For the children, the sense of history is all around. We celebrate the history of the school itself and its foundation. We hold termly services in the beautiful medieval church of St. James in Colwall village. Crucial battles of the English civil war were fought not far away. The British Camp, a pre-Roman settlement whose fortifications on the Malvern hills can still clearly be seen, overlooks the school.
Against that background our teaching of history is directed at two principal goals. The first is to give the children a broad outline of the chronology, themes and events which make up our own “island story”, from the Romans’ arrival in 55AD to the 1960s.
The second goal is to show how to approach historical evidence critically, how to identify, evaluate and sift the reliable, the biased, the propaganda and to see how interpretation may shift with time and agenda. A critical approach and ability to filter asserted facts and opinion is relevant beyond the study of history; is relevant to the challenges we now face with big data, post-truth politics and “fake news” disseminated through social media. The knowledge and approach to history we teach will help children to assess critically the events unfolding today, which will be the history of tomorrow.
Phil Richardson, Head of History