We believe that it is essential that students understand the broad structural forces behind historical change, but there must also be a strong human element to the subject. Students should be able to explore complexities of ideas and attitudes and of individual choice and action, to see historical actors as human beings not just products of structural or material factors. They should understand different perspectives not just of the rich and famous but also of the poor and obscure.
Once armed with the right critical tools students should be able to ask the questions to help them to make sensible judgements about the validity and authenticity of the differing perspectives on the past. They need to have an understanding of how history is constructed and communicated and to recognise that history itself can be harnessed and misused. The real challenge is to combine this understanding and these skills with an approach which maintains the student’s curiosity, imagination and engagement. The large numbers of students opting for GCSE and A level and the consistent high level of performance in national exams is testament to our innovative and effective methodology. Our varied approach to teaching and learning and our passion for the subject helps to extend the more able and to support those who need extra help.
Enrichment in the History Department
Presenting opportunities for students to see the wider function of history is important to us. We take part in national competitions and have won the Historical Association's Young Historian's Project and the Historical Fiction competition in past years. We run a weekly History Club: which covers anything from tracing family history, to aircraft model making and our lunchtime History Film Club helps to develop students aware of the advantages and pitfalls of this genre.
We stage an annual whole school Historical Food Fayre and have re-enacted the Spanish Armada with the whole of Year 8. We were awarded £12,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1000 from the Historical Association to fund an oral history intergeneration project.
In partnership with the Airport Visitor Centre and the Bourne Society (the largest local history society in England) we produced a film about the significance of Croydon Airport. LINK TO THE FILM HERE
Following on from this we continued with other public history projects. The John Fisher School hit the airwaves with the broadcast of 'Memories of Our School' on Ridge Radio. This Local History Project embarked on a mission to interview past and present members of our school - both pupils and staff. LINK TO THE RADIO PROGRAMME HERE. The radio programme has also featured in the RNIB Sutton Talking Newspapers audio magazine: The Clarion.
In addition, the History Department runs two debating clubs in Year 10 and Yrs 12/13 and we participate in several national competitions such as those run by the UNA and the Rotary Club. We also organise public speaking training for our Yr 10 students; taking part in the national Jack Petchey “Speak Out Challenge.” PICTURE HERE
Each year our Yr 11, 12 and 13 students enter the Mock Trial Competition run by the Citizenship Foundation PICTURE HERE where students take on the roles of barristers, witnesses, clerk, usher and jury in competition against other state schools and in front of a real judge in a London court.
We regularly attend Historical Association talks in Guildford and Beckenham PICTURE HERE covering a wide range of topics not covered in the curriculum. We consistently challenge and question national myths and perceived ideas about our heritage and identity, for example, we use assemblies to vote on the abolition of monarchy and the wearing of a red or white poppy.
We visit local sites such as Chaldon Church and Morden Mosque, in addition to other national and international sites - such as Canterbury Cathedral, the First World War Battlefields FILM HERE, Auschwitz and Berlin PICTURE HERE.