Right up my street: the knowledge needed to plan a local history enquiry

Journal article

Katharine Burn and Jason Todd, last updated: 23rd March 2018

Planning a local history enquiry

Inspired by the claim that local history can be taught effectively ‘Any time, any place, anywhere’, Katharine Burn and Jason Todd took up the challenge of planning Key Stage 3 enquiries related to an unusual and diverse, but frequently neglected and often despised, corner of Oxford. They sought not merely to develop the kinds of enquiry that would equip Key Stage 3 students for subsequent GCSE-level study of the ‘historic environment’, but also to inspire young people with the knowledge that history did not only happen somewhere else – somewhere more important; it also happened in the places where they and their families lived and worked and they could uncover and explore it.

In this article Burn and Todd reflect on the process of planning in which they engaged with local schools, sharing advice on the conduct of local research and the identification of more unusual kinds of historical interpretation, and setting out a series of principles by which teachers might arrive at their own rationale and approach to designing such a local enquiry.

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