Whitgift School
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History & Politics

All boys study History until the end of the Upper Third. Normally about 130 boys opt to take History to GCSE, and around 70 boys study History or Politics in each year of the Sixth Form. The Department has six full-time teachers and seven part-time teachers.


The History and Politics Department aims to enthuse and challenge the boys at all ages, and to foster a love for the subject. Through a process of investigation, study and questioning, the boys will be able to work independently, and to argue cogently and in a well-informed manner. Their powers of verbal and written expression will be developed and they will have a fuller understanding of the past, and our place in society and the world today. This is all coupled with a constant aspiration for academic excellence and preparation for public examinations, university courses and the world of work.


In the Lower School, the Department broadly follows the National Curriculum. We study the Ancient Greeks and Romans, the Middle Ages, Tudor and Stuart England, and the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, followed by the First and Second World Wars and the Inter War years. At GCSE, we follow the Edexcel History A syllabus, which has four units: International Relations 1943-91; Germany 1919-39; the USA 1945-1970; and the United Kingdom 1970-90. At A Level, we study Russia 1881-1953, The Development of Parliamentary Democracy in Britain 1800-1900, International relations 1871-1941, and Germany 1800-1900. We also offer and encourage the IB History course.

Special Achievements

In 2011, the A* to C rates at GCSE History, A2 Level History and Politics, were all 100%.  At IB, 100% of the boys achieved a 6 or 7.


In the Lower First, the boys visit the Ancient Roman sites at St Alban’s. The Upper First visit the Tower of London, and, in the Lower Third, Hampton Court. In the Upper Third, there is a three-day visit to the sites of the First World War in France and Belgium. In the Fifth Form, Berlin is visited for a week, whilst the Sixth Form visit New York and Washington. In addition, there are trips to the Houses of Parliament and the UK Supreme Court.

University Successes

The Department has a long tradition of Oxbridge success. Many boys also go on to read History, Politics, or related degree subjects, at Russell Group universities

Visiting Speakers and the History Society

The Department invites academics, politicians and those studying History or Politics at university, to talk to the boys. In addition, there is a thriving History Society that encourages the boys to make presentations, runs a University Challenge style annual competition, has teaching staff giving presentations, and works to foster a love for both History and Politics. The Department also runs a Model United Nations programme, allowing the boys to think and debate about current world issues.

  • History & Politics Trip to the USA