Opinion

In many schools primary history curriculum found wanting by OFSTED

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...
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Teaching Toys at KS1- new lessons arriving soon

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...
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Moon Landing story book to use with Year 2

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...
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GCSE Medicine and First World War

The masterly Ian Dawson shows how family history brings the topic of Medicine on Western Front in WW1 alive. Those of you following Edexcel will already know of his work but well worth a look if you don't....
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15 Keystagehistory favourites

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...
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Making your Y9 key questions harder than those for Y7

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,...
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Great class story to use with Ancient Egypt at KS2

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...
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Assessment in history at KS3 revisited-yet again!

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...
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Teaching Early Islam at KS2

A recent article in the Historical Association’s magazine Primary History suggested that subject leaders need to ensure that the following aspects are covered:  
  • as with other important civilisations, the water and fertile land were key to success;
  • Caliph Al-Mansur set up his capital there which...
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Top 10 Command words for primary history activities

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...
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OFSTED looking for clear progression models in history

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...
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Powerful personal memories of Remembrance Day

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...
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How did the Viking fleets keep afloat on their voyages?

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...
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Has Mary Beard got it right about TV history?

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...
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Teaching Mary Anning as a significant person at KS1

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...
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Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone)

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...
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KS3 history assessment advice

There is some useful generic advice on the vexed area of KS3 assessment in history to be found here. For more practical examples of what good assessment looks like in practice see the 12 tried and tested assessment tasks and worked mark schemes shown...
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How good is your teaching and learning policy?

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...
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GCSE History: Guide to planning and teaching Edexcel 9-1 GCSE

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...
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