Students in Year 7 have been looking at the Reformation in 16th Century England as monarchs from Henry VII to Elizabeth swung England from Catholic to Protestant… to Catholic and back again. The century really was a “roller coaster ride” for many who lived through this turbulent period – which led students to create their own “Religious Roller Coasters of Tudor Royalty”. Of course, the most famous Tudor King was Henry VIII and the students have enjoyed finding out about his colourful life (and his many wives) from a range of sources. The most important part of history in the Senior School, however, is encouraging students to form their own opinions and arguments. For whilst some sources side with Henry’s dissolution of the monasteries as a just reaction to the corruption of the church, other sources suggest Henry’s motives were a little less pure and it was all about the seizure of gold to fund his wars.
Student must answer questions like “What do you think was the main reason Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church?” or “What was the real reason Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries?” with their own opinion, citing the sources they feel are most valid. These steps towards being a real “historian” are the first ones towards the kind of longer essays the students will write when they take their IGCSEs in Year 11.