History

The History Department at Charterhouse has been at the forefront of developments in the teaching of History at secondary level for several years. The department has introduced new syllabuses at GCSE and sixth-form level, and now boasts one of the most excitingly diverse curricula in the country. We aim to inspire an interest in, and love of, the past, so that pupils will continue to read and enjoy history throughout their adult lives.

The department was one of the first in the country to adopt the International GCSE syllabus in Years 10 and 11. This enables us to forensically examine the history of international relations in the 20th Century to provide a stronger foundation for Sixth Form study.

We have also been at the forefront of the development of the new Pre-U examination, which we believe is one of the most exciting developments in sixth form teaching in the last few years. As such, we are able to offer courses in topics as diverse as The Crusades, Civil Rights in the United States, and China under Mao Zedong.

Overall, our courses provide pupils with a thorough understanding of the political, social, cultural and religious issues of the past, both through investigative learning and from the perspectives of contemporaries and historians.

A large number of pupils go on to study the subject at university in order to develop a career in Law, Finance, the Arts, Teaching and beyond.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the Under School (Years 9-11) Curriculum and Sixth Form Curriculum sections.

Mrs Catherine McDonald, MA (Cantab) - Head of Department

Mrs McDonald joined Charterhouse in 2009 to teach History, having previously worked as a solicitor. Mrs McDonald was Master of the Specialists for three years and has been Head of History since returning from maternity leave in June 2016. Outside of the classroom Mrs McDonald helps with the School golf team and the Duke of Edinburgh award programme.

Miss Jessica Christian, BA, BEd

Miss Christian taught History at Newington College in Sydney before joining Charterhouse on an exchange programme for the year. She was educated at SCEGGS Darlinghurst before she studied a BA in History and English at The University of Sydney. Her interests are rowing, netball, rugby, reading and travel.

Mr John Eastham, BA

Mr Eastham joined Charterhouse in January 2018 from Bury Grammar School, where he taught History and managed Year 9 as Head of Year. Alongside his teaching at Charterhouse he serves as Contingent Commander of the Combined Cadet Force and is a tutor in Daviesites. Not surprisingly, his particular historical interests include twentieth century conflict and the development of military tactics and technology. He exercises his creative side in the kitchen, listening to Johnny Cash or Rachmaninov, depending on the recipe in question.

Mr Michael Gillespie, BA

Mr Gillespie joined the History Department in 2002, having left the School as a pupil in 1998. He teaches medieval and early modern History, with particular interest in topics like outcasts in the Middle Ages and the Witch-Hunt. Outside of the hashroom, Mr Gillespie coaches the U16 A hockey and the U15 A cricket teams. Additionally, he is unashamedly obsessed with Bob Dylan - and despairs at the musical taste of one or two of his colleagues.  

Dr Andrew Johnston, MA, PhD

Dr Johnston joined the History department in 2005 having previously taught at Hampton School. He was Housemaster of Lockites (2008-2016) and Master of the Specialists (2017-18). He runs the rugby at Charterhouse and takes the 2nd XI cricket team. He shares the departmental penchant for Bob Dylan.

Mr David McCombes, MA (Oxon) 

Mr McCombes joined Charterhouse in 2011, having been a Housemaster and History teacher at Highgate School, London. Before teaching Mr McCombes worked as a Press and Information Officer for Her Majesty the Queen, working in Buckingham Palace between 2001 and 2004. At Charterhouse, he is Master of the Specialists and, outside of the classroom, runs the school’s football programme, as Master-in-Charge, as well as helping with a variety of other sports, golf being his clear favourite and approaching unhealthy obsession status. He also assists with the Duke of Edinburgh programme. 

Mr William Tink, BA, MPhil

Mr Tink joined Charterhouse in September 2015, having completed a BA degree in History and an MPhil in Medieval History at Clare College, Cambridge. William has undertaken research in twelfth century Cistercian monasticism in the North of England, twelfth and thirteenth century chroniclers’ views on the Crusades and the foreign policy of the Isle of Man in the twelfth century. He enjoys teaching a range of topics, from the eleventh and twelfth century Crusades and the Wars of the Roses, through to the Stuart monarchs in England, to the League of Nations, the Rise of the Nazis and, finally, the Cold War. He also teaches Theory of Knowledge as part of the IB diploma and looks forward to delivering an Elective in Palaeontology to the First Year Specialists in September 2019.

Mr Andrew Brinkley, BA PGCE 

Mr Brinkley joined Charterhouse in 2019 from Worth School, where he taught since 2013 and was Housemaster of Butler House. He studied History at Oxford University and had a career in business and as a policy and parliamentary researcher before becoming a teacher. As well as teaching History at Charterhouse, Mr Brinkley is also Housemaster of Robinites.

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