The History syllabus aims to teach children about past events in a factual way, but also to develop vital intellectual skills which can be applied in a wider context. Source analysis and essay writing allow children to develop analytical and literacy skills which will be useful throughout their lives. We see the study of history as a means of understanding the world in which we live now by learning about how and why it has come about.
History is, above all, the study of human behaviour, and children learn about themselves and their society in a uniquely meaningful way. We pride ourselves on being able to make past events relevant to our pupils by comparing them to events that they are familiar with. We are fortunate to have access to technological resources which help to bring history alive. The children are no longer reliant on only textbooks; with the huge array of material available over the internet there is a wealth of information to support their learning. However, at the core of History are the 'traditional' skills of observation, analysis and explanation.
History in Year 4 is taught through a Creative Curriculum, in which links between the skills and content of different subjects are emphasised. The children study local history, the history of our school, Roman Britain, the Home Front, the Victorians, and African and Mayan civilisations.
Once the children enter Middle School (Year 5 and 6), they embark on a history syllabus which, unusually for a prep school, covers British history in a chronologically uninterrupted way from the fifth century A.D. until the start of the 20th century. This is one of the great strengths of history at the Dragon as it allows the children to gain a truly comprehensive and meaningful understanding of the subject in its fullest sense.
In Year 5 pupils study Anglo-Saxon England starting with the Roman withdrawal, moving onto the Vikings and then the Norman invasion. Much of the year is spent on Medieval Realms and topics include the feudal system, the Magna Carta, the Black Death, the Peasants’ Revolt, village and town life and the Crusades. The children will complete a project on Castles.
In Year 6 pupils start with the Battle of Bosworth and the establishment of the Tudor dynasty. They study all the Tudor monarchs, with particular attention paid to the Reformation, the Elizabethan Settlement and the Armada. They also complete a Tudor project. We then move onto the Stuarts and spend some time on the Civil War and Restoration and look at the start of the Georgian period.
Year 7 pupils study the Seven Years' War leading onto the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and the British Empire and its legacy. The complete a project on Victorian Life.
In Year 8, the Common Entrance syllabus, British History 1750-1900, includes the Napoleonic Wars, the Industrial Revolution, political and social reform, and the British Empire. Scholars embark on a syllabus which hones their source skills and requires them to tackle more abstract topics such as 'Is history only written by the winners?', and whether there are universal causes of war.