Simon Thompson Faculty Head of History & PPE (Politics, Philosophy & Economics)
I joined MCS in 2008 as a teacher of History, and have enjoyed it enough to stay for as long as I have. Over the years my interests have grown, and I now teach Politics and Economics alongside History. I think the three subjects (four if you count Philosophy, which is a vital part of our Politics and Economics courses) complement one another really well and Merchiston offers something pretty special by having the different disciplines working together so closely.
I teach a range of classes and age groups, and my particular historical interests are in the Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, but I also have a big interest in the 20th century.
I have coached rugby and long jump for several years, and I also run the school Arts Programme, picking a programme of events that Merchiston students can choose to attend during term. This explains why so many of my students spend our lessons learning about History by looking at paintings, listening to music and reading poetry.
Before Merchiston I did my degree in History and English Literature at Edinburgh University, and my first teaching job was in a comprehensive school in Durham.
I love the way Merchiston is a boarding school on the edge of a capital city. You have all the benefits of living in a self-contained community, combined with having Edinburgh on the doorstep. I think that makes Merchiston pretty unique. One of the other ways in which it is special is that it encourages you to find what your niche or speciality is and then to pursue it as best you can.
I’m particularly interested in the arts and in what they tell us about their societies, both contemporary and historical. This feeds into my academic and social interests, and gives my classes some variety (I hope!).
I’m pleased with they way Merchiston commemorated the centenary of the First World War as a community, with every subject turning over their lessons to learning about the war in a cross-curricular way on 11th November 2014, and culminating in the reopening of the WW1 Centenary Pavilion