The study of history at Kingham Hill School is all about letting pupils' intellectual curiosity take over. History is enduringly fascinating, but rarely straightforward and pupils will be encouraged to have ideas, challenge narratives and consider for themselves what the most convincing explanation is for various events in the past.
Pupils will be taught the skills they will need later at GCSE, Pre-U and even degree level; but most importantly they will be encouraged to develop their own love of learning about the histories that most interest them. The emphasis of the department is on building a knowledge of Britain’s history and the relationship it has had with the wider world.
In the 1st Form we study the medieval world, from the Anglo-Saxon migrations, through the reigns of various monarchs, to the climactic events of the Black Death and the crusades. We look at the role of religion in medieval life and there is a large emphasis on the physical evidence of the past, not only through using primary sources, but by investigating archaeology and architecture, including a visit to an ancient local church.
2nd Form cover a vast sweep of British History, from Henry VIII through the English Civil Wars, to the Industrial Revolution and the slave trade. It is a year of historical controversies: was Henry right to dissolve the monasteries? Can a country execute its king? Was Oliver Cromwell a war criminal? Culminating in the debate about what is the legacy of the British Empire and how should we remember our past.
In the 3rd Form we look at the world at war. The first term is dedicated to the First World War, including a compulsory trip to the battlefields of northern France and Flanders. This is not simply a trip of remembrance, it is where the bulk of teaching about the events of the war takes place as the pupils follow in the footsteps of Kitchener’s New Army. In the second term we see how the world descended into war for a second time, and the horrors that enfolded. The third term is spent looking at the world since 1945 and the enormous social changes that have occurred.