Primary History 95: Out now

The primary education journal of the Historical Association

By Kate Rigby and Damienne Clarke (editors), published 7th November 2023


Read Primary History 95

Welcome to Primary History 95! We are now well into the first term of the new school year, and it is heartening to know that children around the country will have been rediscovering the joy of history once again.

As historians we are privileged to explore the treasures of the past, using a wide range of sources to develop our knowledge, understanding and sense of period. Several articles in this edition of Primary History consider the use of different sources within the teaching of primary history. This is a relevant focus in light of the recent Ofsted history subject report ‘Rich encounters with the past’ (July, 2023), which identified the need for children to develop secure understanding about the ways in which historians use sources to construct arguments and accounts about the past.

Making reference to the report, Ailsa Fidler and Chris Russell provide an extremely helpful overview of the use of historical sources. Their article not only provides practical guidance for investigating sources in the classroom, but also considers how far children can replicate the role of the historian. Tim Lomas provides another excellent piece exploring more unusual sources of evidence we can use in the classroom. From medical maps to court rolls and quarter session records, he provides some thought-provoking ideas for developing your historical enquiries. Clare Lally continues the focus with her interesting article on the use of inventories in Key Stage 2.

Many of us are currently working on diversifying our history curriculum provision and Kate Loveman and James Harrow provide a wonderful example of incorporating disability history into the Great Fire of London. Our poster for this edition is linked with this article and takes the form of a pull-out mini comic for children (created by the Reimagining the Restoration project, and available on the Museum of London website). Similarly, Richard Harris explores decolonising our teaching of Ancient Egypt in his fascinating article, ‘Why are there so many mummies in Western Museums?’. Both of these articles give teachers opportunities to explore how two very popular aspects of history in primary schools can be meaningfully enhanced and diversified.

For our youngest children, Karin Doull explores how we can learn about local history in the early years. Helen Crawford and Sandra Kirkland build on this with their article about using schools as part of a study of changes within living memory in Key Stage 1. Continuing the theme, Paul Bracey provides a fascinating suggestion for exploring schooling through the ages as part of a post-1066 topic, providing a natural link with Helen’s and Sandra’s article. It is certainly lovely to see how a single concept can be developed throughout the school and ideas from these articles could be combined to provide inspiration for a whole-school topic.

For those of you who are primary history subject leaders, or indeed anyone looking for something specific from the Primary History journal, we would like to draw your attention to a very useful resource on the HA website. Under the ‘Subject Leader Area’ section of the primary section of the website is a link to a multi-page article entitled ‘Primary History Articles for the School History Subject Leader’. Here you will find a resource providing a detailed listing of articles under themed headings. Click on the relevant heading to find articles on a particular topic, gain awareness of a specific aspect, or collate articles to provide training for colleagues. Each of the headings has various sub-headings to make finding what you are looking for even easier. Articles are largely listed in chronological order and start with those published after the current Primary History National Curriculum (2014). Many thanks to Tim Lomas for putting together such an effective resource.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Primary History. If there is any aspect you would like Primary History to explore further, then please let us know so that we can include an article or resource in a future edition. Also, if you are interested in contributing to a future edition, please do contact us with your ideas. We would love to hear from you.