What makes an outstanding history lesson at KS 2?

With very little national guidance now coming from OFSTED by way of revisions to the subject-specific criteria for outstanding primary history, we have to fall back on the survey reports that HMI write when they visit individual schools to look just at history. At Fox primary in London, the latest report on their site,  OFSTED were impressed by the  fact that the pupils were:

very active learners in history

willing to embrace a variety of accounts of the past and were not fazed by contrasting versions. The concept of Interpretations was taught well.

encouraged to think for themselves and to draw conclusions from evidence

shown that history is a problem-solving subject

encouraged to use a wide variety of rich resources, many authentic.

There is often an element of mystery or surprise in these lessons, often involving taking risks, with some uncertainty about where it will lead pupils’ thinking.  Sometimes the resources chosen are particularly strong so that pupils are intrigued and want to constantly find out more.  There is no magic formula, but there are some common features, listed below.  As with all lists, it does have its limitations and must be read alongside what we know about the teaching

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