Despite several exam boards shying away from the Israel-Palestine conflict, the subject is still on the agenda at LRGS. The Guardian featured an article on this recently with input from Mr Davies and Mr Castle.
This article was a follow up piece after an earlier feature in The Guardian after a trip to Israel and the West Bank with teacher Mr Michael Davies. Mr Davies has produced an informative TouchCast where you can learn more about the conflicted histories of the Jews and the Arabs during 1914 to the mid1920s and then take a survey to test your knowledge.
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.
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 finishing teaching practice here in1991. He is a proponent of "Applied History" and sees the study of History as essential to any understanding of the modern world. He advocates field study and active learning and leads many of the department’s trips. Particular areas of interest include Anglo-Irish relations, C17th British History and the History of the Middle East. He leads the "Parallel Histories" program in schools, is active in the Lancaster-based “Documenting Dissent” project supporting students in local research and is involved in the Prince's Teaching Institute. He is a "Teacher Governor" at LRGS, a member of the "Well Being" Committee and is a strong supporter of the arts. Other interests include reading, song-writing and travel and an inexplicable fascination for Leeds United.
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.
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.
M E Davies MA Oxon (Christ Church) History Advisor
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 he 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 has also been working on a project called Parallel Histories studying the history behind the conflict between Israel and Palastine. The project encourages schools to teach controversial, challenging historical topics.
Mr Davies retired in July 2018 but continues his work with the department as an Advisor.
History - 11+ Curriculum
We have revised our KS3 scheme of work in light of changes at KS4 (now 50% British history) to ensure that students get a broad perspective. We explore the period 400 AD to recent events taking an investigative approach that ensures that we learn about the past from different, sometimes conflicting perspectives. When using text books we use the SHP “Making sense of History” series as a basic text.
Threads running across Y7 to Y9 include:
Who are the British? Exploration of immigration and emigration.
Rulers and ruled: Perspectives of the past.
Local and national picture; Does Lancaster’s story mirror the bigger picture?
Are ideas powerful? Pagans and Christians, Reformation and Counter Reformation, The Enlightenment, Nationalism, Fascism, Communism, Welfare State.
Our place in the world. How far was Britain part of Europe? Different perceptions of Empire.
Projects: Y7 - Crusaders or Invaders? Y9 - Is it ever ok to target civilians?
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.
What will I learn?
This is a new specification reflecting the Government’s increased focus on British History:
British Thematic study: Warfare and British society (c1250 to present) (20% weighting)
Historic Environment: London and the Second World War 1939-45. (10% weighting)
British depth study: The reigns of King Richard I and King John, 1189-1216 (20%)
Modern Depth study: Weimar and Nazi Germany (1918-39) (30% weighting)
Period study: The Middle East 1945-95 (20% weighting)
We offer varied opportunities outside the classroom via the History Society (debates/talks etc) as well as exciting trips to France/Belgium for Medieval, WW1 and WW2 sites. In recent years we have also offered a field trip to Berlin/Nuremburg and when the local situation has allowed we run a trip to Israel/Palestine that is open to Year 10 and 11 boys. 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
A-level History is an exciting and dynamic option. In a supportive environment we aim to stretch all our students according to their ability so that they develop the skills they will need after leaving LRGS. Through a rich diet of experiences both in and outside the classroom, students gain an appreciation of the importance of the past and its’ value in a fast changing world.
Lower Sixth: We avoid revisiting ground covered at GCSE and instead broaden our students’ understanding of how the modern age was shaped through the investigation of “Revolutions” and their consequences. These events shaped the Modern Age.
- British History 1625-1701 (30%)
- The Origins and Course of the French Revolution 1774 to 1799 (20%)
Upper Sixth: Students explore a controversy of choice alongside their class study of Anglo-Irish relations.
Anglo-Irish Relations (1774-1923) (30%)
Coursework: Research an historical controversy of choice (historiography) (20%)
Field work: “Contested memories of conflict” Dublin, Boyne Valley and Belfast
Every year LRGS students apply for and go on to thrive studying History at the top universities (including Oxbridge) and we provide tuition to help them in this process. Many study History at A-level for the skills the study of History promotes- highly sought after by employers across a wide range of occupations; law, journalism, politics and broadcasting. The most commonly held first degree for Chairmen of the Fortune 500 Companies is History.
Outstanding A-level results and careful preparation for university are particular strengths of the History Department.
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.
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. 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.
We follow the Edexcel exam board.
A-level exams are in the second year of study. L6th examination is by internal assessment. Coursework is submitted by Easter of the U6th.
Sixth Form pupil Max Tse said: “I have found the History Society a really interesting way of exploring my interests, but the highlight for me this term as part of an LRGS Oral History project was interviewing a WW2 veteran, who was amongst the first to enter Belsen concentration camp.”