Seven of the 33 primaries schools visited by the inspectorate under phase 3 of its curriculum study, published today, had a “complete absence” of curriculum design in humanities. History came in for considerable criticism: “History was also less well organised and implemented in a number of...Read more
As well as listing and describing, what other forms of command words can we use to make sure that pupils' thinking is likely to be historical? It may be helpful to ask yourself , When did I last ask my pupils to? I have added an example...Read more
When the site was launched 10 years ago, our focus was on exemplifiying best practice in the harder-to-teach areas of the National Curriculum. At that stage schools had been teaching the topic of Toys quite successfully and few teachers were asking for new resources or...Read more
One of the hardest jobs for a history subject leader in primary schools is to build up a clear idea of what it is that makes the biggest impact on standards in history. All subject leaders I know work hard and want to do their...Read more
There has been a lot of coverage recently of OFSTED’s intention to focus more on the quality , range and impact of the curriculum, rather than simply looking at data. Sean Harford recently talked of the 3 Is: Intent, Implementation, Impact. You need to get...Read more
The Peterloo massacre is one of the best-documented events in British history and now the subject of Mike Leigh’s recent film, which has brought it to more people’s attention. The Historical Association site has a short podcast interview with Mike himself in which he discusses...Read more
Those of you teaching Man's First Moonlanding at KS1 but like to know that there is a cute fiction title you might want to use called They Raced to the Moon, written by F.J.Beerling and published by Fairyfaye at £5.99. It deals with serious issues...Read more
We all know that pupils' minds wander. Some brave researchers claim that this happens, on average, as much as 50% of the time for the majority of pupils. What can you do to stop it? Mostly pupils' attention to learn is driven by 2 things:...Read more
Many of you are kind enough to tell us when the lessons you have taught using our material and approaches, which you have adapted to your own circumstances, have gone down a storm. Here are just some of your favourites so you can see that...Read more
With OFSTED's renewed focus on the curriculum many schools are re-examining the quality of their Ks3 curriculum, mostly written without knowledge of what GCSE course would follow. Few schools have gone back and re-written their 2014 KS3 courses in the light of their GCSE choices,...Read more
A few years ago when I was working closely with the staff at Belleville school in South London, we discussed the sort of texts you might like to use when teaching Ancient Egypt at KS2. I was keen to recommend Maat’s feather a story of...Read more
9 ways to ensure that your local history topic is successfulRead more
- Don’t even begin your chosen local topic unless you are sure that there are enough suitable resources.
- Local history , of all the topics, should be the most child-centred. You and your colleagues should...
- Was Alfred born to be king? An unlikely ruler for a start. Although he was the son of the king of Wessex, Æthelwulf, who had himself inflicted a famous defeat on Viking forces at the Battle of Aclea in 851, Alfred was the youngest of...
KS3 assessment revisited. Recently Sally Burnham and Geraint Brown revisited their earlier seminal paper on assessment now 10 years old and published their findings in Teaching History. In their article they attempted to offer a list of do’s and don’ts. I thought it would be helpful...Read more
Daniel Willingham and other have long made the case for the use of story in history teaching at all keystages not just in primary history classes . And its easy to see why: Stories are more interesting Stories are easier to comprehend Stories are easier to remember Our minds...Read more
A recent article in the Historical Association’s magazine Primary History suggested that subject leaders need to ensure that the following aspects are covered:Read more
- as with other important civilisations, the water and fertile land were key to success;
- Caliph Al-Mansur set up his capital there which...
The Maya's apparently sudden decline in the 9th century AD has long been a subject for historical debate. Now scientists have found evidence which appears to confirm the theory that the large-scale abandonment of Maya city states was precipitated by a massive drought which swept across Mexico in about 900 AD. A team...Read more
With the weakening of the history inspectorate at OFSTED we don't see the detailed surveys that used to guide schools in working out areas to improve. the sheer scale of the surveys made them useful. How else can schools measure themsleves against any notional national...Read more
A simple way of ensuring that your pupils are thinking historically is to focus their activities using key command words. Too many tasks at KS1 and 2 involve narrating and describing, What other forms of command words can we use to make sure that the...Read more
Central to much of the discussion in OFSTED about focussing more on subjects and the curriculum is the issue of progression. In a recent discussion paper OFSTED wrote that: The progression model in schools was generally less clear for subjects such as music, art, geography and history. It...Read more
Those of you who have taken up the rewarding challege of teaching Scott of the Antarctic as a significant person at KS1 will be pleased to know that the final lesson in our 6-enquiry planner is almost ready. It features 3 great activities:Read more
- Using a...
As we all remembered the fallen yesterday, I had particular reason to think of family loss. In the Great War no less than 8 sons from my great-grandfather's family of 14 volunteered and served. This is a record for their home town of Londonderry. Only...Read more
The unsurprising answer is TAR. The Vikings knew how to produce it on an industrial scale, making batches of 200-300 litres, ten times the amount normally made at that time. Viking ships needed 500 litres of tar -EACH! And they had hundreds of ships in...Read more
Mary Beard has sparked controversy yet again , this time about the way history is portrayed on TV. Too many actors swanning around in sheets.Too much focus on the sumptuous visuals and too little on the historical arguments. Too many slick CGI reconstructions which take...Read more
Many of you will know that I have been trying to wean schools off teaching JUST Florence Nightingale, and have encouraged teachers to look at female pioneers. AS we all know,KS1 pupils are fascinated by dinosaurs and fossils. Mary Anning was the most famous fossil...Read more
Below is a recent short explanation as to why the Mayan civilization collapsed. I think that KS2 pupils can do better, with the right stimulus. This comes in the form of our outstanding lesson.https://www.keystagehistory.co.uk/keystage-2/why-did-the-mayan-empire-decline/ The website lesson's blurb goes like this:When there are apparently 88 competing...Read more
There has been a lot of coverage recently of OFSTED’s intention to focus more on the quality, range and impact of the curriculum, rather than simply looking at data. Sean Harford recently talked of the 3 Is: Intent, Implementation, Impact. You need to get behind...Read more
Fiction provides opportunities for children to explore what life might have been like for people living during the war and, as Megan Brownrigg from Strauss House Productions suggests, may help children understand the effects of war. She draws attention to the work of author Hilary...Read more
Why Learn History (When It's Already on Your Phone). Sam Wineburg's just-published book in which he makes it clear that the current hand-wringing over U.S. students' ignorance of history is nothing new. It's a concern that stretches back to at least the early part of the...Read more
So primary schools and secondary history departments are happy to vaunt their teaching and learning policies. I applaud the fact that they have investaed time and deep thought into creating one. But what matters of course is that the principles espoused are the right ones. Here...Read more
As the history currciulum is now in a pretty steady state in most schools, it seems that teachers now have the time to invest in looking at how to assess pupils' historical understanding. I'm pleased to report a growing use of the popular assessment tasks...Read more
Great video lasting just 6 mins during which an expert curator decodes the messages behind medals and miniatures. Really interesting. #Link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KAsUADqACU...Read more
E Lots of thinking has taken place to decide the best way to structure the new Edexcel 9-1 GCSE history course. The rationale behind this plan comes straight from successful classroom practice.. One of my former Advanced Skills Teachers has written this about planning the above course: This Essential Guide shows...Read more
There has always been a tendency towards egender stereotyping when selecting which 'famous' men and women to teach at KS1. The men are the explorers and engineers, the women the nurses. We have tried to redress this by adding a couple of significant women who...Read more
If you are teaching medieval history in Y7 you will definitely want to read Ian Dawson’s article on his website in which he sets out to challenge students’ assumptions about the Middle Ages and suggests ways of improving our teaching of this topic. As always...Read more