‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.’ Winston Churchill
In A Level History we teach students to enquire, challenge and ultimately to question. We teach them to dig far beneath the surface of what we think we know, what we think happened and what we think was said. Students are educated on how to become expert historians and are equipped with the kinds of transferable skills which will enable them to excel at University. So begins a journey, in which the teacher is there to guide and direct the student every step of the way.
Firstly, students are educated on how to research, how to mine for secondary and primary evidence and how to delve into historiography. Secondly, we teach how this evidence should be approached critically and how to correctly sift through it to form their own analysis, argument and judgement. Thirdly, we guide students on how to reach their argument, how to achieve synthesis and to recognise patterns and trends. Finally, we oversee and hone students essay writing skills, empowering them to produce essays which showcase their higher level thinking.
A Level History at Portland Place covers breadth and depth. We explore controversial issues of the past concerning the vast timeline of US Civil Rights, we hone in on and question different interpretations on major milestones in History, we investigate the Cold War in Asia, confront the Mid-Tudor Crisis and form an enquiry into the period of Gloriana. One of the most exciting modules is one in which students have the freedom to undertake their own 4,000 word investigation into any topic and debate in History. In the past students have become expert specialists on topics ranging from the Enlightenment to the Easter Rising.
Ultimately, we teach students to critically never take the History books at face value and to, if they dare, challenge even Churchill!
“History at Portland Place was fascinating due to the range of time periods and topics explored; from year seven all the way to year thirteen. By the time I had reached my last year in sixth form, I had gained a good foundation for going on and studying History at University. What makes History at Portland Place different to other schools? Well, that would have to be the small class sizes, which allow you more one to one with your teacher, but also the teachers themselves, who are extremely approachable and supportive.”Isabella Weintraub, former A grade student of A Level History