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History professional development materials for secondary schools

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This resource has been put together to help teachers in secondary schools improve teaching and learning of history.

This resource has been put together to help teachers in secondary schools improve teaching and learning of history.

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  • 1. Slide 1 of 33 Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: History A training resource for teachers of history in secondary schools 2012
  • 2. Slide 2 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary 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 secondary schools reflect on the main messages from the history report History for all’ published in March 2011.  Subject leaders 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 which match your priorities and to allocate time accordingly.  At certain points, specific questions are suggested for discussion. They are to help you focus on your own practice.  We will start with a short quiz about history to help you think about what you know of history teaching today. About this resource
  • 3. Some questions on history at GCSE and AS/A2 Quiz
  • 4. Slide 4 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 1. How many students sat GCSE history (full course) in 2010 in England? 2. In relation to numbers of students taking subjects at GCSE, history comes in the top 10 of subjects, but where precisely in the top 10 for 2010 does it sit? 3. What proportion of students in 2010 took history at GCSE in:  maintained schools?  independent schools?  academies? 4. What proportion of students gained at least a grade C in GCSE history in 2010? GCSE history questions
  • 5. Slide 5 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 1. How many students sat GCSE history (full course) in 2010 in England? 198,200 2. In relation to numbers of students taking subjects at GCSE, history comes in the top 10 of subjects, but where precisely in the top 10 for 2010 does it sit? Second, behind design technology, all options combined 3. What proportion of students in 2010 took history at GCSE in:  maintained schools? 30%  independent schools? 48%  academies? 20% 3. What proportion of students gained at least a grade C in GCSE history in 2010? 70% GCSE history answers Discussion point Now answer the questions for your school. If your school differs from the national average, why do you think this is the case?
  • 6. Slide 6 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 1. How many students took history in 2010 in England  at AS level?  at A level? 2. Is the trend of entries for history at A level rising or falling? 3. What proportion of students taking A level history in 2010 gained grades B and above? Post-16 history questions
  • 7. Slide 7 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 1. How many students took history in 2010 in England  at AS level? 48,000  at A level? 45,100 2. Is the trend of entries for history at A level rising or falling? Rising 3. What proportion of students taking A level history in 2010 gained grades B and above? 56% Post-16 history answers Discussion point Again, answer the questions for your school. If your school differs from the national average, why do you think this is the case?
  • 8. Slide 8 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 At what age can students give up history in England? Is it…  at the age of 13?  at the end of Key Stage 3?  at the end of Year 9? One last question
  • 9. Slide 9 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 At what age can students give up history in England? Is it…  at the age of 13?  at the end of Key Stage 3? Correct – whenever that may be.  at the end of Year 9? Answer Discussion points 1. When do students in your school give up history? 2. What particular problems does this pose for you in ensuring that you cover the full programmes of study at Key Stage 3?
  • 10. Slide 10 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 This training looks at five issues considered in the report. It poses questions for discussion and provides some of the commentary from the report. The questions covered are:  How popular is history in your school?  What history don’t you teach and why don’t you teach it?  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
  • 11. How popular is history in your school? Issue 1
  • 12. Slide 12 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 History is a popular subject in schools. We know this because students told us so. How popular is history in your school? Discussion points 1. How popular is history in your school? Apart from option choices, how do you know? 2. What can you do to make history more popular and to engage more effectively with those students who do not want to take the subject beyond Key Stage 3?
  • 13. Slide 13 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 Students also told us they think history is important. In our report, we link this to a key feature of the best history subject leaders – ‘a well-articulated vision for history’. How popular is history in your school? Discussion points 1. If you were to ask students in your school why they were studying what they were studying in history, what would their answer be? How do you know? 2. How do you explain the importance of history to your students, especially the sceptical ones? What do you or should you tell them?
  • 14. What history don’t you teach and why don’t you teach it? Issue 2
  • 15. Slide 15 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 What history don’t you teach and why don’t you teach it? 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 too little British history is taught in secondary schools. As a result, it is claimed that students know very little about their country’s history. Discussion points 1. Do your students leave school with a good grasp of the history they have studied? How do you know? 2. Are there any topics you ought to be teaching that you don’t? Why don’t you teach them? 3. What are you going to do about this and how are you going to fill the gaps?
  • 16. Slide 16 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 What history don’t you teach and why don’t you teach it? Our evidence shows that the view that too little British history is taught in secondary schools in England is a myth. Pupils in the schools visited studied a considerable amount of British history and knew a great deal about the particular topics covered. However, the large majority of the time was spent on English history rather than wider British history. The report recommends that secondary schools should ensure that pupils have a greater understanding of the history of the interrelationships of the different countries that comprise the British Isles. Discussion points 1. Do you teach British history or English history? 2. What changes do you need to make to your schemes of work to implement this recommendation?
  • 17. How can you ensure the most effective teaching in history? Issue 3
  • 18. Slide 18 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary 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.
  • 19. Slide 19 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 Activity Look at the next slide. It gives a list of many of the characteristics of highly effective teaching. 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.
  • 20. Slide 20 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 How can you ensure the most effective teaching in history? The characteristics of highly effective teaching in history include:  the development of historical thinking, analysis and evaluation at the heart of the lesson rather than as an afterthought at the end  a climate of historical enquiry in which trying to find the right answer really matters to the students and where they develop an understanding of the complexities of the past  teachers’ excellent subject knowledge, clear exposition and judicious selection of teaching strategies, including the use of ICT  a high level of challenge which obliges students to make well-considered judgements based on historical evidence that is robust and increasingly broad in its range  high-quality activities: students are engaged in presenting and developing ideas, arguing about the past and re-evaluating their historical thinking in the light of what they have been learning  sufficient opportunities for students to listen, discuss and debate historical questions and to respond thoughtfully so that others could comment  out-of-classroom activities for all students that enrich learning in history  careful monitoring of progress by teachers during lessons and regular assessment, including peer- and self-assessment, which enables students to know how well they are doing and what they have to do to improve in history.
  • 21. How can you ensure the best learning in history? Issue 4
  • 22. Slide 22 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary 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.
  • 23. Slide 23 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 How can you ensure the best learning in history? Discussion points 1. How do you structure students’ learning in history?  Think about an effective historical enquiry you have recently undertaken with a class at Key Stage 3. What made this 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 lessons when the students are undertaking enquires that you do not do?
  • 24. Slide 24 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 Activity Read the following slide about the way in which teachers developed pupils’ enquiry skills in history in the 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?
  • 25. Slide 25 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 How can you ensure the best learning in history? The report noted that, in the very best lessons seen, teachers developed pupils’ enquiry skills by:  providing a clear framework and sense of direction for the investigation  controlling the scope of students’ 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 students 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 that helped to develop students’ willingness to pose high-quality historical questions, propose hypotheses about the past and work things out for themselves.
  • 26. How effectively do you meet the training needs of all the teachers who teach history in your school? Issue 5
  • 27. Slide 27 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary 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, specialists and non-specialists. Discussion points 1. How do you and your colleagues who are subject specialists keep yourselves up to date on history? Jot down the three main ways you do this. 2. How do you meet the training needs of the non-specialists who teach history in your school? Again, jot down the three 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  the expertise available in your school to help your neighbouring schools.
  • 28. Slide 28 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? Consider this list of some of the characteristics of good or outstanding professional development seen in the schools visited: Discussion point Compare this list with your own lists. Which of these approaches have you used in the last year? If you are not doing any of our examples, what are you doing to ensure improvement?  regular in-house training involving subject-specific sessions  high-quality, external subject-specific training that was shared systematically and comprehensively with colleagues in school  regular use of membership of the Historical Association (including its magazines and monthly newsletters for secondary teachers and its online professional development guidance)  attendance at training sessions by examination boards  active encouragement of teachers to become examiners and moderators at GCSE and/or A level and to use the expertise gained in school to help students and teachers.
  • 29. Slide 29 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? In the report we noted that the most effective departments were aware of training needs, recognised the importance of self-help and had effective links with neighbouring schools, either within a local cluster or as part of a local authority network. Examples of good practice included teachers: Discussion point Which of these approaches have you used in the last year?  deciding to make links with a local school for the purposes of improving moderation of assessments at Key Stage 3  combining with colleagues in other schools in the area who taught the same examination course to invite the Chief Examiner to conduct a training session about their concerns in preparing students for the examination  using their own expertise in joining teachers from neighbouring schools to discuss concerns and advise each other, following a survey of what training they might offer  taking opportunities to observe colleagues teaching, in their own school and in neighbouring schools.
  • 30. Slide 30 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary schools) January 2012 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. How effectively do you meet the subject- specific history training needs of the teachers in your school? Discussion point What more can you do to improve training for specialists and non-specialists in your school and to support your neighbouring schools, especially the primary schools, that is appropriate and cost-effective? For example, do you know the best departments for history teaching within a 10- or 20-mile radius of your school? Ofsted publishes lists of schools that have been judged to be outstanding in subject surveys. You can access this list at: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools/for- schools/about-our-survey-reports
  • 31. Summary and conclusion
  • 32. Slide 32 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary 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: www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/generic-grade-descriptors- and-supplementary-subject-specific-guidance-for- inspectors-making-judgements
  • 33. Slide 33 of 33Ofsted’s subject professional development materials: history (secondary 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 History for all report, which can be found on Ofsted’s website: www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/090223 You will also find examples of good practice on Ofsted’s website: www.goodpractice.ofsted.gov.uk We welcome comments on this training resource. Please write to enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk and ensure that you put ‘History Professional Development Materials’ in the subject box of your email. Conclusion

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