New GCSE British history source enquiry, suitable for SHP or Modern World.

Whether you are studying the OCR unit, AQA or Edexcel you should find this activity helpful.

The activity builds on an initial idea from the revised Edexcel Teacher’s Guide for the new SHP GCSE course.  It has been taken much further, with more detailed sources, more information about provenance and, critically, given a twist which makes the activity all the more fascinating.

Students first have to work out what type of source they are looking at before annotating their own copy of the postcard of a Suffragette procession from the summer of 1911.  This is then compared with a textbook account written 25 years later.  But can the written account be trusted?  When students find another similar postcard from 1911 that reveals details of the author of the written account, they begin to ask questions.  Having compared internal clues and external contextual knowledge, students have to arrive at a judgement about the trustworthiness of the written account.  Two sample student answers are provided for peer assessment.

The activity closes by offering students some interesting background detail. The actual banner which features in the postcard was the very one made by Laurence Housman, whose sister, referred to on the postcard, was the first woman to go to prison for non-payment of taxes.

By way of further contextualisation of the activity, students are told that the featured procession was planned to coincide with the coronation of George V, thereby showing Suffragette patriotism.  He was unimpressed and remained opposed to votes for women.