James Platt

BA, Dip Theol (Oxon), MSt (Oxon)

I have been teaching History for over thirteen years at GCSE and A level at a Sixth Form college in Oxford where most of my lessons have been one-to-one. My love for History was imparted to me by my parents and grandparents at a young age; especially through my grandmother’s memories of the deaths of her two brothers during the First World War. More than anything else, History is simply about people and our understanding of humanity.

I studied History at York University where my thesis was on the topic of inter-war British feminism and the author and journalist Winifred Holtby. At Oxford University, I studied at Pembroke College for a Master of Studies degree with my thesis being on the topic of women and combat in the Second World War. During my research for this, I enjoyed receiving phone calls from very elderly ladies recounting their experiences of machine-gun training and grenade-throwing. As a teacher, my areas of study have included the Suffragettes, the Nazis, Italian and German Unification and inter-war European Politics, especially the policy of Appeasement.

As a child, I lived in the Netherlands, which has contributed to a love of internationalism and a delight in teaching students from all over the world. I even studied for my GCSE and A level in Dutch in my thirties, so I have recent memories of what students have to go through when they face their exams. I even made some of the mistakes that I told my own students not to make!

I find helping students gain the confidence they need to approach exams a very rewarding element of teaching. I believe in the importance of kindness and humour when teaching and that there are no such things as ‘stupid’ questions.

In my spare time, I love to travel, especially to Finland and Scandinavia where I can appreciate their civilised, egalitarian societies and their beauty and emptiness.

Subjects: History