Section 1: Teaching and Learning

Eight well-qualified history teachers contribute to some excellent teaching and learning.  This was demonstrated not just by lesson observation and an examination of work done but also through discussions with students covering a range of ages.  It confirmed that the teaching was motivating, focused on knowledge, skills and concepts and extremely well-monitored.  One particularly strong feature was the concerted attempt to make things relevant, to encourage independent work and research and to be self-evaluative.  Extremely good links are made with other subjects.  Good attempts are made to link local, national and international history.  There is also a strong emphasis on “issues in history” which provides a good link between past and present.   History is closely aligned with the politics teaching in the school which gives a particularly effective focus for much of the teaching. 

Year 9 and post-16 lessons were observed as part of the assessment and the teaching was lively and attempts were made to involve students in activities.  There was a strong awareness of the conceptual development as well as knowledge.  One lesson was focused on causation and the reasons for Germany’s defeat in 1918. In a very organised way, the students not only identified factors but had to substantiate them and place them in priority order and justify this hierarchy.  The methods used varied – whole class, paired and individual work.  In the sixth form class, an effective seminar approach was adopted with the teacher drawing out some high-level thinking about European witchcraft.  What was apparent here and elsewhere was the expectation that students read and prepare for lessons.  Homework is taken seriously and recorded meticulously.  Students are regularly introduced to academic scholarship.   Classrooms are in an older part of the school but they are generally neat and tidy with good display such as timelines and a celebration of the many enrichment experiences undertaken.

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