Aim: To give students a deeper understanding of the area they live in, and how it relates to key events in history.
Background: The History department draws staff from all around the UK, not all come from the local area. Consequently knowledge of the area is very limited. The development of high quality resources and schemes of work to incorporate local knowledge would help maintain links with the local area and enable new teachers to engage successfully with local history.
Year 1: The department reviewed schemes of work to identify areas where local history could be introduced. It was decided to focus on Year 9, particularly in regards to World War I. Links were made with a local museum to gather information about local individuals who were present at Ypres. Students completed a case study on a WW1 soldier who had worked in the area, and a trip to Ypres was organised.
Year 2: There was a continued use of WWI resources and the use of local history was extended into other year groups. The local history topic areas were expanded, including the history of Barking Abbey (to understand the Reformation) and the sinking of the Titanic (brought into focus by a local survivor, Eva Hart). Many students already knew her name because a local pub is named after her.
Year 3: The aims of this year were to refine and develop the local history units which had already been implemented, and to extend the local history units into earlier time periods, beyond the 20th century. It was also proposed to arrange a trip to the Museum of London Docklands to understand the broad issues of slavery and empire in a local context, and also to examine why the area has such great ethnic diversity.
Evidence: Schemes of work.
Impact: The focus on local history has enriched students’ understanding; their focus on the Ypres trip, for example, shifted from the trenches and battlefields to the individuals involved. Teachers have really focused on introducing local history elements, and the importance of this is consistently emphasised at departmental meetings. There is excitement among the department about a new scheme of work that will focus on the vibrant history of immigration in the borough, to help tackle the issues of problems with local far-right groups.
Reflections: We see teaching historical skills to Key Stage 3 students as a huge priority, and there continues to be focused innovation in our teaching at this level. The ethos of the department will always be focused on delivering the best outcomes for our students. The focus on local history sits well with our constant determination to ensure that history is loved by all students and relevant to all.
Contact: John Davies, email@example.com,uk