History blossoms in the Senior School; as a discipline it begins to realise its unrivalled ability to make sense of the world


The Cambridge Pre-U makes the most of the subject in the Senior School. We are able to offer a choice of starting points so that students can study the areas of history they prefer. This choice is between modern history, from the eighteenth century, and medieval history, with some early modern history, from the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries. Within those two areas we study a range of topics, one group that is British and the other European.

In the second year there is a special subject option, for which topics include the Crusades and the French Revolution. There is also a Personal Investigation which allows students to research a topic of their own choosing. The Pre-U thus falls into four parts, two period study papers, a special subject and the Personal Investigation, all of which are equally weighted.

A particular strength of the Pre-U is the way in which it encourages the construction of broad, interlinked, multi-topic period studies that offer genuine breadth and depth and reinforce each other. Combined with the more specialised Personal Investigation and special subject module in the second year, the Pre-U is the ideal preparation for studying history and related subjects at degree level.


There is a weekly History and Politics Society that gives girls both the opportunity to be addressed by distinguished historians and political figures and the chance to speak to their own historical and political interests. We also hold an annual history conference offering a range of seminars for the girls and our Partnership schools. Recently, a history magazine, Clio, has been founded.

Notable recent achievements include victories in the British division of the International History Bee and Bowl competition and two successes in the last year in Cambridge essay competitions.

The girls’ appreciation of the past has been enhanced by residential visits to Paris and to Russia.


History is a deservedly popular degree course. Its unique ability to develop an intelligent understanding of the world as we know it makes it an ideal platform for all careers which require clarity and flexibility of thought.

‘In the last resort, all serious history is about entering the lives of others, separated by place and time. It is the greatest, least sentimental, least politically correct tutor of tolerance’
Simon Schama

Qualification: Pre-U

Board: CIE

Mode of Assessment: 75% examinations and 25% Personal Investigation