Effective Department

As a subject leader, building an effective department can be daunting. Even for an experienced subject leader, there are many considerations to make depending upon the nature of the school, the staff and resources that you are able to use. An effective department will be one that shares and reflects, researches and acts upon it. One that sees the bigger picture, shares a vision and plans for it. One that seeks learning and development and shares it. Based upon teacher and history education research, Teaching History journal plays a vital role in the development of any history department.  In this section, you will find research articles and resources to support the pedagogy of an effective department as well as resources and research aimed at building and becoming an effective department.

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  • Achieving higher-order thinking with sixth-form

    Article

    Hark the herald tables sing! Achieving higher-order thinking with a chorus of sixth-form pupils On 9 April 1930, a philanthropist called Edward Harkness donated millions of dollars to the Phillips Exeter Academy in the USA. He hoped that his donation could be used to find a new way for students to sit around a table...

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  • Assessment after levels

    Article

    Ten years ago, two heads of department in contrasting schools presented a powerfully-argued case for resisting the use of level descriptions within their assessment regimes. Influenced both by research into the nature of children's historical thinking and by principles of assessment for learning, Sally Burnham and Geraint Brown argued that...

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  • Building meaningful models of progression

    Article

    Setting us free? Building meaningful models of progression for a ‘post-levels' world Alex Ford was thrilled by the prospect of freedom offered to history departments in England by the abolition of level descriptions within the National Curriculum. After analysing the range of competing purposes that the level  descriptions were previously...

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  • Departmental Health Check

    Multipage Article

    If you are a new teacher or head of department, sometimes making sense of Ofsted criteria and relating it to your own departmental practice can be a daunting prospect. It can be difficult to see the difference between one grade and another and where you can improve. We at the...

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  • Engaging with each other: how interactions between teachers inform professional practice

    Article

    What kinds of interaction take place in a history department? What might be their value? Between 1999 and 2003, Simon Letman, then history teacher and Director of Studies at The Royal Hospital School in Ipswich, set out to discover how the rich variety of between-teacher- interactions, so much a feature...

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  • How history teachers can support their own and others' continued professional learning

    Article

    ‘If I wasn't learning anything new about teaching I would have left it by now!' How history teachers can support their own and others' continued professional learningKatharine Burn has a longstanding interest in history teachers' professional learning - not just the ways in which experienced teachers can support beginners, but...

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  • Low-stakes testing

    Article

    The emphasis on the power of secure substantive knowledge reflected in recent curriculum reforms has prompted considerable interest in strategies to help students retain and deploy such knowledge effectively. One strategy that has been strongly endorsed by some cognitive psychologists is regular testing; an idea that Nick Dennis set out...

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  • Move Me On 159: Writing Frames

    Article

    This issue's problem: Hannah Mitchell would like to wean pupils off the use of writing frames. Hannah Mitchell has embarked on her PGCE training after a year spent working as a Teaching Assistant. Her varied experiences in that role - sometimes working one-to-one with young people, within a targeted intervention programme,...

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  • Nurturing aspirations for Oxbridge

    Article

    An exploration of the impact of university preparation classes on sixth-form historians Frustrated by the low numbers of students from her comprehensive state school who expressed any interest in applying to Oxford or Cambridge to study history, Lucy Hemsley set out to explore ways in which she might both inspire...

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  • Practical Ways To Raise Achievement in the GCSE History Classroom.

    Article

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  • Professional wrestling in the history department: a case study in planning the teaching of the British Empire at key stage 3

    Article

    Three years ago (TH 99, Curriculum Planning Edition), Michael Riley illustrated ways in which history departments could exploit the increased flexibility of the revised National Curriculum. He showed that precisely-worded enquiry questions, positioned thoughtfully across the Key Stage, help to ensure progression, challenge and coherence. His picturesque image for this...

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  • Running a history department for dummies

    Article

    Running a history department for dummiesBarbara HibbertFormer Head of History at Harrogate Grammar SchoolThis is not a session on how to set and achieve targets or how to meet the latest demands of your SLT, but rather some tips for new and aspiring subject leaders on how to market their...

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  • Tracking the health of history in England’s secondary schools

    Article

    In 2009 the Historical Association conducted the first of what has become an annual survey of history teachers in England. Its aim was to get beyond bare statistics relating to subject uptake and examination success to examine the reality of history teaching across all kinds of schools and to map...

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  • What Does the English Baccalaureate mean for me?

    Article

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  • What does SLT need to know?

    Article

    This workshop took place at the HA Annual Conference May 2017 in Manchester. Christine Counsell, The Inspiration Trust Frustrated by whole-school policies which might make sense in generic terms but which create profound distortions where history is concerned and compromise excellence and access? All middle managers need to report to SLT...

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