Truth is stranger than fiction and that is why History tells so many fascinating stories. It is, above all, a subject that is about people: wonderful people, terrible people, great people, ordinary people and all the people in between.

In their History lessons at Caterham School, History is brought alive by the teachers’ genuine passion for their subject. Pupils develop the skills of critical thinking, incisive analysis, effective oral and written argument, reading between the lines, essay writing and much, much more. History is not just a dry series of dates and events (though they do matter), it is an ongoing process of investigation, analysis, selection and debate. It is this process which inspires inquisitive, challenging and analytical minds to pursue the subject up the school and beyond.

Every year, a significant number of students go on to study History at universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, and the department runs regular enrichment classes to push forward the historical thinking of those who desire to be further challenged.

Popular trip destinations include Rochester for the First Year; Chatham Docks for the Second Year; the WWI battlefields for the Third Year. There is a regular programme of Clio (History Society) talks and we arrange many theatre trips. Various competitions are also run, promoting the sort of independent thinking and learning that other subjects can only talk about!

A truly remarkable number of History graduates have gone on to become the movers and shakers of modern-day Britain… With a History degree you can aspire to be Prime Minister, press baron and media mogul, overlord of the BBC, ‘the most famous lawyer in the land’, Archbishop of Canterbury, top spook, leading diplomat, police chief, Oxbridge chancellor and vice-chancellor, England footballer and football manager, or chairman of the richest football club in the world, famous comedian or celebrated pop musician, bestselling novelist, trade union boss, business millionaire and perhaps even one day monarch of the realm. 
Professor David Nicholls


Katy James BA (Hons) (London), PGCE (London), Head of History, Vice-President of Caterham School Debating Society

Katy read History at UCL and graduated with a First Class degree. She then trained at the Institute of Education. Having previously taught in south-east London, she joined Caterham in 2014 and teaches History to all years and became Head of Department in September 2016. She has a particular interest in nineteenth century American History. Katy is an experienced A Level and GCSE examiner for Edexcel. She also runs the Junior Debating Society. 

Ceri Jones, MA (Cantab), MEd – Headmaster

Ceri began his teaching career at Godolphin and Latymer in Hammersmith in 1992. He has since taught history at Bancroft’s School, Caterham and Tonbridge School. He was Head of History at Caterham from 2000 – 2004 and has examined extensively for Edexcel and AQA. An early modernist by training his current specialism is American History, particularly the American Civil War. Ceri teaches coursework on the witchcraze to upper sixth historians.  

Nick Mills BA (Hons) Liverpool, PGCE (London), Teacher of History, Head of Viney House

A graduate of the University of Liverpool, Nick joined Caterham in 2007 having previously taught at Alleyn’s School.  He has fulfilled numerous roles in the department, such as running the History Society, mentoring PGCE students and organising superb overseas trips.  Nick coaches rugby and occasionally plays it too.  Since 2010 he has been Head of the senior boys boarding house.

Ruth Nagar BA (Hons) (London), PGCE (London), Acting Head of Department

Ruth studied History and War Studies at King’s College London.  She has a keen interest in the British Empire especially in India around the time of the Mutiny.  She joins Caterham after five years at the Judd School.  Her passion for developing historical thinking is only one of her talents.  When she is not reading history essays she is in the kitchen or playing Lego.

Tom Phillips (MA) Head of Politics, Teacher of History

Rob Salem BA (Hons) (Oxon.), PGCE (London), MA (London), Senior Teacher Academic, Teacher of History, Vice-President of Caterham School Debating Society

Having joined Caterham in 1999, Rob teaches History across all year groups, including modern and early modern A Level and served as Head of Department from 2004 to 2016.  He coaches Oxbridge students and has also taught Critical Thinking.  He has examined and been a team leader for Edexcel.  Rob is also Senior Teacher (Academic), assists in the preparation of the timetable, administers baseline and value-added data, and runs the Debating Society.  In his spare time, he writes articles for Hindsight, the GCSE History magazine.


Beyond the Classroom

Clio – the Sixth Form society for history enrichment

Theatre trips

Local History project

Essay competitions

Upper Sixth Revision Roadtrip

Back to Academic Departments