History at Senior School

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

In life, when faced with History topics one can be met with, ‘Oh, why does it matter what happened so long ago?’ From the moment students enter a History lesson at Portland Place we ensure that History never feels like a ‘dead’ subject. We bring the subject alive, both inside and outside the classroom, through interactive, engaging and stimulating ways. The question ‘but what’s the point?’ is never uttered or thought. This is because we open student’s minds up to the excitement of discovery. At GCSE we wrestle with contentious and thought provoking questions, such as:

-How far can the policy of appeasement be justified?
-What happened to the process of de-nazification?
-Why exactly did people follow Hitler?
-Just quite how paranoid were Britain and America during the Cold War?
-Did Elizabeth 1st change the landscape of British warfare?
-What factors can we attribute the rise of Al Qaeda to and -how far back do they go?
-What really is a Total War and long can its impact be felt -for?

Big historical issues from as early as 770 to as late as 2012 are confronted and approached through a variety of different learning techniques, such as debate, active discussion, role play and presentations. This is also made accessible to students who may not have studied History within the English system before. These equip students with the key skills to then enable them to confidently approach the more advanced exam questions. These are delivered under careful direction from the teacher who helps to guide each individual student with their own enquiry, argument and conclusion.

As a department we achieve fantastic results and value added. This is namely because the progress of each and every student matters to us. We ensure every child leaves us at the end of their GCSE having not only reached their full potential, but also having gained a life-long love of the intriguing, bizarre and fantastic world of History!