The Historical Association Secondary survey for 2013

Published 6th November 2013

Headline findings

For the last four years the HA sends to all schools and colleges teaching students in the 11-18 age range a survey.  The survey was sent out during the second half of the spring term 2013.

Responses were received from 557 history teachers working in different contexts including middle schools and sixth-form colleges. While some responses - such as teachers' concerns - were analysed at an individual level, multiple responses from teachers within the same school were eliminated to ensure that each school was counted only once in response to questions about the nature of provision for history at different key stages.

Key Stage 3

18% of respondents report that their school now offers a two-year Key Stage 3 programme. Its impact is felt not only in a reduced time allocation for history but also in a reduced uptake for the subject at GCSE in those schools.

Only 25% of older style academies report that all their history classes in Year 7 are taught by specialist teachers.   For comprehensives and newer academies the figure is around 45% of classes in which all teaching is provided by specialists. That means history is often taught be teachers without a history degree.

Only 55% of respondents report that pupils are taught history for more than 75 minutes a week in Year 7 (ages 11-12 years).


38% of respondents reported students are steered away from taking history GCSE compared with 31% in 2012 (and 16% in 2011). Particularly worrying is the way in which the E-Bacc measure can make students' chances of being allowed to take history dependent on their success in other E-Bacc subjects, such as Foreign Languages or Science. There is certainly no sense of national entitlement that any student who wishes to continue with the subject beyond the age of 14 has the right to do so. 

‘A' levels

Over half of respondents in schools and colleges in which ‘A' level is currently taught rejected the suggestion that new arrangements in which AS level will become an entirely separate qualification from ‘A' level would improve students' learning and better prepare them for university study.

Teachers' concerns

Many concerns relate to the pace of change and the capacity of schools (and others) to prepare adequately for them. Not only do new curricula call for new resources (which may be unavailable in the time available, or prove to be unaffordable) but they may also call for appropriate continuing professional development (CPD), which many teachers report that they cannot access.

The full survey findings are available here:

For further information contact Paula Kitching 07720809481

Attached files: