“The causes of events are ever more interesting than the events themselves.” Cicero
“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” George Washington
“The study of history is the best guarantee against repeating it.” John Buchan
“History, together with Science, is the only valid prism through which to predict the future.” Sir Christopher Meyer.
Four quotations – and four very broad arguments for the inclusion of the study of History in a broad curriculum. Considering the routes that lead to significant world events can be a means of allowing us to learn the lessons of the past, thereby avoiding repetitions of the same catastrophe.
An historian must be multi-skilled; the study of History will hone a host of desirable and transferrable competences that enhance study in a plethora of other fields. A-level students develop skills of critical inquiry, of analysis and synthesis. They must resolve conflicting evidence to identify the reliability of source material, and then construct clear arguments to defend their chosen perspective on a problem. History at A-level works well to both complement and support other Humanities options, or other literacy-dependent subjects; equally, its critical challenging of the evidence-base means that historians may often offer the subject as a complement to Science options. Skilled historians have many professional careers routes open to them, including Law and politics.
Departmental objectives at A-level include:
- To teach History in a way that encourages enjoyment of the subject
- To provide the essential skills and content to prepare students to succeed at A-level and to ready them for undergraduate study
- To expose students to the important schools of historical interpretation and to teach them to read and interpret History for themselves, thereby encouraging discussion and critical thinking about the past and the contemporary world
- To allow students to develop their historical knowledge and understanding through relevant trips and visits to sites of interest, and by the use of outside speakers
Included in the departmental A-level programme is a residential trip to Berlin.
The department is staffed by specialist Historians who bring a wealth of experience and personal interests to the department.