Searching for the Shang in Shropshire

Primary History article

By Alun Morgan, published 5th March 2016

The introduction of the new primary curriculum in September 2014 presented a range of challenges for primary schools. Within the history orders for Key Stage 2 were new areas of study including prehistoric Britain as a compulsory study, and new optional study areas of early Islamic civilisation and Shang China. The Chinese Arts and Culture Centre has recently opened in Telford and an interesting curriculum development project was born. How could we bring Shang China to life for children in Shropshire?

Two schools were invited to take part and see if we  could make it work. Norbury CE Primary is a very small rural school in South Shropshire with 50 children on roll taught in two all-age key stage classes; Pontesbury CE Primary is a medium-sized school of 196 children taught in single-age classes. Both headteachers were keen to participate and a focus was agreed in both schools. The work was supported  by myself as history adviser and Grace Tong from the Chinese Cultural Centre, who has direct links to China, a range of cultural links to broadern any investigation and a growing collection of replica artefacts from the Shang period. An initial meeting was held in each school to explore the historical background, share the expertise of Grace, myself and the class teachers and explore ways in which the schools wished to approach the planning...

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