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 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 Dover Castle and Michelham Priory. In Year 9 they have the fantastic opportunity to travel to the First World War battlefields and memorials on a five day residential trip to Belgium and France. GCSE students are able to explore their topics beyond the curriculum through workshops at Hampton Court Palace, whilst girls in Year 12 engage with original historical documents on an archive day at the Tower of London and London Metropolitan University. Year 13 students attend an academic conference on their Russia topic, both to consolidate their understanding and to expose them to university-style teaching. GCSE and A Level students also have the wonderful opportunity to visit key historical sites in Germany and Krakow, including the Berlin Wall and Auschwitz. A well-subscribed History Club runs for girls in Lower School and helps them to engage with the topic in exciting and dynamic ways including battle re-enactments, film-making and delivering whole-school assemblies. 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.