Don’t bark up the wrong tree with progression-its all about the history curriculum not content-free skills

There has been a lot of confusing talk recently about progression in history. Schools are still  wrong-headedly trying to build up a bank of ‘can do’ statements that are content free. This is barking up the wrong tree. Progression is about getting better at history. To get better at history pupils need a high-quality history curriculum to follow. If they learn what we have set out in our carefully-designed history curriculum then they must be getting better at history. Consider the reverse-how pupils could possibly be getting better at history without knowing more about what happened in the past!

So when you are designing your content-rich history curriculum you are also tackling progression, albeit without necessarily realising.

To get a clearer idea of what I mean, have a look at the progression model on the site, under the appropriate key stage you are interested in , which shows what it means to get better at each aspect of historical understanding but crucially always offers a clear contextual example for each statement, rooted in the history curriculum. I designed this model 20 years ago. It is pleasing to see that it is now catching on at government level.

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