Take one day: undertaking an in-depth local enquiry

Primary History article

By Kate Thomson and Tracey Wire, published 20th February 2021

Undertaking an in-depth local enquiry

Local history units of study provide teachers with valuable opportunities, but these can
also seem daunting. Potential challenges for teachers include the perceived overwhelming scope of the topic, difficulties in developing subject knowledge and knowing where to find resources. However, none of these is insurmountable, if teachers identify a clear learning focus and are realistic about what can be achieved. Where teachers take this approach, local history enquiries can present a rich learning experience for children.

With the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum’s heavy emphasis on early periods of history, there
are few opportunities to engage with the full range of primary sources (DfE, 2013, pp.189–192). If carefully selected, however, local history units lend themselves to work using sources such as photographs, diaries, newspapers and even oral histories. Local studies offer opportunities for pupils to work in depth. It is worth remembering that there is no statutory requirement stipulating the length of a unit of work; across a key stage, units of work do not need to be of equal length. This means that it would be acceptable to take a narrow focus in some local units, as long as clear links are made between depth and overview...

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