Over the past six or seven years interest in the pupil or student voice has soared. We are now fortunate in having the data from two major surveys conducted by Tim Lomas (as an LA inspector) and then Richard Harris and Terry Haydn as ITT lecturers. Their conclusions make interesting reading. As far as KS4 is concerned there are perhaps half a dozen or so key messages listed below.
1. Students find history ‘harder than other subjects’, third behind Science and Maths in terms of difficulty.
2. They regard it as being a ‘full subject’ with so much to learn, a harder ride than with some subjects.
3. They perceive the need to show deep understanding and an ability to write at length.
4. They talk of the need always to write in terms of mini essay answers, unlike the one-word responses needed in science and geography.
5. Students rarely know why they are studying particular topics and how they relate to their own lives. When one curious 15 year-old (who was coming to the end of the unit on International Relations 1919-39) asked what happened during World War Two they were quickly told that the topic