10 things you need to know about leading history and the new OFSTED 2019 framework
- You will have to show that you are in fact teaching history (and not just doing literacy disguised as history). This means not only the content but also the skills and concepts. It is not enough to say you are studying the NC. When you have scope to modify it, have you taken advantage of this freedom? Ofsted will not make a judgement about the curriculum structure you teach but you need to be aware of the critical comments about KS2 cross-curricular topic work they have committed to in print over the last. See my earlier blog about using chocolate as a topic theme for studying the Maya.
- You will need to consider in detail the purpose and value of history in your curriculum. Why is it given a prominent place in the curriculum? How does it lead to intended outcomes for your pupils?
- You will also have to justify your decisions about what you teach and how and when you teach it. This means having a better justification than that you’ve always taught those topics in these year groups or you have invested heavily in age-specific resources.
- Now you must have a rationale, a meaning and a focus, not only for the long-term plan (what you teach and in what sequence), you will also need to explain the approach you have taken within each topic. You will note that I have done this on all the MTPs on the site as exemplars for you.
- More demandingly, you will have to articulate what it means to get better at history . Here the advice on the website about progression by each strand is invaluable. Of course, pupils make progress by knowing more and linking existing topic knowledge to what they have already learned. But this misses the point. Pupils get better at history by showing deeper capacity to master the main elements of the discipline of history ( what I call the 8 Cs understanding chronology, cause , consequence, change, continuity, characteristic features, cultural diversity, contested accounts) all through an awareness that we learn about the past from source material of different kinds.
- You will need to map out where these specific understandings (skills and concepts, the big8, are being taught in depth across the key stage(s). It won’t be appropriate to say we do them all in every topic.
7.There will be a transitional period following the implementation of the new framework and the position will be reviewed after a year, so don’t panic if you are currently reviewing your curriculum.
- Be prepared to answer OFSTED’s questions, e.g.
What is the body of knowledge that you want the children to know and retain at the end of their time at your school?
How have you ensured that your children receive a broad and balanced curriculum?
How and why do you organise and sequence learning – from long term, medium term, weekly, daily in the way you do?
How do you ensure the history curriculum is being implemented properly in your school?
How do you ensure that history is being covered properly across all year groups?
How do you maintain sufficient depth and coverage of knowledge in your subject? What is the body of knowledge you want the children to retain?
What are the skills you want the children to be proficient in using and applying?
Is the sequencing of lessons supporting all children’s progress?
How do you ensure that your learners have embedded and fluent history subject knowledge?
How do you ensure all groups of children make good progress across the curriculum in history?
What challenges have you met in your subject?
How do you know the “quality” of your subject?
Which diagnostic assessments do you use?
How do you know they have ‘got’ what you wanted them to get?
How is progress and achievement recorded?
What has been the impact of your history leadership on the curriculum your children receive?
How do you know what the children have retained?
What learning have the children done prior to that lesson? What learning have you got planned for the children to go onto?
9.What have you done that has made most impact on the quality of pupils’ education?
- Inspectors will want to know how the history curriculum is being driven forward and how it is kept at the heart of the school, whilst keeping it enjoyable and knowledge rich for the children. They are looking for evidence of direction of travel and a clearly reflective and passionate staff and subject leader.