History

Miss O Crummay, BA Hons, PGCE, Msc (Oxon)
Head of History
ocrummay@colfes.com

“We are not makers of History; we are made by History.”
Martin Luther King, Jr’

Colfe’s History Department lives and breathes History, not least because of its unique link to the Second World War in that the school took a direct hit from a Nazi rocket in 1944 – this captivates and fascinates our young historians. The History syllabus at Colfe’s studies some of the most significant events and people in British and World History over the past 2,000 years. It aims to inspire a passion for the subject, which enables our young historians to see how the past is being used- or abused- to justify people’s actions in the present.

We provide pupils with opportunities to engage in handling and questioning the record that the past has left behind – developing hypotheses, testing and proposing different types of claims about the past by using sources as supporting, modifying or refuting evidence. This ability to take a critical approach to perceived wisdom is an incredibly valuable skill that nurtures a respect for truth, an understanding of valid argument and a recognition that historical knowledge is organised in terms of the nature of the questions asked. We regularly use role play and re-enactment in our lessons to truly bring the past to life.

History is the study of people: their hopes and aspirations, their problems and achievements and their expressions and beliefs. As such, we investigate key but controversial leaders such as William the Conqueror, King John, Elizabeth I, Nikita Khrushchev and Winston Churchill. This allows pupils to engage in enthusiastic debates about how they should be remembered and investigate events that were influenced by ‘ordinary people’; Year 11 for example grapple with ‘Power and the People’ investigations; how political protest has been influenced by varied factors such as war, religion and the economy over time.

Our studies take us beyond the classroom with visits to sites of historical significance from the Cabinet War Rooms, to the Berlin Wall, or Sachsenhausen concentration camp. To commemorate the special link between Colfe’s and the Leathersellers’, all Year 7 discover the story of Colfe’s through an exciting day trip to the Leathersellers’ Hall. History Film Club evaluates how Hollywood has chosen to represent the past, and our House History competition is a fiercely competitive and enthusiastic experience whereby pupils demonstrate their level of historical knowledge acquired from Year 7-10. We also work closely with Colfe’s CCF unit to mark the commemoration of our 129 Colfeians who fell in the First World War, as well as leading a joint battlefields tour.

Colfe’s School is currently the education partner for the Spitfire AA810 Aerospace Careers Programme, which also seeks to inspire young people and combine History and STEM through the story of Sandy Gunn, a reconnaissance pilot whose rare Spitfire was shot down in the Second World War. Sandy was executed under the orders of Adolf Hitler for his part in the ‘Great Escape’ in 1944, and Colfeian historians have the opportunity to partake in touring workshops about Sandy’s Spitfire and the aerospace industry, as well as visiting a workshop to help build component parts of the crashed Spitfire that hopes to return to flight by 2023. It is these extra-curricular opportunities that we seek to engage our brilliant young thinkers and to provide vital skills and opportunities for the future.

A-level course details:

Art

The Art department at Colfe’s is an exciting, creative space that values imagination and intuitive responses, group and individual work.

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Classics

The Classics Department provides three ways in to this ancient past. Latin is offered throughout the school for Years 7-13, Classical Greek is an option from Year 10 and Classical Civilisation is available as an A-level.

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Computer Science

Computer Science and IT at Colfe’s allows you to learn the principles of information and computation thinking, understand how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through a range of programming languages.

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Design & Technology

Design & Technology at Colfe’s prepares pupils to take part in a rapidly changing world; learning to think creatively, become problem solvers and innovators, and design products to fulfil needs and wants not yet realised.

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Drama

Our aim is to help you learn how to express yourself, to explore your unique creativity and ultimately to become a confident performer.

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Economics & Business

In Economics and Business the emphasis in the classroom is on developing analytical abilities, encouraging argument from different standpoints and critical examination of data.

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English

English teaching at Colfe’s is focused on developing pupils’ engagement with literature, introducing them to a range of writers and texts, and encouraging them to become independent, proficient readers.

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Eudaimonia

Eudaimonia at Colfe’s is the teaching of the activity of wellbeing. Broadly based on the virtue ethics of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, the word Eudaimonia itself is most commonly translated as ‘flourishing’ by practising virtuous behaviour and engaging with what it means to be human.

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Geography

Our planet is a dynamic, complex and beautiful place. As far as we know it is unique. Studying Geography can help you to understand it, but studying Geography at Colfe’s can help you thrive in it.

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History

The History syllabus at Colfe’s studies some of the most significant events and people in British and World History over the past 2,000 years and aims to inspire a passion for the past.

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Learning Support

Learning Support is based in the heart of the Senior School in a well-equipped classroom with computers, ipads, an interactive whiteboard and an abundance of learning resources and educational games.

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Library

The Library is very much at the centre of the school, and is extremely busy at break and lunch times, and before and after the school day.

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Mathematics

Mathematics is the keystone to the modern technological world in which we live. It enables us to understand our physical environment through sophisticated modelling techniques and is the ultimate language of strategical reasoning.

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Media Studies

Media Studies is about understanding how our world is constructed and how we are encouraged to perceive it. If you understand how the media works, you understand how the world works.

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Modern Languages

Our carefully planned Modern Languages programmes of study will lead you to communicate in modern, real-life situations, using real contemporary language.

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Music

The importance of studying music can’t be overstated; it enables pupils to build confidence through performance, nurture creativity through composition and develop critical enquiry through musical appraisal.

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Physical Education

Through the Physical Education and Sport programme, our pupils experience opportunities to develop skills, which enable them to make informed lifestyle choices in adulthood and a lifelong love of sport and physical activity.

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Religion & Philosophy

Giving pupils an opportunity to engage with the rich history of philosophical and theological thought contributes to their personal growth and ethical development.

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Science

The Science facilities at Colfe's include nine dedicated laboratories with access to notebook computers, so that ICT skills can be used to complement learning.

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How to apply

Find out more about how to apply for Colfe's School. Our main entry points are at ages 3, 4, 11 and 16.