Keystage 5 history

This section of the site has been updated to match the current requirements of the new AS and A2 courses. You will see that it has been sub-divided into 5 parts. The first is a rich array of outstanding lessons and smart tasks to both improve the quality of students’ learning and to enliven your teaching. The second looks at planning from two perspectives: the traditional, from the teachers’ perspective – what we might call schemes of work; and more importantly from the students’ perspective showing what they need to do in advance, during, and after each session, planned over the entire module.

The Teaching section focuses on innovative and fit for purpose strategies, all based on what works. There follows a section on how to help students become more independent thinkers and learners. The section on assessment and progression looks at transition from GCSE to AS as well as AS to A2 and features worked examples of markschemes and commentaries on students’ answers.

The final section on resources is self-explanatory. Our hope here is to bring more stimulating material into the sixth form classroom as an antidote to the formulaic ‘badged’ textbooks that have recently dominated. We also aim to provide a range of ‘oven-ready’ materials, textual and visual, for which we have obtained copyright for you to download. This will allow you broaden your range well beyond what the standard textbooks can offer.

Independent learning in post-16 history

This section focuses mainly on ways of helping students become more effective independent leaners. The crucial role of the Student planner It has always a been a concern that students don’t always play as full a part in post-16 lessons as they should. This does not mean...
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Assessing students’ work

Answering judgement type question  at AS level Typical stems for questions which call for students to make and to justify an historical judgement about, for example, the significance of a key event or individual include: • How far do you agree that ...? • How important ...? • Examine the...
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Italian foreign policy-outstanding lesson

At what point did Mussolini seem to side more with Germany than with Britain or France? Students arrive at the lesson having familiarised themselves with key events of Mussolini’s foreign policy which is checked with a quick sequencing task which is turned into two living graphs...
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Teaching source work imaginatively in AS and A2 history

Imaginative approaches to source work

Again, 10 examples are provided on a separate PowerPoint presentation. The approach has been to look for imaginative approaches that really help students to ‘get’ source analysis, far in advance of their formulaic GCSE experience.

Strategy 1.

Beyond face value. For students to...
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Curriculum planning for post-16 history

As all schools and colleges have their own schemes of work I have not made the modelling of good schemes of work too much of a priority. However, given the absolutely dire quality of some of the exam boards’ published schemes I do need to...
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Who started the Korean War? Smart Task

In this short starter smart task students are given two contradictory accounts of the start of the Korean War, both emanating from Korea. But which account do they think is more plausible and which extract goes with which book? Students look for loaded language and...
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AS/A2 SMART TASK Threats to Henry VII, a living graph

Students create event cards for homework by way of preparation for creating a multi strand living graph showing the degree of threat to Henry VII from different quarters and how it changed over time. They look at a the range of different AS/A2 questions asked...
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General resources for teaching A level

Resources I have included a section on resources as it is likely that keeping up-to-date with all the recent websites/articles is a tough job, especially if you are teaching in a 11-19 school and only a small proportion of your timetable is devoted to A level...
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The rise of Stalin: 4 smart tasks

Included here are 4 distinct smart tasks which could be used in various combinations at AS and A2 level. They vary from laying odds on the outcome of the leadership contest, and working out why Stalin triumphed using influence cards, to critiquing a modern explanation...
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The reasons why Labour won the General Election of 1945.

If Churchill’s popularity rating rarely dropped below 80% during the Second World War, why then was there a landslide victory for Labour in 1945? Building on the obvious paradox of the question, students need to work out for themselves a convincing explanation and be able to...
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Hitler Youth AS/A2 task

This smart task uses one of the most frequently misunderstood Hitler Youth posters. By taking students through a step-by-step deconstruction of the poster using an animated PowerPoint presentation, students are shown the overwhelming importance of context and purpose when trying to establish the true meaning...
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Why was Anne Boleyn executed? Which of these seems most plausible?

In this short task students work out for themselves the key inter-related reasons why Anne Boleyn was executed. Using the influence cards provided (see resources section below) which draw on recent different interpretations, students make their own meaning before answering the sample question for the...
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10 commandments for successful source work at A-level

Although it grieves me to say it, these strategies may not have much to do with better teaching or understanding of the period being studied. They are, lamentably, the product of the over-mechanistic way the exam boards mark students’ answers. If you don’t follow these...
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