Head of History
Mr Toby Batchelor joined Cranleigh Preparatory School in 2005 and has been Head of History since 2008. His passion for History developed as a direct result of the wonderful teaching he received as a young prep school boy. His own teachers were magnificent story tellers that really brought the subject to life and he endeavours to try to emulate these key influences of his own childhood.
History is both the past and the study of the past. The past influences all aspects of our lives. It shapes the customs and beliefs of the communities to which we belong. Learning about the past and the methods used to study it helps children to make sense of the world in which they live. This is why the provision of the subject is so important.
Throughout the study of History at Cranleigh Prep School, the pupils should get an overall view of chronology (when events happened). Topics are not studied in isolation but are viewed in relation to previous and future events, helping the pupils to see how one episode in humanity’s rich historical drama leads to the next. Therefore our curriculum is structured as follows:
Form 1 – Mesopotamians and Egyptians
Form 2 – Greeks and Romans
Form 3 – Anglo Saxons and Vikings
Form 4 – 1066 to 1327 (William the Conqueror to Edward III)
Form 5 – 1327 to 1603 (Edward III to James I)
Form 6 – 1603 – to 1837 (James I to Victoria)
(Most secondary schools then focus on 20th Century History in some form)
It is also important to ensure that children are encouraged to ask ‘why, when, what and who’. History should not be taken at face value (i.e., ‘this is what happened at the Battle of Hastings’), but pupils must learn to ask the ‘W’ questions to give them a richer understanding of what they are studying. ‘Fake news’ is not a new phenomenon and the History department also aims to provide children with the skills to identify fact from fiction, when studying past events.
However, whilst it is important that History introduces the key skills required to ensure progression in the subject, the most important aim of the department is to nurture a love of all things historical. History should be FUN. It is full of incredible stories about REAL people and this must not be forgotten.