Primary History 74: Out Now

Journal News

By Sue Temple, published 27th October 2016

Last year I was lucky enough to visit some of the First World War battlefields in Belgium, alongside student primary teachers from the University of Cumbria and Leeds Trinity University. As well as confirming the benefits of field trips and introducing me to joint trips – something I can definitely recommend – I found the experience incredibly moving. We visited Tyne Cot Cemetery which is the largest First World War cemetery. There I was able to find the grave of a young man from my home town, who was the same age as my son and went to the same school. This was profoundly moving and in this the 100th anniversary year of the Battle of the Somme I can strongly recommend this to any teachers – your teaching definitely improves after an experience like this. This is demonstrated in the article by Steven Jolly on pp. 14-15 and some of the students who went on a similar trip earlier this year to the French battlefields. The back page image shows how some other countries and cultures commemorate and remember their fallen.

Stories of real people are so often the basis of good history – whether that is a famous person who we have all heard of like Cleopatra or the less well-known characters like Major Booth, mentioned in Ideas for Assemblies and who is portrayed in our cover image by Michael Foreman. Encouraging children to investigate and research these stories can lead to engaging and challenging primary children to really stretch themselves in their thinking.

I have been lucky enough to be one of the assessors of the Quality Mark for Primary History and through this I have visited some really inspiring schools. These schools have worked hard to adapt the history curriculum in their schools to the needs of the children – many in innovative and original ways. This might be in how they have approached their local history, or which of the various options at Key Stage 2 they have adopted. In some cases this has meant cross-curricular approaches or combining literacy and history, while in others history stands alone; but in them all truly excellent history teaching has emerged. The ‘new’ curriculum (which isn’t really new any more!) is now bedding down but as Tim Lomas referred to in the last edition many schools have stuck with what they know. In some  cases this is a sensible decision but please do not be frightened to try something a bit different – maybe a new famous person, a different aspect of a well-loved topic or even just revamping some of your activities. This edition can help with this –the article about women in Anglo-Saxon times would make the basis of an interesting viewpoint or focusing your Egyptian theme on Cleopatra could help liven things up for you and your pupils. Continuing the theme of Egyptians, our back page article looks at a mummified cat.

In this edition we have included a ‘Meet the Team’ section for you to learn more about us – we are hoping this will encourage more of you to get in touch for support in writing about the good history which is going on in your schools – we’re all happy to help!

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