Findings from the Historical Association survey of secondary school history teachers in England 2011
Authors: Dr Katharine Burn, Institute of Education and Dr Richard Harris, Southampton University
(Summary and Full Survey Report attached below)
This survey is carried out each year to monitor and evaluate history teaching and access to history in our schools. It has become the sole regular way of measuring the state of history in our schools and is the first point of call for teachers, academics, journalists and politicians wishing to use data for arguments around history teaching.
Summary of key concerns
1. Subject specialist teaching continues to disappear at Key Stage 3
For two thirds of young people their only access to specialist history teaching has been during Key Stage 3. This specialist expertise is fast disappearing in some schools, leaving many young people with little or no teaching from history graduates trained to teach the subject.
2. Time allocation in Key Stage 3
There is still a worrying trend in the numbers of schools reducing curriculum time in Year 7, particularly among the older academies (those originally established in areas of socio-economic disadvantage). Over 40% of these schools reported a decrease in curriculum time allocated to the subject - the first time in the three years the Survey has run that reported decreases in time allocation for any type of school are more frequent than answers showing no change.
3. A two-tier education system?
Overall slightly more schools were reporting an increase in history GCSE numbers, but the emerging picture suggests that some young people are still being put into more restricted "pathways" and that these young people are more likely to be in areas of greater social deprivation.
4. Some positive indicators?
Teachers broadly welcomed the introduction of the English Baccalaureate and felt that overall it would help raise the status of history. The most enthusiastic respondents to the English Baccalaureate were those teachers in old style academies; over 60% thought its impact would be essentially
Whilst largely positive, a number of teachers expressed concern that the increase in numbers taking GCSE history was not supported by any increase in staffing levels, resources or budget. A number were concerned that class sizes would increase and achievement might dip. Many echoed earlier concerns about how demand on teaching time would impact on Key Stage 3 with an increase in non-specialist teaching.
- HA Survey Summary 2011
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