The History department looks for more than simply success in exams, and in a much broader sense aims to teach Tonbridgians to be enquiring and well-informed young men, able to question and understand the world around them.
An excellent History library and collective teaching expertise that covers most periods of modern and medieval history ensures that during their time at the school boys study a wide range of topics as well as learning skills of writing and analysis that will be useful whatever they go on to study at university.
The examined curriculum is only ever a starting point for the boys, and across the age range boys attend History talks put on by boys, teachers and external speakers - for example, internationally famous Crusader historian, Professor Jonathan Phillips.
There are also opportunities for extended writing and independent research at all levels. During the IGCSE course we spend time teaching outside the syllabus and allow boys to research independent projects on any aspect of World War Two that interests them. In the sixth form many of the boys write extended projects, many of which are entered for Oxbridge essay competitions. In the last few years several boys have been commended for entries for the prestigious Vellacott and Julia Wood History prizes with topics as diverse as the Court of Henry VIII, Population Growth in early Modern Europe, the Korean War and the British Empire in India.
In addition to this, all boys studying History in the sixth-form now take an extra non-examined course written by the department that runs through the two years. This covers the broad sweep of World History from 50,000 BC to the present day, so that boys can start to make links between the various different topics they study in depth during their time in the school.
Each year over two-thirds of the boys choose History at GCSE, and it is one of the most popular subjects in the sixth form and as a university choice for Tonbridgians. In recent times on average four boys a year have been offered places to read History at Oxford or Cambridge, with many others going on to read History or related subjects at other top universities.