Choosing a topic

Primary History article

By Jane Shuter and Anita Loughrey, published 25th March 2010

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Choosing a topic, creating teaching approaches and choosing resources for historical understanding 

The Rose Report places history in the sphere of ‘Historical, Geographical and Social Understanding'. This allows for a more flexible approach to study, especially suitable for the first years of Primary teaching. It offers exciting opportunities for cross-curricular work, as long as care is taken to avoid the pitfall of over generalisation.

Choosing a Topic

The best topics are those that connect strongly, at some level (including an imaginative one) with the children that will be working on the topic. It will have to fit in with the whole school planning (for the term, the year, the rolling programme) complementing and balancing the literacy, numeracy and topic work of other classes. It is clear that suitable topics will vary from school to school. However, there are general issues to be borne in mind when choosing a topic. It may help to begin by working out what you want to get out of the topic before you chose the subject.

Have a very clear idea about the subject focus of the topic

It will be cross-curricular, but which aspect of ‘historical, geographical and social understanding' is going to be the main focus? Then, when you have chosen the topic itself, you can consider which other subjects naturally support the main subject. Don't strain to shoehorn every subject in the curriculum in - nothing will have enough time or space.

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