In the History Department, we want our girls to be passionate about the past and to examine events, developments and the actions of individuals with a critical and enquiring mind. We foster the girls’ intellectual curiosity and they leave Mayfield with an excellent understanding of the past; the analytical, evaluative and debating skills they need to succeed in the future; and an awareness of the relevance of the events, individuals and societies that have shaped our world today.

We study a wide range of topics across different periods of history, from the Middle Ages to the modern world. Our popular GCSE course follows the Edexcel (9-1) specification and features a fascinating thematic course on the history of medicine, an in-depth exploration of German history post World War One, as well as more in-depth studies of Elizabethan England and the British involvement in colonial America. Lessons are taught in an engaging and interesting way to help bring these topics to life, but we also offer invaluable support and guidance to maximise the girls’ success in public examinations.

Following the OCR A Level course, the History Department offers a selection of topics covering the Cold War, the Wars of the Roses and modern Russian History. Lessons follow a ‘flipped learning’ format, where girls conduct much of their reading and note-taking in advance, to allow for a more productive and purposeful use of lesson time. This gives the girls greater opportunities to manage and direct their own learning, and also serves as excellent preparation for university. To support this, we make effective use of technology to promote the development of essay-writing skills and collaborative working. Lessons are taught by subject specialists in dedicated History classrooms with a full range of up to date resources. The Department has an excellent track record in examination results and over recent years has helped girls go on to read History (or joint honours) at a range of top Russell Group and Oxbridge universities.

The girls’ enthusiasm and curiosity about the past are inspired by a wide range of trips and visits.  In Lower School, girls participate in visits to Battle to explore the 1066 battlefield and the consequences of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, as well as a trip to Greenwich to develop their work on the transatlantic slave trade and British Empire. At the end of Year 9 girls have the fantastic opportunity to travel to the First World War battlefields and memorials on a residential trip to Belgium and France. GCSE students are able to explore their topics beyond the curriculum through workshops at the National Archives, where they get ‘hands-on’ with original Elizabethan documents, and Westminster Abbey. At A Level, girls in Year 12 engage more deeply with the Wars of the Roses unit with a day at the Tower of London. GCSE and A Level students also have the wonderful opportunity to visit key historical sites in Germany, including the Berlin Wall and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. The popular Sixth Form History Society meets fortnightly and, led by the students themselves, explores a wide and varied range of topics and issues, providing excellent preparation for university style seminars. Girls also have the opportunity to enter essay competitions and attend lectures by expert external speakers.

Head of Department

Mr David Warren

After reading history at the University of Warwick, Mr Warren taught History in an international school in Malaysia, before returning to the UK to complete his PGCE teaching qualification. After teaching across the age range at Tolworth Girls’ School, he joined Mayfield School in 2014 as Head of Department. He specialises in Modern European History and particularly enjoys Russian and German History. Outside the Department, Mr Warren helps to run the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and is also responsible for creating and delivering the Year 9 Innovate programme which focuses on engaging our girls with the exciting world of technology, and preparing them for the world of work.