The study of History is an essential foundation for understanding today's world. It also develops a wide range of useful skills and is a subject well regarded by university admissions tutors and employers alike. It should also be fun.
All boys at Bolton School study History for their first three years and the overwhelming majority follow it to GCSE. Typically between 30 and 40 boys then continue their studies to A Level. We regularly tutor candidates for Oxbridge entry and have a very good track record at helping these boys to win places at their chosen colleges. Above all, we are delighted that so many of our A Level pupils have decided to continue their studies at a higher level – over the past two years, 20 boys have gone on to read History at university.
Everyone who studies History at Bolton School has the benefit of being taught by specialist teachers who are real enthusiasts in their subject. The resources which we offer are excellent. We have two large departmental classrooms which are equipped with a range of modern equipment, such as interactive whiteboards, PCs and audio-visual and wireless facilities. We also have a dedicated Sixth Form teaching room – the Haselden Room – which is perfectly set up for A Level, seminar-style teaching. Boys are provided with a wide range of textbooks and both the Lower School and Senior Library have fantastic History sections and a great selection of online journals and resources, most of which can be accessed from home.
In Years 7 to 9 we broadly follow the National Curriculum in History but our independent status gives us more freedom to explore our historical enthusiasms and those of the boys. During the first three years of their school career, boys will become familiar with a broad sweep of British History, from the Norman Conquest to the Second World War. At GCSE, they study the Edexcel Specification A for Modern European and World History, with all boys studying a British unit alongside options in Soviet and German History and 20th Century International Relations. At A Level, we continue to follow the Edexcel specification, enabling candidates to develop their skills whilst examining new aspects of modern European and world history in more depth.
History is pursued outside the classroom too. All Year 7 boys visit a fantastic medieval castle to bring their class work on this topic to life; all Year 9 boys visit the Imperial War Museum North to learn how to use historical artefacts relevant to their studies. As part of the school enrichment programme, the History Department also plans visits to the Fusiliers Museum in Bury and the Tudor Hall at Smithills in Bolton.
We offer a number of exciting residential trips at various stages in the boys’ school careers. Boys in Year 8 have the opportunity to go on a Tudor adventure to London, to visit Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. In Years 9, 10 and 11, boys can explore the Battlefields of Northern France and Belgium. Each year, for our Sixth Form students, we run alternate field trips to Italy and Germany. The Rome trips enable the boys to enrich their knowledge of Risorgimento and Fascist Italy, while the Berlin/Munich trips focus on German History from the Second Reich to the Third Reich. In recent years, boys have also visited Krakow and Auschwitz as part of our ongoing association with the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Back in school, we also have a lively and popular History Society which meets during one lunchtime each week and provides a range of activities for boys from all age groups. Sixth Form historians also produce the Sixth Form History magazine, The HistOracle, which has won national awards in three consecutive years. Boys in the Lower and Middle School have recently set up their own rival publication, The Middle Ages. On top of this busy schedule, we regularly host visiting speakers and boys are encouraged to submit their work for a number of national History Essay competitions. Members of the History Department also run a Model UN Society and a Law Society, building on the interests and skills which this subject fosters.
The emphasis in the History Department is very much on variety, both in terms of topics and activities. Boys in all age groups can expect, alongside the more traditional forms of school work which most certainly still have their place, to produce independently researched projects, work in teams, participate in debates, get involved in competitions, produce short films and audio broadcasts, practise their skills in ICT and hone their investigative techniques. They will also be told some gripping tales, which is what good History should be all about.
Head of Department
Miss S V Burgess, MA
Members of the Department
G R Barker, MA
M J Brown, BA,
Miss C L Dickinson, BA
C C Joseph, MA