The History Department at Repton School exists to teach historical perspective, contemporary understanding and judgement. In G.R. Elton’s view, a historical education should produce “balanced people used to working on practical problems” and this encapsulates the essence of what the Department aims to achieve. History is therefore, central to the values of a liberal education and to the school’s aim of producing fulfilled individuals and responsible citizens.
The Department is based in the Furneaux School and comprises a strong team of specialists who have varying, but complementary areas of historical expertise. We seek to inspire a love of history and to foster pleasure in intellectual enquiry. The pupils’ development and their eventual examination results are at the forefront of our minds as the Department discusses and reflects upon its practices, but we seek also to avoid a formulaic approach to the subject which exam specifications can promote. To achieve this the Department fosters a vibrant extra-curricular profile, through the Marriott Society and numerous educational visits. These include a Sixth Form visit to America and a junior school visit to the trenches of Northern France and Belgium, which are each run during the Michaelmas half-term in alternate years.
The current A level course has a focus on American history, but whatever we teach has to have a genuine intellectual coherence and integrity. If the majority of pupils who pass through our hands are given the opportunity to perceive and appreciate the value of a historical education, even if their enthusiasms and interests then take them elsewhere, the purpose of the Department is served.