The history and politics department plays a prominent role in the academic life of the school. History is a compulsory subject for the first three years and is optional thereafter; government and politics is offered at A level. The two subjects are closely related: much of our historical study is centred on the politics of the past and politics is, in a sense, very recent history. The two subjects are, therefore, complementary, with several members of the department teaching both of them. Our choice of topics over the girls’ seven years at St Paul’s aims to draw out the girls’ natural fascination with our world in the broadest sense: how it works, and has worked. The importance of an analytical approach, of an ability to apply abstract concepts and the essential skill of learning how to construct a persuasive argument lie at the heart of what we do and are essential, in some form or other, to all academic pursuits.