History is a thriving and very popular subject at Notting Hill. Our lessons aim to fire pupils’ curiosity and imagination, moving and inspiring them with the dilemmas, choices and beliefs of people in the past.
Outside of the classroom, we encourage pupils to appreciate the past through a wide range of trips. We have organised regular visits to the Tower of London for Year 7, the Museum of London for Year 8 and the Imperial War Museum for Year 9 in addition to more adventurous excursions in recent years to Berlin, Paris and the Ypres battlefields.
For Years 7 to 9 History is a compulsory subject for all pupils. We take a broadly chronological approach to the subject, with close attention given to the major themes relevant to History. We consider a range of concepts such as change and continuity, cause and consequence, difference and significance. In Year 7 we focus on the medieval period, analysing the major events and transformations after the Norman Conquest in 1066. In Year 8 we continue with the narrative of British history by studying the dramatic changes of the early modern period, in particular the English Civil War. However, we also broaden our focus towards a more international approach, for instance with an in-depth study of slavery and its abolition. By Year 9, we are firmly fixed in the modern period, with topics such as the Industrial Revolution and the two world wars of the twentieth century.
At GCSE we have traditionally covered twentieth century history, which the students find interesting, relevant and well resourced. International relations form the backbone of the course, with a detailed investigation into the Cold War which divided Europe after the Second World War. The history of the USA and Germany between the two world wars provides a compelling study of how different countries have responded to economic crises.
At A Level we offer a mixture of different periods and topics, whilst providing a coherent outline of the history of modern Europe since 1774. A unit on the French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte is taught as a vital starting point, before moving on to a study of Russia and its rulers from the Tsarist to the Communist period. Alongside this, the British unit concentrates on the career of Winston Churchill and his legacy on modern Britain. Our sixthform history students also carry out independent research in a coursework assignment.
Beyond the sixthform it is no coincidence that recent NHEHS History alumni have gone on to write for national publications such as The Guardian and The New Statesman, as the skills gained in the study of History are invaluable for constructing meaningful and persuasive arguments. Other former students have gone on to careers in law, politics and banking. In fact, History is desired by employers in a range of different fields. Many careers rely on individuals who can perform well in the skills we teach such as handling complex information, and who can present their findings in a methodical and rational manner.