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Slide 1 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools)January 2012 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials:

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Presentation on theme: "Slide 1 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools)January 2012 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Slide 1 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools)January 2012 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: History A training resource for teachers of history in primary schools 2012

2 Slide 2 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012  Ofsted publishes a number of subject surveys every year. They look at developments in a specific subject over the previous three years, based on specialist inspectors’ visits to a range of schools.  This resource has been put together to help teachers in primary schools reflect on the main messages from the history report History for all, published in March  Subject coordinators should take time to go through the resource prior to using it in a meeting. This will help you to appreciate that everything in it cannot be covered in one session. It is far better to select the issues that match your priorities and to allocate time accordingly.  At certain points, specific questions are suggested for discussion. These questions are intended to help you focus on your own practice. About this training resource

3 Slide 3 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 This training looks at five issues. It poses questions for discussion and provides some of the commentary from the report. The questions covered are:  Do your pupils know when they are studying history and why the subject is important?  Do your pupils leave school with knowledge that is too episodic?  How can you ensure the most effective teaching in history?  How can you ensure the best learning in history?  How effectively do you meet the subject-specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? You can take the issues in any order and spend as long as you like on each one. However, we suggest that at some stage you find time to look at all five. Overview

4 Do your pupils know when they are studying history and why the subject is important? Issue 1

5 Slide 5 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Do your pupils know when they are studying history and why the subject is important? This section focuses on the identity and integrity of the subject and its importance to pupils. It will lead you to think about how your curriculum is structured and how well you ensure that the needs of individual subjects are not ignored. To start, please read this summary of an inspector’s visit to a primary school: When some pupils in Years 5 and 6 were asked by an inspector about what they had recently studied in history, there was silence. The inspector prompted them by mentioning that he thought they had studied the Ancient Greeks. A Year 6 pupil replied, ‘That’s not history – that’s topic’. Discussion points 1.How would your pupils respond in the same situation? 2.Do they know the difference between history and topic?

6 Slide 6 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Do your pupils know when they are studying history and why the subject is important? Pupils told us how much they enjoyed history. They also told us they think history is important. In our report, we link this to a key feature of the most effective history subject coordinators – ‘teachers who have a well-articulated vision for history’. Discussion points 1.If you were to ask pupils in your school why they were studying what they were studying in history, what would their answer be? 2.How do you explain the importance of history to your pupils and especially the sceptical ones? What do you or should you tell them? 3.Do you have a well articulated vision for history in your school?

7 Slide 7 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Do your pupils know when they are studying history and why the subject is important? This issue is not just about pupil perceptions. It is also about how topic work and cross-curricular work in some schools are endangering the integrity and identity of history as a subject. In the report, we noted that including history in a thematic approach did not of itself undermine the integrity of the subject. Integrated work succeeded where the development of the knowledge and thinking of each subject was emphasised. When this was done well, pupils made good progress. However, we also found that pupils’ progress in history tended to be slower in the schools visited that did not teach history as a discrete subject than in those that did. Discussion point How do you structure your curriculum so that it meets pupils’ needs and interests yet, at the same time, ensures that subjects like history retain their individual characteristics and that all pupils make good progress?

8 Slide 8 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Do your pupils know when they are studying history and why the subject is important? This slide focuses on curriculum structures and especially on history as part of a cross- curricular framework. However, if you teach discrete history please consider the issues below, as they may help you think about how to develop your own curriculum. Activity Depending on the number of teachers present, either as a whole group or in smaller groups, select a historical topic or theme you teach. Discussion points 1.When you are teaching this topic or theme, how could you better ensure that the history you cover is explicit? 2.Irrespective of how you teach history, how could you also better ensure that your planning for progression in pupils’ historical knowledge and thinking is more effective? 3.What do you want pupils at the end of Key Stage 2 to be able to know, do and understand that they could not do at the end of Key Stage 1?

9 Do your pupils leave school with knowledge that is too episodic? Issue 2

10 Slide 10 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Do your pupils leave school with knowledge that is too episodic? Politicians, academics and the media frequently complain that young people’s grasp of history is poor. Recent newspaper headlines have included ‘No children, Hitler came after 1066’ and ‘Trendy teaching is producing a generation of history numbskulls’. It is also alleged that pupils know very little about their country’s history. Discussion points 1.Do your pupils leave school with a good grasp of the history they have studied? How do you know? 2.Do you cover enough British history? Are there any topics you ought to be teaching that you don’t? 3.What are you going to do about this and how are you going to fill the gaps in your knowledge?

11 Slide 11 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Do your pupils leave school with knowledge that is too episodic? Our evidence shows that a considerable amount of British history was taught and that, by the end of Key Stage 2, pupils generally knew about topics in some depth. As they moved through the primary years, they learnt in greater detail about the different topics that they studied. However:  their chronological understanding, and in particular their understanding that the intervals between the periods they had studied varied, was no better than satisfactory  their ability to relate what they had learnt in one topic to what they discovered in another was also no better than satisfactory. This meant that many pupils ended up with an episodic knowledge of history and their sense of time was unclear. Discussion point Is this true for your school? Do your pupils leave school with an episodic knowledge of history?

12 Slide 12 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Do your pupils leave school with knowledge that is too episodic? The report recommended that primary schools should focus on developing pupils’ secure understanding of chronology, as well as improving their thinking and knowledge in history. Discussion point What more could you do to develop pupils’ chronological understanding and their ability to link what they had learnt in one topic to what they discovered in another? For example:  are time lines displayed in all your classrooms and are they accurately spaced to represent the passage of time?  do you emphasise interval (the distance between events) and duration (the length of time each event lasted) as much as you do sequence?

13 How can you ensure the most effective teaching in history? Issue 3

14 Slide 14 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Activity Write down three ways in which you ensure effective teaching in history. Please make sure you are specific about history and that you do not rely on generic aspects of effective teaching. How can you ensure the most effective teaching in history? Discussion point Discuss these lists with your immediate colleague and with the group.

15 Slide 15 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Activity Look at the next slide. It gives a list of many of the characteristics of highly effective teaching in history. This list was included in the report. How can you ensure the most effective teaching in history? Discussion point Did you and your colleagues identify all the points given? As a group and/or as individuals, select the top three things you need to concentrate on to improve teaching and to make it even better in your school.

16 Slide 16 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 How can you ensure the most effective teaching in history? The characteristics of highly effective teaching in history include:  thorough planning focused on clear subject-specific learning outcomes  opportunities for pupils to ask valid historical questions, find answers and present their work to their peers  opportunities for pupils to collaborate in questioning historical evidence  opportunities to use and evaluate artefacts and real historical evidence  careful subject-specific assessment during lessons of the progress and understanding of all pupils  thoughtful cross-curricular links which ensure that historical understanding is nurtured through other opportunities  imaginative use of the internet and the interactive whiteboard to bring variety to lessons but also to gain access to a wealth of historical resources  a creative balance between teacher-directed learning and independent learning  sensitive teaching so that pupils understand the changing views of the past, how and why interpretations and representations change, why history matters and why what they are taught is worth knowing.

17 How can you ensure the best learning in history? Issue 4

18 Slide 18 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 How can you ensure the best learning in history? Activity Study these paragraphs from the report:  The best learning in history took place when the teaching developed pupils’ historical knowledge and historical thinking and, as a result, enabled them to show their historical understanding. Historical thinking demands the ability to investigate, consider, reflect and review the events of the past. Consequently, pupils acquired historical knowledge which they learnt to communicate in an increasingly sophisticated way. Their historical understanding was revealed in the way that they communicated the developments they had studied.  Particularly effective practice was characterised by teachers who not only had good subject knowledge but also good subject pedagogy, that is, a good understanding of how pupils learn in the subject. The most effective subject pedagogy, which ensured high achievement in history, was shown by teachers whose approach focused on well-structured enquiry, embracing independent thinking and learning.

19 Slide 19 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 How can you ensure the best learning in history? Discussion points 1.How do you structure pupils’ learning in history? Think about an effective historical enquiry you have recently undertaken with a class. What made that enquiry effective? Jot down the three key characteristics that made this enquiry effective. 2.Discuss the characteristics you have selected with your colleagues. Do you all agree? Do your colleagues do anything in their historical enquires which you do not do?

20 Slide 20 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Activity Read the following slide about the way in which teachers developed pupils’ enquiry skills in history in the very best lessons observed by inspectors. How can you ensure the best learning in history? Discussion points 1.Do your historical enquiries encompass all these points? 2.Which ones do you not do? 3.How might you now amend future enquiries to ensure that your pupils experience the best learning in history?

21 Slide 21 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 How can you ensure the best learning in history?  providing a clear framework and sense of direction for the investigation  controlling the scope of pupils’ expectations and encouraging them to identify and pursue valid lines of enquiry  ensuring that research activities were matched by high levels of cognitive challenge  encouraging pupils to think for themselves and giving them sufficient time to consider what they were studying and what this told them about, for example, the importance of an event, or the consequences of an action  maintaining a relentless focus on subject-specific thinking which helped to develop pupils’ willingness to pose high-quality historical questions, propose hypotheses about the past and work things out for themselves. The report noted that, in the very best lessons seen, teachers developed pupils’ enquiry skills by:

22 How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? Issue 5

23 Slide 23 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? In this section we are going to look at the importance of meeting the training needs of all the teachers who teach history in your school, most of whom are probably non- specialists. Discussion points 1.How do you and your colleagues keep up to date on history? Jot down the two main ways you do this. 2.How does the school meet the history training needs of the teachers? Again, jot down the two main ways you do this. We are also going to consider how well you use:  the expertise available in neighbouring schools to improve history in your school  how effectively you use the expertise available in your school to help your neighbouring schools.

24 Slide 24 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 In the report we noted the near-absence of appropriate subject-specific training and judged the quality of it to be inadequate in one in three schools visited. How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? Discussion points 1.When did any of the teachers in your school last attend some subject-specific training in history? 2.On the other hand, if you have subject-specific expertise in your school, when did you last organise some training for other schools in your area?

25 Slide 25 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Although the general picture on subject training is bleak, we did come across some good practice as shown on the next slide. How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? Discussion points Compare this list with your own lists. 1.Which of these approaches have you used in the last year? 2.If you are not doing any of our examples, what are you doing to ensure improvement?

26 Slide 26 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? The characteristics of good or outstanding training seen in the schools visited included:  in-house training involving subject-specific sessions led by the subject coordinator  taking opportunities to observe colleagues teaching in their own school and in neighbouring schools and sharing the good practice witnessed  high-quality, external subject-specific training which was later shared systematically and comprehensively with colleagues in school  regular use of membership of the Historical Association (including its magazines and monthly newsletters for primary teachers and its online professional development guidance)  working with colleagues from a neighbouring primary school or schools which had a history subject specialist to create teaching materials  working with history specialist teachers from neighbouring secondary schools on improving teachers’ subject knowledge and on developing teaching resource packs.

27 Slide 27 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? The report recommends that all schools should develop formal and informal networks, clusters and federations to provide greater opportunities for teachers of history to work together on subject-specific training. Discussion points 1.If you have subject-specific expertise in your school, what are you going to do to support improvement in the schools in your area? 2.If you haven’t any subject expertise in your school, what more can you do to improve subject-specific history training for the teachers in your school that is appropriate and cost-effective? For example, do you know where the primary history specialists are in your area and which are the best secondary schools for history teaching within a 10- or 20-mile radius of your school? Ofsted publishes lists of schools which have been judged to be outstanding in subject surveys. You can access this list at:

28 Summary and conclusion

29 Slide 29 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 Please consider this question as your summary task: Summary task Discussion point What three priorities and accompanying actions do you now have for improving history in your school as a result of the discussions in which you have just been engaged? To help you in this, we suggest you look at the specific criteria we use to judge history on subject inspections. You can find this material on Ofsted’s website: and-supplementary-subject-specific-guidance-for- inspectors-making-judgements

30 Slide 30 of 30 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (primary schools) January 2012 We hope you have found this resource helpful in prompting discussion about how to improve provision and outcomes for young people in history in your school. There is much more in the report History for all, which can be found on Ofsted’s website: You will also find examples of good practice on Ofsted’s website: We welcome comments on this training resource. Please write to and ensure that you put ‘History Professional Development Materials’ in the subject box of your Conclusion


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