How case studies will help you to review, refresh and renew the history curriculum

Michael Maddison


In this session, we will discuss what subject leaders and teachers are doing in primary schools across the country to review, refresh and renew their history curricula. The session will clarify why the National Curriculum is your friend, point out the freedoms that exist, and suggest solutions to many of the common constraints that influence planning. These key aspects will be explored through case studies of different schools, and we will have the opportunity to analyse and discuss how a number of schools have reviewed, refreshed and renewed their curricula. As a result, you will hopefully leave with ideas on what changes you might make and the confidence now to make those changes.

Friday: 10.45–11.45

Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2

To support this session, Mike Maddison is looking for examples of primary history curriculum plans. As a thank you, he will provide free curriculum guidance to those selected after the conference. Find out more on the HA website.

Beyond stamps, stickers and coloured pens: a journey from marking to feedback

Deborah Hayden

Trinity Catholic School, Leamington Spa

This is a workshop based on a research project that I completed with the IoE at UCL and Ross McGill on a range of feedback techniques and how to start and develop a journey from marking to feedback within a history curriculum. A range of ready-to-use strategies will be shared, which can be implemented the very next day. Details will also be shared to ensure that these strategies fit the demands of a history curriculum: retrieval, scholarship, summative and diagnostic assessment, etc. Recent research in this field will be shared, as well as both student and staff voice in terms of the impact on student progress and, most importantly, staff welfare. This workshop was delivered at the Midlands History Forum in October 2021.

Friday: 10.45–11.45

Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Post-16
Using an enquiry-based approach to explore and critically evaluate life in Roman Britain

Jane Ainsworth

Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, Leicester; Classics for All, Leicester

Alice Case

Classics for All, London

What was life like in Roman Britain on a wet Tuesday morning for a Bulgarian soldier serving the Empire in Roman Colchester, or for a young child living at Vindolanda? In collaboration with several higher education research partners, the charity Classics for All has developed a range of pioneering enquiry-based resources that support the Key Stage 2 primary history curriculum and encourage pupils to use critical thinking skills to ask and answer questions about everyday life in Roman Britain. We will discuss strategies for engaging pupils with and encouraging them to critically evaluate a range of primary source materials that reveal a diverse picture of life in Roman Britain on a local level. We will also demonstrate how your pupils’ enquiry-based work can be formally accredited and rewarded through a new Independent Project Qualification. 

Friday: 12.00–13.00

Key Stage 2

Supporting children with SEND in history lessons

Sue Temple

University of Cumbria, Carlisle

Similar to the session last year in Bristol, we will explore some ways in which to support primary-aged children with SEND in history lessons, using a variety of approaches. We will consider some theory but most of the session will be practical things that you can incorporate in your lessons or things to think about when you are planning your lessons. We will be exploring how teachers can support children with concentration, speaking and listening, and reading and writing, but not children who would typically be taught in a PRU or SEND school. EAL children would also benefit from some of the activities and approaches considered. 

Friday: 12.00–13.00

Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2

Tangible history: centring material objects and artefacts in the curriculum

Sasha Smith

Sir Robert Pattinson Academy, Lincoln

Sarah Longair

University of Lincoln

How can we teach the micro histories of objects as a tool to illuminate the macro? In this session, we will explore the value of material objects as a medium for understanding wider histories, as well as how to build a curriculum supported by objects. The session will spotlight how a third-year undergraduate course from Dr Sarah Longair has been used to create a scheme of learning for Key Stage 3 by Sasha Smith to create an object-centred, challenging and ambitious course, to inspire and enliven history students’ learning. The session will also include practical examples demonstrating how objects and artefacts can be successfully used to supplement the Key Stage 3 curriculum, from Viking archaeology to the Partition of India. 

Friday: 12.00–13.00

Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Post-16, Teacher educators

Teaching about ‘these islands’: implications for planning and teaching in the primary classroom

Paul Bracey

Consultant; Historical Association Primary Committee

The first aim in the National Curriculum indicates that pupils should ‘Know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative from the earliest times to the present day…’ What do we mean by ‘these islands’? What are the implications of this for the way in which we plan and teach history in the primary classroom? This workshop will particularly focus on ways in which these questions can be addressed at Key Stage 2, using examples from prehistoric time to the more recent past.

Friday: 14.00–15.00

Key Stage 2

Developing disciplinary knowledge in history

Juli Ryzop and Alex Pethick

Knowledge Schools Trust, London

This session will focus on how we can develop disciplinary knowledge through a knowledge-rich primary curriculum. We will look at how we can ensure that children build a deep understanding of the discipline of history, including how historians study the past and construct accounts. Using examples from the Knowledge Schools Trust Primaries, we will look at how a well-sequenced, specified curriculum can build disciplinary knowledge from Early Years to Year 6.

Friday: 14.00–15.00

Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Key Stage 3, Teacher educators

Understanding the ‘meanwhile’ – teaching global chronology in primary history

Nick Latham

University of the West of England, Bristol

This practical session will showcase ways in which to engage children in chronology with a global perspective, and beyond the realms of the Anglo-centric areas of the National Curriculum. We know that the Romans left Britain in A.D.410 but what was the global context of the time? What was happening in Asia? In Africa? What about the rest of Europe? Were there any links between these regions? This session intends to inspire teachers and give them tools and ideas with which to give their children the ‘big picture’ when beginning a new unit of history learning.

Friday: 14.00–15.00

Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition

What/who/where to cover in Key Stage 1 local history?

Chris Trevor


How do you decide which ‘significant historical events, people and places in their own locality’ to include in your Key Stage 1 curriculum?

This session will provide guidance and step-by-step suggestions for making this National Curriculum requirement engaging for teachers and children alike. There will be time for discussion and suggestions, whether you are a face-to-face delegate or -you are watching ‘live’ as a virtual delegate online, via the chat option. Opportunities for delegates to share good practice on their chosen specific suggestions for their own schools will be provided, offering ideas and inspiration so that you can apply the same thought processes when making your own selections in your own locality. Chris will share websites and Historical Association resources that will support your Key Stage 1 local history, wherever you are!

Friday: 16.30–17.30

Key Stage 1

Why is it intimidating to teach Black and Brown history?
Paula Sofowora

Author and lawyer

Why is it intimidating to teach Black and Brown history and how can you make the subject more expansive and engaging? Paula Sofowora shares personal insights into her life growing up as a British Nigerian in the UK, including being fostered as a baby by an English family, attending private boarding school aged six, and how, against all odds, she was called to the English Bar and is now a self-publisher of multicultural children’s books. In this interactive session, Paula will explore why it may be intimidating to teach Black and Brown history, and how you might overcome this in the classroom. She will discuss why it is important to understand privilege, challenge negative stereotypes and never judge a book by its cover, and illustrate what difference this might make with two case studies: Olaudah Equiano and the Kingdom of Benin.

Friday: 16.30–17.30

Key Stage 2

Dialogue in the primary classroom and children’s fluency with substantive historical vocabulary

Patricia Hannam

University of Exeter, Exeter

In this interactive workshop, Pat opens a conversation about the role that dialogue can play in the history classroom (primary and secondary). This is especially so that children and young people can become increasingly fluent in the use of substantive historical vocabulary. The workshop will have practical elements and introduce supporting theory and international research. She discusses the contribution that dialogue can make to children and young people becoming increasingly aware of the significance of context and nuanced meanings of substantive vocabulary, such as civilisation, empire, conquest, invasion, monarchy and sovereignty. Educationally, Pat is interested in how all this will contribute to children and young people gaining big-picture, broad and deep historical consciousness, able to speak and think well as they emerge into our shared world.  

Friday: 16.30–17.30

Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Post-16, Teacher educators

Early Islamic history – fascinating, relevant and powerful to teach!

Stuart Tiffany


The session introduces delegates to the early Islamic civilisation as part of the non-European study requirement of the National Curriculum, and discusses why it’s a brilliant unit of history to teach. The session has the following structure:

1) Chronologically, where does the civilisation sit alongside the wider primary history curriculum?
2) Geographically, where did the civilisation begin and expand over?
3) Enquiry questions that can lead the study 
4) What was it like to be a Muslim and a non-Muslim within the civilisation?
5) The Abbasids and the remarkable city of Baghdad
6) Links to the taught narrative of British history
7) Why I adore this unit of history!

 The session will be a combination of lecture-style delivery and workshop to convey aspects of theory and how this can look in the classroom. 

Saturday: 10.45–11.45

Key Stage 2

Exploring ideas of sustainability through environmental and landscape history

Karin Doull


Increasing emphasis is being placed on the importance of teaching children about climate change and sustainability. History too can contribute to children’s understanding of these concepts. It provides the ‘long view’ that enables to children to put human interactions with the environment into a context. It allows them to explore the actions of past societies and look for similarities and differences. This workshop will present some key ideas around environmental and landscape history. It will suggest some practical activities that can be used in the primary classroom to help children look at humans’ past interactions with their environment. It will also make links across the curriculum, allowing children to investigate the relationship of people in the past with their world and tracing connections from past to present.

Saturday: 10.45–11.45

Key Stage 2

Harnessing the power of objects: building an enquiry around artefacts

Emmy Quinn

Newminster Middle School, Morpeth

Artefacts can give students a unique and valuable insight into the time period that they are studying, but they are often neglected and are rarely the main focus. This session will showcase an enquiry on Ancient Egypt, centred around artefacts from the tomb of an Egyptian architect and his wife (Kha and Merit) and how they give an insight into the lives of ordinary Egyptians. Attendees will come away with practical ideas about how to use artefacts in lessons and take a different look at a popular topic. The session will also consider how using artefacts can give students an insight into the work of historians, archaeologists and museums, as well as the contested ownership of artefacts. The adaptability of this approach will be demonstrated through its application to other topics, such as the Kingdom of Benin and the Vikings in Britain.

Saturday: 10.45–11.45

Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Key Stage 3

Why is it important to have rivers flowing through your primary history curriculum?
Chris Trevor


This session will look at how settlements on rivers could be a substantive concept or ‘golden thread’ that flows through the Key Stage 2 history curriculum, from prehistoric times to the present day, and with meaningful links to Key Stage 2 geography locational and place knowledge, geographical skills and fieldwork. Key Stage 1 may incorporate significant events in their local history, e.g. the opening of bridges, or how a river can play an important role in the past, e.g. the Great Fire of London. There will be regular references to National Curriculum global history units and suggestions about how to make strong links to your own local history and the geographical setting of your local town or city, providing cohesion in your curriculum. Time will be provided for discussion and interactive activities, which you can use in your classroom.

Saturday: 12.00–13.00

Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2

Into the unknown – a study of explorers at Key Stages 1 and 2

Susie Townsend

University of Roehampton, London

The world of exploration  is a fascinating topic to teach, but what do we mean by an explorer and how can we use this theme to introduce greater diversity to Key Stage 1 and 2? 

This session focuses on how to develop children’s understanding of first-order concepts and allow them to look at history from a more global perspective. It challenges stereotypical views and develops subject knowledge through group discussion and layered learning.   Reading, role play and revelry – it should all be present in this interactive workshop!

Saturday: 12.00–13.00

Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2

What is history teaching now?

Alex Fairlamb

King’s Priory School, Tynemouth
Rachel Ball

Co-op Academy Walkden, Walkden

What are the issues that history teachers and leaders of history currently experience when constructing curriculums, implementing them and evaluating their impact? This is a workshop focused on discussing current issues within history teaching, in terms of teaching disciplinary concepts and substantive concepts. The session will also explore other areas such as literacy and oracy in history, leadership of history and transition. Moreover, it will look at lesser-taught topics in history and how we can approach incorporating them within curriculums. As a workshop model, the session will begin with outlining what the key issues are and then having groups read different excerpts on different issues, which will then be fed back to the group with guided questioning. Conclusions will then be drawn as to takeaways.

Saturday: 12.00–13.00

Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Post-16, Teacher educators

Linking the ancient world – Egypt, Greece and Rome

Glenn Carter

Ingleby Mill Primary School, Stockton-on-Tees; Historical Association Primary Committee

Creating meaningful links across units helps children to see that history is not simply a series of disconnected people and civilisations. By introducing concurrent people in a topic, a bevy of questions comes flooding in: Did they know about each other? What was their relationship? How similar or different were they? This helps to provide meaningful context, which also helps to build on prior learning and sets up pathways for future learning too. It also helps to cover tricky concepts like trade, taxation, conflict, migration and settlement.

Saturday: 14.00–15.00

Key Stage 2

Writing as an historian: creating robust cross-curricular links between history and English

Sarah Whitehouse

University of the West of England, Bristol

This workshop will explore how history can be used to establish robust cross-curricular links with English in order to promote children to write as historians. The focus will be on oracy and writing, and is suitable for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. You will be engaged and inspired by how a number of historical sources, including fiction texts, can be used to develop historical interpretation. The workshop will demonstrate how teachers can utilise time and these interpretations to ensure that meaningful and purposeful cross-curricular links can be made to support a range of successful writing outcomes, where children are taught to discuss, inform, explain or entertain. Links will be made with the National Curriculum and the recent subject review for history.

Saturday: 14.00–15.00

Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Teacher educators

Project North Star: how can we create history projects that impact our learners and their communities?

Terence Graham

Heworth Grange, Gateshead

Shabana Marshall

St Mary’s College, Twickenham

Project North Star is a group of teachers and academics from the North East, telling Black history through a North East lens from Roman to modern times, including the region’s links to the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and its role in abolition. Project North Star links students and wider communities to their local heritage and lesser-known histories. Our session will show how we could ‘dream big’, and to work with local and international partners to create this. We will examine the pathways and the problems along the way. We’ll look at projects that you would like to create and how you can make them happen. We have links with local higher education, archives, museums, community groups, theatres, local historians and partners in the West Indies and USA. We’ll offer guidance in creating your own project, handle difficult histories and inspire you to dream big.

Saturday: 14.00–15.00

Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Cross-phase/transition, Key Stage 2

Weighing significance: what makes a turning point at Key Stage 2?

Andrew Wrenn


This practical workshop will consider how to identify and teach turning points in history at Key Stage 2, particularly taking into account National Curriculum requirements to teach a study unit that extends chronological knowledge beyond 1066. Examples of substantive knowledge will include the first railways and the Battle of Britain. Criteria for judging the significance of such turning points will be considered.

Saturday: 15.15–16.15

Key Stage 2

Referencing digital and historical mapping to develop concepts across primary history.

Judy Clarke

Leeds Trinity University

This session uses digital mapping to identify and secure links across the history and geography (primary) National Curriculum programmes of study, promoting concepts and research skills across both subjects and supporting transition to Key Stage 3. Engaging and challenging, this approach uses inclusive visual resources to develop pupil enquiries across local, national and global history. Digital (mapping) software enables pupils to evaluate and record continuity and change. Outcomes celebrate pupil achievement and provide valuable evidence for subject-focused formative and summative assessments.

Saturday: 15.15–16.15

Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Cross-phase/transition, Teacher educators

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Tel: +44 (0) 1904 702165

The Historical Association, c/o Mosaic Events
Tower House, Mill Lane, Askham Bryan, York, YO23 3FS