All of us in the History Department believe strongly there has never been a more important time to study History – a subject that is not only academically challenging but crucial for an understanding of one another and of the world we live in. We are committed to passing on our love of the subject, in the courses we teach and through our extra-curricular activities.
Aims of the History Department
History requires and encourages a range of skills, both general and subject-specific. We aim to develop all of the following in our teaching:
- The understanding of our common heritage and of the present-day world through a study of events, developments and ideas that have gone before.
- The ability to understand factors that influenced the behaviour of people from different times and places.
- The ability to evaluate evidence of different kinds, and to use it to structure arguments and to reach balanced conclusions.
- The awareness of the existence of different types of historical sources and opinions, of the controversies they generate and of the importance of reaching appropriate judgements about their relative value.
- The love of History, the awareness of its existence outside the classroom, of the opportunity it provides for leisure and of its value in the wider world.
History is a very popular GCSE and Sixth Form option at Hampton. In the Sixth Form, our Pre-U course has proved highly successful. Boys are encouraged to develop the skills they were introduced to at GCSE (source analysis, coherent and well-organised writing, the making of judgements and so on) across a range of historical topics, some of which they choose for themselves. All Sixth Form historians are challenged to read widely and critically and to think for themselves. Recent results have been extremely impressive: the many historians who go on to study History at university leave Hampton well-equipped to do so.
The department strongly believes that nothing brings History alive more than visits to historical sites themselves, so field trips form a key part of our teaching. To help the First Years learn about the Middle Ages, we take them to Windsor Castle, where they learn about the lives of knights and how the caste developed to protect the kings and queens of England.
Second Years spend a day in Portsmouth in the wonderful Mary Rose museum. Our Third Year course on 20th Century warfare is complemented by a trip to Normandy, as well as listening to a talk by a Holocaust survivor. GCSE historians are given the chance to spend four days in Berlin, where visits to the Olympic Stadium, Sachsenhausen, Checkpoint Charlie and the Jewish Museum (amongst others) enhance the boys’ understanding of their 20th century International Relations course.
The department also runs trips to Florence and Venice every other year, time-tabled around the Politics Department’s biennial Washington visit. Where possible and appropriate, Sixth Form courses are also supplemented by day-trips to relevant museums and exhibitions.