The Humanities programme at the Prep School incorporates, Geography, History, Religious Studies and, for Year 7 and 8, TPR (Theology, Philosophy and Religion).


Geography is the what of where. It is vitally important for understanding the world around us. Geographers question the world and seek to understand it, they explain why things are where they are. No other subject at school links so many factors together as one.” (Francesca Carter)

Geographical knowledge is a basic requirement in enabling children to make sense not only of the world they experience first hand but the world that is brought into our homes and schools by a variety of media. Throughout the school, the study of Geography will seek to develop in pupils the following:

  • A sense of awe and wonder about the world around them.
  • A framework of knowledge about locations and places that will help them set local, national and international events within a geographical context.
  • An understanding of some of the characteristics of the earth’s physical systems – landforms, weather and climate, hydrological systems – and the interaction between those systems.
  • An understanding of some of the relationships between people and environments. A sense of place – what a place is like and what it might be like to live there.
  • An awareness and appreciation of the ethnic, cultural and economic diversity of human society.
  • Acquisition of the skills required for geographical enquiry including making and interpretation of maps, the use of information technology and the conduct of fieldwork.
  • An appreciation of the need for sustainable development.
  • A sensitivity to and understanding of the conflicts that can occur as a result of people’s differing uses of the environment

Independent Learning

In the Geography department pupils are encouraged to develop as independent learners from an early stage. As they progress through the school more emphasis is placed on working on their own initiative, making presentations to the class, selecting information from a variety of resources and starting to accept a level of responsibility for their own learning.


Nothing can replace the value of fieldwork. When children experience the world around them first hand the subject of Geography becomes far more relevant and the topics they study in the classroom come alive. At Northbourne Park we are able to use our extensive school grounds and woodland areas as an excellent outdoor classroom. We also have annual field trips to the varied coastline around south east Kent – Kingsgate Bay, Deal, Samphire Hoe and St Margaret’s Bay. We have measured the speed of flow in the River Dour at Kearsney Abbey and have investigated land use and the effect of longshore drift at Rye in Sussex.


 A number of the skills and topics integral to the study of Geography also appear in other subject areas  e.g. production and interpretation of graphs (Maths), drawing of diagrams and observation skills (Art), the hydrological cycle, renewable energy etc. (Science),  the original location and development of settlements and industry (History), and internet research and use of ICT skills for presentation (ICT).  From Years 3 to 8, Geography is taught as a distinct subject, but we regularly explore these links with other curriculum areas.

Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?” Michael Palin 2007



At Northbourne Park school, history is all around us! You can see it in the architecture of the buildings, read about it on the Honours boards adoring the dining room walls and admire it as the sun shines through the stained glass windows.

As a subject, there is a strong emphasis on speaking , listening, questioning , discussion and debate to challenge the students' thinking, to aid assessment for learning and to embed new concepts and historical terminology. An appreciation for history is not only taught in the classroom as field trips to places of historical interest, both locally and further afield, greatly enhance the curriculum.

The National Curriculum for History is followed to Year 6 and then the Common Entrance syllabus is taught to Year 7 and 8.


Religious Studies

During their time at Northbourne Park, the pupils, through their Religious Studies lessons and assemblies, become increasingly aware of their values and beliefs and those of others around them. 

In addition to learning about Christianity, pupils have the opportunity to explore other major world faiths including Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism.  We aim to harness the pupils' inner curiosity, encouraging them to ask challenging questions while building on their knowledge of religions and cultures in the world.

Listening, respect, reflection, empathy and self-understanding are all key skills developed in Religious Studies.  A safe environment of mutual respect enables pupils to feel able to express their developing ideas, and discuss their opinions with their peers.

The Common Entrance course comprises a study of Old and New Testament stories and World Religions (Christianity and Islam).  Pupils are encouraged to think about the application of Bible texts in the modern world, relating the key themes to contemporary issues.  Animated class discussions help to develop strong reasoning and evaluate skills.  The development of accurate written and verbal communication is a priority at this level.  The course provides pupils with a firm grounding for further study of religion at secondary school.

Underpinning the Religious Studies department is a commitment to provide rich, dynamic and creative lessons which the pupils will enjoy.  By the time that they leave Northbourne Park, we hope to have developed confident young people who have a fuller understanding of the diverse world that we live in and who are able to engage with it in a positive, respectful and knowledgeable way.