• LRGS History trip to Peace Wall in Palestine
  • LRGS History trip to Peace Wall in Belfast
  • LRGS History re-enactment of Battle of Hastings


History News

After a trip to Israel and the West Bank, LRGS teacher Michael Davies writes about changing the way students learn about the history of the conflict - see full story in The Guardian.

History Department Wins Teaching Award - see full news story.

History at LRGS

Satisfying our curiosity for the past is a basic human need. Research of the past forms the basis of our understanding of the present and the human condition. 

At LRGS history is an exciting and dynamic subject where students and staff explore many aspects of the past from around 1000 AD through to recent events.  We place great emphasis upon the human story and delve into the art, culture, and traditions as well as the economic, religious, political and military background of a period.  We strive for academic excellence and believe that wide reading and active and collaborative learning are the best way for boys to achieve a real historical understanding.  Consequently students and staff spend considerable time outside the classroom on a wide range of research activities both in the UK and abroad. The history department offers a rich diet of extra curricular activities and opportunities, some of which are jointly run jointly by boys and staff.

Staff Profiles

H J Castle  BA, St Chad’s College, Durham (Head of Department)
Hugh Castle has been head of department since 2001 and has taught History at LRGS since 1991. Particular interests include Anglo-Irish History, C17th British History and the Middle East. He is a keen proponent of field study and exploring history where it happened and leads many of the department’s trips. He is active in the Lancaster-based “Documenting Dissent” project, supporting boys in their research and in the Prince's Teaching Institute and is a strong supporter of the arts. Other interests include travelling and song-writing.

C W Atkinson BA History & Education, Lancaster University
Craig Atkinson retrained as a History teacher in 2004 and arrived at LRGS in 2008.  As well as a passion for history in general, but ancient history in particular, he also has an interest in politics and enjoys running discussion groups for Year 10 and sixth form students as part of the RES Programme.  He is House Master of Ashton House and is heavily involved with sport, with his main emphasis on cricket, where he coaches the U13 team and provides specialist coaching to the 1st XI.  His proudest achievement as a coach is in taking the LRGS 1st XI to the final of the Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools Tournament in Barbados. His most disappointing moment was losing a close final.

Robert Peel would receive his vote as Prime Minister and Julius Caesar would captain his historical cricket team.

M E Davies  MA Oxon (Christ Church)
Michael joined the department in 2000 after a twenty year career in business, half of which was spent in the USA. He teaches History across the School and has a particular interest in the Middle East. The History Department beIieves strongly in the importance of students visiting the places we study and he has led school visits  to Paris, Berlin, Dublin and Belfast, and most recently to Israel and Palestine. In 2015 was awarded a prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to research the way that schools in Israel, Jordan and Palestine teach their own history.

He also runs the schools Gifted and Talented programme with a particular emphasis on preparation of the sixth form students who apply for places at Oxford, Cambridge and other top universities in the UK and USA.

J Reynolds  BA History and Politics, Newcastle, MA in Education, Cumbria 
Jamie Reynolds is a combined Politics/History graduate of Newcastle University and his particular interests lie in the interaction between Politics and History and how political theory has been applied in History. His particular interests range depending on his mood but currently this appears to be elements of the 19th century and more recently the importance of economics in history, particularly the dominance of capital. He is involved in a number of other areas than the History Department such as coordinating the Extended Project Qualification and running the 1st XVI football. 

Email History Department staff

History - 11+

11+ Curriculum

We follow the national curriculum in Years 7 to 9. Boys and staff explore many aspects of British and world history and combine studies in depth with broad overview studies. Learning and teaching methods are lively and promote independent study skills. The following is the briefest of summaries of subject content. For more detail see department on-line resources.

Year 7: Medieval world C11th to C15th
Inquiry into the impact of the Norman Conquest: Religious, political, social, economic as well as cultural development impact. Castles and warfare. Islam

Annual re-run history in the Battle of Hastings re-enactment.

Year 8: C15th to late C17th

European Reformation, Renaissance and Voyages of exploration and discovery and the Portuguese and Spanish empires. In British History we start with the late Wars of the Roses and we explore the Tudors and the Stuarts. The English Reformation, Spanish Armada, British Civil Wars and Commonwealth all afford opportunities for in depth study and independent project work.

11+Extra-curricular Projects
In addition to our busy schedule of residential field visits (see below) History Society: visiting speakers, boys and staff contribute to this lively group which meets regularly for lectures, discussions and debates on subjects of historical interest. Occasional theatre visits and films. History through Art projects, and the Junior Arts Festival often driven by historical themes.

History - 13+

13+ Curriculum

Year 9: C18th to C20th

In Year 9 we delve into the foundations of the modern world. We take broad themes eg explaining demographic change, development in warfare over a period of a thousand years as well as in depth studies including the impact revolutions, inventions and the changing political landscape of the period. Independent study in depth analyses the impact of individuals in shaping the period.

Year 10 & 11: Edexcel Certificate in History (Advanced) Modern World

We follow the modern world syllabus in which we explore-amongst other things, the origins and course of the First World War, Weimar and Nazi Germany to 1945, the Middle East and the Cold War. For specific details see the VLE. The course is examined by two exams at the end of year 11.
Field work: each year-Flanders and the Somme and sometimes Nuremburg and Berlin as well.

13+ Extra-curricular Projects

In addition to our busy schedule of residential field visits, visiting speakers, boys and staff contribute to the History Society, which meets regularly for lectures, discussions and debates on subjects of historical interest. Other projects include occasional theatre visits, films, the History through Art project and “Documenting Dissent”, a project that helps students investigate a theme of their choice using primary and archive resources in a supported environment. Professor Martin Alexander (OL) is leading an exciting Oral History project for L6th and U6th boys and heading the development of the school archives with the assistance of members of the History Society.

History - Sixth Form

L6th and U6th ... Why study History? 

Understanding the different interpretations of the past is a basic human need and is essential to our grasp of the present. Studying History at LRGS is an exciting and dynamic option where lessons are lively, the learning active and the diet of activities on offer rich. Outstanding A-level results and careful preparation for university are particular strengths of the History Department.

Our curriculum in the Sixth Form is designed to equip students with the breadth of skills, confidence and experience to thrive when studying history at the top universities. 

Lower Sixth (Field work: Paris/Versailles) 
British History 1625-1701 (30%) 
The Origins and Course of the French Revolution 1774 to 1799 (20%) 

A2/Upper Sixth (Field work: Dublin, Boyne Valley and Belfast) 
Anglo-Irish Relations (1774-1923) (30%) 
Coursework: Independently researched enquiry: (20%) 

In the Sixth Form you will research in more depth and engage in more sophisticated debate and discussion, developing your own lines of inquiry. This will include examination of the credibility of historical arguments as well as sources. Independent study as well as group work and debate form an integral feature of the course. Students are expected to read around the subject so that they can contribute meaningfully to discussion. 

Subject matter studied is different to that studied at KS4 because we believe that it is in the interest of the students to have breadth. The topics for study (listed above) were chosen for their historical importance and for the level of debate amongst historians that they have inspired. The course combines several areas of focus and types of inquiry: world-changing events (revolutions), the study of inspirational individuals that moulded history and a broad analysis of the often troubled state of relations within the Union and Empire. 

Much of history is uncertain and the nature of evidence makes it the subject of review and reappraisal. As historians, we aim to fill the gaps between established historical fact and an understanding of what drove people to act. We hope to understand the forces that shaped ideas and beliefs. This historical imagination – fused with facts and reason - will lead the good student to develop a sense of where we have come from and an understanding of our own society and other societies. It will also enable him to consider different points of view in a critical way. These are valuable skills in their own right, but also highly sought after by employers across a wide range of occupations - in law, journalism, politics and broadcasting. The most commonly held first degree for Chairmen of the Fortune 500 Companies is History. 

We want our boys to engage in historical research and debate and to explore their own interests. One excellent student-led vehicle for this is the thriving History Society. In addition, visiting speakers to lessons, afterschool and lunchtime events are frequent and we steer students towards essay competitions, public speaking and community research projects such as www.documentingdissent.org.uk. We guide students through the application process and run sessions for those applying for the HAT test through the Lower Sixth and Autumn of U6th. University uptake of those studying history at LRGS is high.

Both L6th and U6th history courses are accompanied by non-compulsory field work exploring themes related subject study areas. Our “Conflicted memories of Conflict” tour of Ireland runs every year through Remembrance weekend and our “In Search of the Revolution” study visit to Versailles and Paris in Lower Sixth. 

Much of what we do outside the classroom goes beyond the curriculum as we seek to prepare boys for study beyond A-level.  For example in January 2014 we led boys on a groundbreaking visit to Israel and Palestine staying in Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus exploring Israeli and Palestinian views on the crisis. Our meetings with activists, settlers, refugees and politicians - not to mention Israeli security forces - were truly eye-opening experiences for the 24 that travelled.  

During this the centenary of 1914 we explored the reaction to the War at LRGS and within the local community and attended and staged various events based on our findings including a very successful arts festival centred in the cells and Shire Hall of Lancaster Castle 

We expect you to have chosen History because you like it and we will expect you to work to the best of your abilities. This means that you will enjoy reading and that you will want to play a full and active role in lessons and department activities. You should see the History Society as an important opportunity in your development and perhaps you may wish to deliver a talk, participate in a debate or present a film.

History is a popular and highly-regarded option at LRGS, with a track record of outstanding success in public examinations. The approach of the modern historian has as much in common with Maths and the Sciences as it does with Classics and arts subjects and increasingly, students looking for an ‘A-List’ fourth A-level when applying for Sciences, Medicine or Maths are turning to History because of the skills of analysis and expression that studying History promotes. 

We follow the Edexcel exam board.

Exam timings 
A-level exams are in the second year of study. L6th examination is by internal assessment. Coursework is submitted by Easter of the U6th.