History and Classics

History Department. At the European Council of Europe they said that 'Historical awareness should be an essential part of the education of all young people', and we at Ellesmere thoroughly support this view. The study of History is essential for an understanding of the world around us and the issues we face today.

Here at Ellesmere our History courses are designed to be fun and interesting whilst at the same time academically rigorous and intellectually challenging. We believe that it is important for pupils to develop confidence with ideas; therefore a key focus of all lessons is on discussion and critical exploration of the different interpretations of history. Another equally important aim of all lessons is to help pupils develop the ability to communicate their ideas effectively and eloquently in a variety of styles.

In the Lower School Key Stage 2 class teachers teach History to Years 3-6 and include topics such as the Egyptians, Victorians and Life in Britain during World War II. In Year 7 and 8 pupils study a broadly chronological syllabus that covers the period of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 up to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In Year 9 the focus moves towards international 20th Century history with a detailed study of the rise of the USA and Russia as superpowers from 1900. To complete the year, we look at the causes, practices and effects of the First World War in preparation for commencing study of the OCR Modern World History GCSE course in Year 10 and 11. For 16 year olds, the department offers both an A Level course which includes study of modern and 16th Century British and European history and an IB course which is a 20th Century international course. In both courses, the focus very much remains on anal;ysis and enquiry.

The History department is vibrant and lively and is constantly seeking to bring history to life. We have annual tours to the World War One and Two battlefields which remains one of the most popular college trips as well as our annual Year 7 trip to Beaumaris and Caernavon castles. Study at GCSE and sixth form is also supplemented with lecture trips and seminar study days. As a department we are fully committed to further enrichment of historical study and take part in a number of prestigious events and competitions, notably the Historical Association's annual debates and lectures and Oxford and Cambridge essay writing competitions for aspirational pupils. We believe that we truly offer a keen historian every opportunity to further enhance their enjoyment and understanding of the subject and prepare all pupils for life after education.

Classics at Ellesmere is part of the History department. It is small but perfectly formed and through the link with History, it remains a subject with a real presence. At Ellesmere, all pupils are expected to study Classics from Year 7. A recent innovation in the department is the addition of a classical civilisation course for pupils in Year 8 who no longer wish to continue their linguistic studies but still retain an interest in the history, myths and literature of the ancient world. Latin is however, still offered through to year 9 and beyond to GCSE and A Level. Ancient Greek GCSE is also offered as an enrichment subject for thoses pupils who are committed to furthering their Classical studies.

As a department we offer all pupils many enrichment opportunities and run a number of trips to various sites of classical interest such as Bath and Wroxeter. The department is also keen to take theatre trips, most recently the triennial play at Oxford which was a performance in the original Greek of Aeschylus's Choephoroi. Classicists also have the opportunity to take part in a variety of competitions such as the annual Medusa quiz, the Golden Sponge Stick story writing competition and the Jowett Sendlar essay competition. We have had notable successes in these competitions and they are a valuable contribution to the academic life of the college.