Our experienced History, Geography and RS Teachers arouse a real curiosity and thirst for knowledge for their subject areas amongst the children. Independent and analytical thinking are strongly encouraged. Visiting historical and geographical places of interest are seen as an essential part of the curriculum.
In Geography at Terra Nova we investigate the world around us and the people who live in it, taking advantage of our wonderful grounds for fieldwork and practical investigations.
We provide fun, exciting and inspiring lessons so pupils can achieve their full potential in an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and success.
We go on many trips to explore topics, take part in nteractive tasks that bring topics to life, and teach our pupils to develop lateral thinking skills by problem solving and debate at scholarship sessions. This prpsuces excellent results, where our pupils beat their own targets.
Prep school History lessons are fun occasions where subject specialists tell stories. Although pupils at Terra Nova study the historical skills of critical thinking, evaluating sources, knowing the past can be interpreted in different ways, propaganda, bias etc., it is the stories told passionately by a specialist that allows the anecdotal, and indeed passionate, storytelling style, and that makes the room come alive.
Bringing History to life
The suicidal madman that was Taillefer at Hastings, the Blind King of Bohemia at Crecy, how Rorke’s Drift was defended – when children hear these tales of heroism, tragedy, valour and injustice, they no longer feel as though they are learning an academic subject ; they are part of a story. Stories they will no doubt recite from the backseats of cars on the way home. What fun!
Terra Nova’s independence from the National Curriculum and subject specialists for Year 5 – 8 is celebrated and capitalised on. Our current history teachings:
In Years 3 – 4 class teachers cover the ancient civilisations and past non-European societies as well as key events and people in British and world history, which gives the children an early and vital sense of chronology.
In Year 5 we start at the road to Hastings; the battle itself and its consequences. Each Norman, Plantagenet, Yorkist and Lancastrian monarchy is studied in chronological order so familial patterns of behaviour explain many of the extraordinary decisions and actions of the medieval realms.
During Year 6 we pick up from 1485 and Bosworth. This year group at Terra Nova is lucky enough to learn about the exciting, dynamic and bloody Tudor monarchies as well as the disastrous Stuarts. We will stop at 1714 when the Germans from Hanover take the reins.
Year 7 pupils learn about 1714 – Twentieth Century. Mad King George, the loss of America, Nelson, Napoleon, Waterloo, Dickens, Brunel, railways, factories, Rorke’s Drift, George VI’s speech impediment and the dramatic Twentieth Century are just some highlights in terms of interesting stories the children will be told. There is a greater concentration in Year 7 on translating knowledge using extended prose writing and evaluating sources.
In Year 8, many Terra Nova pupils become Common Entrance candidates, and all Year 8 pupils will be trained for Common Entrance exams. This includes the study of four wars between the English/British and the French between 1066 and 1815: the Norman Conquest, the Hundred Years’ War, the Seven Years’ War in North America and the Napoleonic Wars. The syllabus will equally include sources’ evaluation. Scholars cover all the monarchies from 1066 to 1901 stopping off to write essays at certain points. They will practise past Townsend Warner papers and do lots of work with sources.
Of course we want the children to perform successfully in their Common Entrance History paper. And they will. However, the department will really have succeeded if the children leaving Terra Nova cannot wait to resume History’s acquaintance at their next school, for more unforgettable stories about amazing people and events from the past.
Andrew Livermore, Head of History, Sept 2012
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