Paper 1     |     Paper 2


Over 700 candidates tackled Paper One this year, with the very early date causing problems for some schools, so next year the date will be a little later.   Many candidates made a fine start, with some achieving nearly perfect scores over the first three questions.   Thereafter, some found the Paper rather hard and questions five and eight were probably least well done.   Coming first this year, and by a convincing margin, was William Drake, from King’s College School, Cambridge.   His paper was an excellent one.   Congratulations too to three runners-up:  Jack Hagger and William Monaghan (both from King’s College Junior School, Wimbledon) and Sam Watling (Brighton College Preparatory School).   Completing the elite list of those who reached the 70 mark were Joshua Williams (Dumpton School), Alexander Spacey (Boundary Oak School), Joseph Flannery-Sutherland (Woodcote House), Sebastian Clark (Shrewsbury House) and Benedict George (The Hall).   King’s College Junior School, Wimbledon, had the strongest school representation this year, but there were also strong entries from St Paul’s Preparatory, King’s College School, Cambridge, Shrewsbury House and Twyford, with Quainton Hall and The Hall also doing well.


After the relative ease of the opening questions there were more difficulties.   Not many identified 1759 as the ‘year of victories’ in 4f;  wergeld tended to be confused with danegeld in 5e;  ‘fish’ was the answer to the Billingsgate market question (7a) and in the following question there were, understandably, many offerings of ‘Starbucks’, instead of ‘Lloyd’s’!   In question 8, not many identified William Kidd as a pirate;   eighteenth century industrialists, Darby and Boulton, were not well known, but scientists, Jenner and Faraday, were;   Sir Walter Scott was often muddled with Captain Robert Scott and not many recognised Harris, in 8p, as the leader of Bomber Command for much of World War II.   In question 10, Iona Monastery was the answer looked for in (d).  Even so, candidates often displayed an amazing breadth of knowledge in a Paper which demands a lot of them.


As usual, whether intentionally or not, the scripts contained some amusing answers.   5 (m) was the fertile source of unlikely answers.   One script, not entirely erroneously, linked Quakers to Cadbury; inevitably others wrote about porridge, while one candidate thought they were ‘fake doctors’.   I also had sympathy with the answer to 5 (j) on the seventeenth century radical group, the Levellers, which claimed that they ‘took part in the Highland Clearances’.


My thanks, as ever, go to all who continue to pass on the fascination of history in all its forms to those they teach.   In a crowded syllabus and under pressure of examinations, that cannot be easy.   Yet it remains abundantly clear from many of the scripts that there is enthusiasm, as well as knowledge, in the work of the next generation.   I wish all who qualified for Paper Two the very best of luck.


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