New, Novice or Nervous? Writing history essays

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Last updated: 3rd August 2016

Until the 1990s, it was unusual for the majority of England's secondary school students to write history essays. The traditional essay was a staple of the old History O Level examinations, but fewer than 20% of pupils did these history exams. In the 1980s, various history teachers became increasingly concerned that lower-achieving students were not being taught the very thing that they needed in order to gain an academic voice - how to write a purposeful, extended argument. These history teachers began to explore and discuss ways of teaching all 11-14-year-olds to produce formal, traditional, extended prose, and to do so with independence, enthusiasm and intrinsic purpose...

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