Leo Tolstoy suggested rather cynically in War and Peace that, “Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.” At the heart of every History lesson at St. Olave’s are questions, many of them have no definite answer; however, it is only by taking up the challenge to pose them and develop the historical skills necessary to investigate them that we can drive our knowledge and understanding of the past.
History is a dynamic challenging subject. At KS3 pupils develop an understanding of a broad sweep of British and World History from 1066 to the present day before focusing during the GCSE course on the way in which a variety of individuals and events from the Twentieth Century have shaped the Modern World we inhabit. The A-Level courses allow pupils to explore modern Britain and its politics in greater depth and draw parallels between our current political and economic situation and that of America in 1920s and 30s. Learning does not take place solely within the classroom, opportunities to enrich pupils knowledge and understanding of History abound. Visits to the World 1 and 2 Battlefields and to Washington D.C and New York city provide the highlight of the trips calendar and sit alongside the History Society and its magazine in allowing pupils to indulge their passion for the subject.
While History may provide a fascinating window into the past, the many skills historians learn prepare them for an almost endless array of higher education and career opportunities. Because History provides the tools to analyse and explain problems, it is an essential tool for problem solving in the present and future. Historians learn the value of clear thinking, good writing, articulate speaking, and the importance of asking and answering complicated questions about how the world works.
Ms J. Clift
Head of History