Mr J Patterson BA (Hons)
Head of History
“We can learn from history, but we can also deceive ourselves when we selectively take evidence from the past to justify what we have already made our minds up to do.”
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 will enable pupils 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.
History is the study of people: their hopes and aspirations, their problems and achievements and their expressions and beliefs. We investigate key but controversial leaders such as William the Conqueror, King John, Elizabeth I 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’, leaders of protest movements – as well as factors such as religion or the economy.
Our studies take us beyond the classroom with visits to sites of historical significance such as the Globe Theatre at GCSE and Russia as part of the A-level course. All pupils at Colfe’s experience a day trip to the Leathersellers’ Hall and the Guild Hall in Year 7, the Museum of London Docklands in Year 8 and to the Imperial War Museum in Year 9. History Film Club evaluates how Hollywood has chosen to represent the past and the History Society meets to investigate a range of extra-curricular topics. An annual House History competition is a further opportunity for pupils to show the level of knowledge gained during Years 7 to 9.
A-level course details: