The goal of geography is nothing less than to create an understanding of the vast interacting system comprising all humanity and its natural environment on the surface of the Earth.
The boys study a period of history that stretches from the Ancient Egyptians right up to World War I with all the key events in between covered at some point.
Geography should aim to encourage and underpin a lifelong conversation about Earth as the home of humankind. We seek out for boys to understand how physical and human phenomena are arranged and related. This makes geography distinctive, as a curriculum subject that bridges the sciences and the humanities.
In describing and seeking explanations for the interaction of people with their varied environments, geography has a particular interest in spatial distributions, movements, patterns and in the way places are made.
Our boys are encouraged to explore the subject outside the classroom and therefore an annual Geography Week is organised where the boys participate in many trips, recent examples include:
Workshops are also organised at school to enhance learning on many current topics
In Year 8 the boys undertake a 3 day fieldwork trip on the south coast as part of their Common Entrance requirements. This residential trip in which pupils are required to complete fieldwork appropriate for submission as part of their coursework for the Common Entrance Examination.
In addition voluntary Geography fieldwork trips have been organized, for example the bi-annual trip to Iceland for boys in Years 7 and 8
History is a popular and vibrant subject at St John’s - the very nature of the subject makes it incredibly appealing to boys. After all, what other subject allows them to study battles, weapons, tactics as well as ancient civilisations, ranging from the Aztecs to the Romans?
The boys study a period of History that stretches from the Ancient Egyptians right up to World War I with all the key events in between covered at some point.
A traditional prep school education has always focussed on the narrative side of History, and this is the basis from which we start. The boys are excited by the strange tales of the past before moving onto learning the key skills of analysis and conclusion building.
Several methods are used to imbue the boys with a love for History, ranging from teacher led discussion, role-play, battle re-enactments but with a particular emphasis on evidence and source analysis from an early stage. The boys also engage in debates, pitting one side of history against another to allow them to empathise with the men and women who made decisions in the past.
Recently, much has been made of the need to provide children with a chronological framework within which they can place their historical knowledge. At St John’s, the boys approach their Common Entrance exams with a clear chronological framework in mind, having begun their course of study in Year 7 with the Battle of Hastings in 1066, before moving through British history and ending up on the eve of the Stuart Period at the end of Year 8. Preparation for both Common Entrance and Scholarship examinations begins in Year 7 through development of both factual essay writing and source work investigation, building analytical skills with emphasis on the provenance of evidence.
Much of the History curriculum is backed up by trips. These allow the boys to visualise and often lay their hands on the history that they have been studying in class. Recent examples include an overnight trip to a Viking Village where boys sleep in an authentic hut, work with Viking tools and eat Viking food as well as a 4 day trip to the battlefields of World War I in Belgium and France