History is extremely popular at Denstone, and staff are highly effective in sharing their passion for the past. The subject is enjoyed by all in the First to Third Forms, and is offered as an option at GCSE and A level.

History is not the story of strangers, aliens from another realm; it is the story of us had we been born a little earlier. And it is a dramatic story at that! The study of history fires the imagination: can we imagine being a Roman, an African American hearing Martin Luther King speak, an RAF pilot in the Battle of Britain, perhaps even a Nazi? Everything that we have has been inherited from the past: we ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’. Our societies were not invented on the spur of the moment, they have evolved over the course of the life-span of the human species. For example, the laws we abide by and the cars that we drive were invented by our ancestors. To understand history, then, is to understand what it is to be human.

History is also one of the most respected academic subjects among universities. For example, Cambridge University recommends History as one of the top A Level choices. In its own right the study of History equips you with the ability to research, write, analyse and interpret complex information as well as formulate opinions and debate with confidence. It also combines well with both science and arts subjects and allows you to keep your university and career options open. It is therefore no surprise that history graduates can be found at the top of a wide range of professions, including making up a proportionally huge 10% of all directors of top businesses. 

From First to Third Form the syllabus broadly follows a chronological journey through British and some world history ranging from the medieval Battle of Hastings, through Victorian Empire to twentieth century warfare and intolerance in countries such as Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa. This array of topics prepares pupils effectively for accessing GCSE and A Level beyond where History is a popular option choice.

The department believes it important to venture outside the classroom and explore living history around us. There is an annual First Form visit to Warwick Castle, where pupils learn how best to attack and defend a castle. The Second Form enjoys a trip to the Liverpool Museum of Slavery where they explore the darker side of humanity. The Third Form has a memorable visit to sites and museums of significance for twentieth century warfare. In this past this has included the World War One battlefields as well as the Imperial War Museum and local National Memorial Arboretum. Exam classes experience a variety of trips ranging from UK destinations such as the Nottingham Holocaust Museum and Cosford Cold War Museum to further afield such as Poland, Russia and the USA. Sixth Form students also have the chance to visit Auschwitz as part of the nationwide Lessons from Auschwitz Project. 

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke.

Further subject information can be found in the relevant school curriculum document on the Curriculum page