The History Department – Years 4 to 8
Success at 13+ Common Entrance is not the result of ‘hot-housing’ boys in a narrow focus on the demands of the exam but rather the happy by-product of a vibrant, varied and thought-provoking whole school curriculum.
Boys at Tower House experience History through interacting with the source material which builds knowledge, confidence and skills through the years. For example, our younger boys investigate the exciting world of ancient civilisations and famous people. When boys move into the Senior School (year 4) they experience History as a discrete subject, studying the lives of various invading peoples as well as the Ancient Greeks.
Further up the school, we place more emphasis on the skills of investigating and analysing sources. For example, in Year 5, the boys study the Victorians and 20th century Britain. This involves working with sources from the Great Exhibition and The Home Front in 1940. Medieval History in Year 6 provides ample opportunity to study some of the great events of British History (For example The Battle of Hastings, Black Death and Wars of the Roses.) The Common Entrance syllabus begins in year 7, with the Tudors and the Stuarts in Year 8.
Traditional learning is supported by role play, ‘hot-seating’, discussion and debate. This is all with the aim of helping the boys to deepen their understanding and appreciate different viewpoints and arguments.
Being situated in south-west London, we take full advantage of the historic sites and museums which are only a train or tube ride away. The National Archives, Tower of London, the Army Museum and Kensington Palace are some of the sites where Tower House boys feel History very much ‘brought to life’.
Boys leave Tower House with a good understanding of the broad sweep of British history and an appreciation of non-European history. This is underpinned with the key skills of interrogating and evaluating differing types of sources, as well as the ability to construct cogent, interesting and well-supported argument and analysis.