KES boys are justifiably curious about their place in the world and how history has shaped the present. The study of history is vital to anyone with a desire to understand current trends in politics, economics and society in general.

History is thriving at King Edward’s School. In Year 7, boys learn about the history of the School and the experiences of Old Edwardians in the First World War as well as Birmingham’s role in the Industrial Revolution and the Slave Trade. In a wider setting, the forces unleashed by the Italian Renaissance and the English Reformation are studied in Year 8. In Year 9, boys study the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars as well as a topic from the IGCSE course.

The IGCSE course provides a global perspective that boys will find particularly useful as well as fascinating and challenging and is ideal preparation for the IB history course. Topics include the development of dictatorship in Germany, 1918-1945; the Cold War, 1943-1972; the USA, 1917-1941; and China, 1900-1989.

  • Sixth Form

    History is offered at both Standard and Higher Level as part of the IB Diploma. The Standard Level course provides further exploration of the Cold War, as well as a source based enquiry into the move to global war, looking closely at the foreign policies of Japan, Italy and Germany in the 1930s. The remainder of the course is devoted to a thematic study of 20th century single party states and authoritarian regimes, such as Stalin’s Russia and Castro’s Cuba.

    The Higher Level course comprises medieval, early modern and modern history ranging from military leaders Richard the Lionheart and Genghis Khan in the 12th and 13th centuries, to Portuguese and Spanish exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries, to late tsarist Russia and the 1917 Revolution. The Cold War and single party states in the 20th century are also studied. Pupils at both Levels also undertake an independent assignment on a historical topic, event or personality of their choice.

  • Field trips

    Field trips are run to the Black Country Museum, Kenilworth Castle, the Bosworth battlefield site and the National Cold War Museum. There are also visits to the battlefields of the First World War in France and Belgium and to cities of historic interest, such as Berlin, Istanbul and St Petersburg.

  • Societies

    The History Society is run by pupils in the Sixth Form. It organises lectures from guest speakers and allows boys to present to their peers about research they have undertaken for their Extended Essay, or any other historical topics they are interested in. The Society also supports boys who wish to read History at Oxford and Cambridge.

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