Mr D. Espejo - Head of History
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 Britain’s colonisation of North America, the subsequent reasons for the United States Declaration of Independence and the way in which a new nation was created. Alongside this, pupils study the growth and peak of the British Empire at the end of the 19th Century and the subsequent contraction and collapse of the Empire in the aftermath of World War 1 and 2. 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 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.
Wider reading suggestions for our History Students