What inspectors report on in deep dive history inspections: a recent example with my commentary from 2020

What the inspectors said  Commentary
Pupils in your school thoroughly enjoy learning history.   They like the enquiry-based approach you take to learning in the history curriculum, as they learn to ask and answer questions about history.   Several spoke about the memorable experiences they have had when... Read more

Great new lesson on Ancient Egypt coming soon

A great new lesson using objects to draw conclusions about life in Ancient Egypt is soon to be available to subscribers who can request an early draft copy from 1.06.20 The lesson takes images of four small objects each of which is slowly revealed on the...
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KQ2 Why did Grace Darling act in the way she did?

An active lesson in which pupils generate adjectives and then use a Diamond-4 ranking activity, followed by hot seating, to ascertain Grace’s motivation.   A broader context is achieved by asking pupils to analyse the possible reasons why Grace was seen as particularly famous at the...
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Top Tips for teaching….Stone Age to Iron Age

Stone Age to Iron Age The British Isles has been populated by humans for 750.000 years but only became an island when the ice sheets melted about 8,000 years ago. It was only with the introduction of farming about 7,000 years ago that we see radical...
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Historical Association survey of secondary history provision 2019- few surprises and some disappointing statistics

Last week saw the publication of the annual survey into secondary history produced by the Historical Association. Obviously reflecting the views of members of the Association and representing less than 20% of schools, nevertheless the survey contains the most data we have available on the...
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Key ideas in primary history

When we are teaching 11 subjects it is often difficult to catch the essence of each. If we're not careful we can simply deliver the scheme of work very professionally but miss passing on the key messages about what makes history distinct. So what are...
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Remembering VE Day

In these difficult times when schools are not in session it will not be possible to commemorate the ending of the Second World War with our primary-age children in the way you might have planned. Some of you have used the lesson on VE day...
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Rotten apple or …. How should we portray Dyer’s motivation in the Amritsar massacre?

This enquiry asks students to look critically at the depiction of the massacre in the film Gandhi as a way into trying to determine the motivation of Dyer.  Students are provided with an initial set of influence cards which they have to group and classify...
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How to assess pupils’ progress in KS2 history. At last the answer that not only works but will work for you too.

Even though we will have had the National Curriculum for history ( albeit in different guises) for nearly 30 years, there hasn’t been a great deal of  attention paid to, let alone progress with, the thorny issue of assessment. Up til now the general feeling...
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Great new KS3/ GCSE lesson on Amritsar massacre looking at Gen. Dyer’s actions in the context of India and the Empire

Loading tomorrow is a great new lesson exploring the motivation of Gen. Dyer at Amritsar 1919. It starts with students analysing Attenborough's treatment in the 7 min excerpt from Gandhi followed by a 2-part thinking skills activity. Students are given one set of influence cards...
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Ending Pay per Post

As of 6 pm this evening we have disabled the pay Per Post facility which enabled non-subscribers to purchase individual items. We originally introduced this facility a few years ago as a response to teachers' call for access to just parts of the site, rather...
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More thoughts on primary history OFSTED deep dives

Recently Matthew Purves , the Deputy Director for Schools, set out OFSTED latest thinking on deep dives in primary schools. He makes reference a number of times to what that means in history. Here are some of the highlights for you to ponder. ‘A deep dive…...
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KQ4 What sorts of toys did our grandparents play with and how do we know?

Optional question: What toys did our grandparents get as Christmas presents when they were your age?


  • Children are able to describe at least two differences between toys from 60 years ago and today
  • Children learn that the past is differentiated and can talk about old...
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Did you know there were over 1000 Roman sites in England and Wales?

The numerous discoveries of Roman finds, often by private metal detectors,  have revealed more than 1,000 Roman sites in England and Wales, often in places where archaeologists were not looking. While the objects include artworks, inscribed bronze tablets and military equipment, many sites have been...
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Teaching about Roman villas at KS2- some new finds in Gloucestershire. Should the housing development now go ahead – arguments for and against?

Those of you teaching about Roman villas at KS2, maybe even using the outstanding lesson on this website, Is this another Roman Villa ( KQ4 part2), will be interested to learn of new archaeological excavations in Cam, Gloucestershire, which have revealed an early conquest villa....
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New Grace Darling planner and lessons coming this month

Those of you teaching Grace Darling as a famous person at KS1, perhaps as part of a broader sea-based topic, will be delighted to discover that we have now completely revised and updated the Grace Darling planner which is available to subscribers, on request, now....
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The top 10 things you need to know about chronology at KS2, but were afraid to ask.

The top 10 things you need to know about chronology at KS2, but were afraid to ask. 1.There is more to chronology than sequencing. While sequencing is fundamentally important, you also need to think about a range of other issues too. These include: duration, interval, overlap and anachronism as well as...
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