A Level students take part in Pioneering History Conference


King's School's A Level historians took part in a pioneering educational initiative when they joined an online lecture series on the War of the Roses.  

The Richard III Society had gathered nine of Britain's leading authorities on the Medieval age to give lectures on the fight for the Hollow Crown. Students from 26 schools nationwide and one university shared the experience listening to world famous lecturers, including the legendary Dr John Watts from Corpus Christi, Oxford and leading revisionist Dr Rachel Moss.

The day-long event was designed to give students a taste of university life and a broader based knowledge of the subject than the standard curriculum can provide.  

King's Head of History Lianne Hughes said: "Each speaker focused on a different individual from the Wars of the Roses and showed students how our understanding of those people had been built up from the primary source material, and how far we can be confident in our assessments of them."

Lianne added: "Fundamentally, these topics are built on superb stories. Richard III is notorious as the evil, child-killer; Henry VI inherits the throne as a nine-month old baby, and is arguably one of the least effective kings the country has ever seen. He is then usurped by Edward IV who, one historian refers to as the 'James Bond of Kings'. Another historian, Dan Jones, claims Edward IV married 'a chav' by choosing Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner, for his bride over a beneficial foreign match.”

"Finally the Battle of Towton is still the bloodiest day in English military history with 28,000 killed in just 10 hours. These stories are the crucial hooks for students and also provide scope to evaluate the myth and reality of these individuals and events."

"It also provides a contrast to the heavy 20th century focus at GCSE, ensuring our students have a well-rounded appreciation of history, which can reinvigorate their passion for history and provide them with a broader knowledge base for interviews at competitive universities."

A Level Historian Rory McCabe, who wants to read History and Politics at university said: "It's tough to make a comparison between today's system and the War of the Roses because the struggle was about who controls the crown and we are a democracy, but you can see how the thirst for power is key both then and now."

Student Jussi Peter-Hill, another who wants to read history at university added: "History enables you to draw comparisons between historical events and what is happening today. Just look at America and how Trump wanted to cling on to power and become a dictator much like a Roman emperor or how Putin is increasingly resembling Hitler and his desire to dominate territory. There are always lessons to be drawn from history."