On Monday 18th September, Professor Robert Evans visited Oaks Park and delivered a lecture on coercion and consent in Nazi Germany to Oaks Park historians, as part of the Sixth Forms lecture series.
Professor Evans is a British historian of twentieth-century Europe with a focus on Germany and World War II. He is the author of eighteen books, including his three-volume The Third Reich Trilogy (2003—2008) that has been hailed as “brilliant” and “magisterial.” Evans was Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge from 2008 until his retirement in 2014, and is currently President of Cambridge’s Wolfson College and Provost of Gresham College in London. Evans was appointed Knight Bachelor for services to scholarship in the 2012 Birthday Honours Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Students were inspired by his level of knowledge, especially when he went into detail about the systems of policing within Nazis Germany, including how this was the case in schools with Nazi teachers monitoring and indoctrinating students. They listened intently and paid close attention during the lecture to ensure they did not miss any information, as the topic covered by Professor Evans is part of the students GCSE and A Level courses.
Also on Friday 22nd September, Dr Kathryn Harkup, visited chemists at Oaks Park, as part of the Sixth Form lecture series. Dr Kathryn Harkup is a chemist and author. Kathryn completed a PhD then a postdoc at the University of York before realising that talking, writing and demonstrating science appealed to her more than practicing it. Kathryn delivered a talk on poisons, that explored a potted history of classic poisons, poisoners and their victims. Students curiosity and intrigue were heightened by the mention of lethal umbrellas and deadly wallpaper. After Dr Harkup’s talk, one year 9 student said that she ‘loved it as it brought science to life in a way she hadn’t seen before’.
The unique opportunity to attend lectures given by internationally recognised experts in their fields, something that is not usually open to most state schools, has been fully grasped by our students. Hundreds from across the different year groups have signed up to attend the talks we have held so far, and the lectures are creating a genuine excitement around the school. The lecture series is meeting its aim of providing our students with a chance to develop their intellectual interests and understandings of topics outside of the classroom curriculum, and is key in ensuring that all students have a broad knowledge of different subjects.