the British Museum

To complement their work in humanities on ancient Greece, Year 4 went on a trip to the British Museum on Wednesday 29th January. They very much enjoyed using augmented reality technology on tablets supplied by the British Museum to explore the Parthenon Gallery. They learned about ancient Greek religion... and how the Parthenon’s architecture celebrated Athena’s greatness and communicated the power of Athens. The Year 4 pupils had a great day exploring the museum!

See more

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.