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History is taught throughout The Beacon from Reception to Year 8, culminating with scholarship level work for the most able. The syllabus is based on the National Curriculum guidelines and tailored to meet the demands of senior school entrance exams in Years 7 and 8.

In Year 1 the teaching of History is largely oral and involves a great deal of comparison and contrast between the past and the present. Year 2 builds upon the work begun in the previous year, and pupils look at children during the Second World War. They are also introduced to the idea that famous people have lived before us and that their lives were meaningful and above all interesting, drawing upon the lives of significant men, women and children from the history of Britain and the wider world; for example Florence Nightingale.

In Years 3 and 4 boys learn about the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, as well as the Celts, Romans, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons.

Kings and queens, explorers and the differences between the rich and the poor in Tudor England are studied in Year 5. In Year 6 boys study life in Medieval England with unit topics covering the Black Death and the Peasants' Revolt.  Furthermore we look at the significance of the Magna Carta. 

Boys in the Years 7 - 8 follow a chronological course of study, beginning with the Battle of Hastings and and including Henry II and Becket and changes to the Church during the Tudor period. In Year 8 the boys study the Western Front in World War I, including cross-curriculum work on World War I poetry.  This includes a trip to the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme.  The boys then study British history from 1750 - 1900 including Empire and Industrial Revolution. 

At The Beacon we endeavour to introduce pupils to what is involved in understanding and interpreting the past; to trigger their spirit of enquiry; to capture pupils' attention and stimulate their imagination - to carry them off into the past, evoking interest and curiosity. Boys are fortunate, therefore, to experience many hands-on events and visits, for example annual Greek and Roman days in the school, a hands-on World War II day, a visit to St Albans Cathedral and a day of exploration at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

It goes without saying, of course, that the overwhelming aim of this Department is to impart upon each child a fascination for the past and enjoyment of the subject!

Stephen Winter
Head of History