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 standard. These reports became the benchmarks. But they are long gone, it seems. So what do we have in its place. The Historical Association is doing its best to visit schools to reward those that are doing well overall. But even here several weaknesses ahave been observed. There are 3 principal ones.
- The quality of feedback for pupils, particularly marking,
usually needs improvement in even the best schools.
Too often it is found to focus on literacy even when
clear history objectives have been set. This results in
pupils having no direction on how to improve in the
subject. Coupled with this is the realisation that many
teachers can not provide next steps to pupils as they
themselves are unclear what progression looks like.
- With regard to the curriculum in Key Stage 2 the
teaching of the post-1066 topic is often weak. Many
schools still view this as an opportunity to retain
pre-2014 topics such as the Home Front without
any adaptation. Even when they are looking at a
theme they are failing to grasp the need to link the
content to that already taught in the pre-1066 units.
3. Pupils at Key Stage 1 being taught a very narrow
range of significant people and events often results
in limited progress being made principally within the
development of chronological understanding and a
sense of period.
Both pupils and teachers are still failing to grasp the
big picture of history and are continuing to look at
topics and periods in isolation. Strengthening the use
of timelines particularly parallel timelines would go
some way to help to support children’s understanding
in this area