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WOW! GCSE History 2014

Friday, November 22, 2013

Launches London - 13 June 2014...

WOW! History is a brand new CPD course that will provide teachers with a fantastic collection of resources that can be used immediately in the GCSE History classroom.

We've asked a superb team of experienced and passionate History teachers to develop their best-ever lesson resources for GCSE History. The result is a superb collection of teaching resources that students will find engaging, challenging and enjoyable.

Further information about the contributors and resources provided on the course will be added to this blog entry in the near future.

The inaugural WOW! GCSE History will take place in Central London on 13 June 2014.

You can make provisional bookings for the inaugural WOW! GCSE History 2014 course now using this online booking form..

A printable booking form can also be downloaded here

Violence in the Middle Ages…and Other Interesting Facts

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ian Mortimer is a godsend for history teachers trying to encourage reluctant students to do a bit of reading.  He has an engaging, vivid style, enjoys the story and also seeks out the sort of historical nuggets that still elude textbooks.  And unlike the stroppy Terry Deary he probably doesn’t mind his books being used in classes, or recommended by teachers.

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Untold Stories: Survivors of the Rwandan genocide interviewed by students

Sunday, January 30, 2011

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Survivors Fund (SURF) has launched a new education microsite which conveys the untold stories of an array of UK-based survivors of the Rwandan genocide through film.

The microsite features excerpts of interviews with an array of UK-based survivors, all of whom are playing an active role in raising awareness of the genocide and the situation of survivors today as part of SURF’s Speaking2Survivors project. Supplementing the interviews are a series of specially designed lesson activities.

The King’s Speech, Hollywood History And An Unconstitutional Act

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hollywood is in love with the British monarchy again.  The King’s Speech is the surprise Oscar nominee that seems to be sweeping all before it with a heart-warming tale of a reluctant king over-coming his stammer to lead his country in defiance against one of the twentieth century’s worst monsters.  There’s even a cameo for Britain’s Greatest Ever Prime Minister, as he offers sage advice to the introverted future monarch.  Well, quite.  Just as the film is beautifully made, wonderfully directed and sublimely acted, and rightly on course for its Oscars, it also manages to show just how much history is surrendered to art in the making of historical dramas.  A backlash is already beginning against its re-writing of history, and few are more trenchant than British ex-pat and enfant terrible, Christopher Hitchens, in this article for online magazine Slate.

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Warfare (1) - Auction House Starter Activity

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Many thanks to Andy Lawrence for producing this Auction House starter activity quiz on warfare…

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Starter Activity - Cold War Wipeout Challenge

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here’s a great starter activity from Andy Lawrence using tutor2u’s Wipeout Challenge quiz format…

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Scotlands History - Curriculum for Excellence - Launched

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A major new teaching resource to support learners covering Scotland’s history has just been launched.  As part of Curriculum for Excellence, Scotland’s History covers a broad range of curriculum topics, from Scotland’s early history right up to the 21st Century.  Well worth a look

The Day the Wall Fell (BBC Radio 2- Tuesday 3 Nov)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A quick heads up about a programme on Radio 2 next week.

According to the programme guide:

Jeremy Vine marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by looking at its history, from construction in 1961, to the day it was finally breached on 9 November 1989.

Jeremy visits the city to examine what remains of the Wall and speaks to those who lived on both sides - East and West. He visits some of the key locations in the Wall’s history including Checkpoint Charlie; the Brandenburg Gate; Bernauer Strasse, which was cut in two in 1961; and Mauerstrasse, where the largest remaining section of the Wall exists today. Jeremy explores why the Wall went up in the first place, why it came down and asks whether the psychological scars of a divided Germany still remain.

The programme contains firsthand testimony from Germans who escaped from the East and those who helped them. It also considers what it was like to live in a state controlled by the secret police or Stasi and hears from a political reformer who was held in the notorious Hohenschönhausen prison. He considers to what extent the phenomenon of “ostalgie” or nostalgia for life in the former East Germany still exists, particularly as some former Stasi and government officials have prospered since the Wall came down 20 years ago.

There are interviews with escapee Joachim Neuman, who spent two years working on tunnels under the Wall to bring his girlfriend to the West; and escapee Irmgard Muller, who escaped from East Berlin under a false passport to be with her husband. We also hear from West Berliner Horst Seeliger, who was in East Berlin on November 9 1989, and one of the first people to cross back through the border into the West; and Vera Lengsfeld, an East German reformist politician who was imprisoned by the Stasi.

Additional contributors include historian Frederick Taylor; Sunday Times journalist Peter Millar and veteran BBC reporter Brian Hanrahan, who both covered the fall of the wall; and Ben Bradshaw, Secretary Of State for Culture, Media & Sport, who was a young BBC reporter in Berlin in 1989.

Great War battlefields trips recommendation: The Road To Passchendaele

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Like many colleagues we’ve been taking large groups of Year 9 pupils to the First World War battlefields for many years. Only this year did we discover the fantastic ‘Road To Passchendaele’ experience. This allows groups to dress up as Great War soldiers, eat what they ate and be guided along the route taken by Australians on October 4th 1917 as they attacked German positions. Because we had a large group we couldn’t don the uniforms but the tour was magnificent and worked its way from Zonnebeke to Tyne Cot. I’d recommend it to any colleagues planning a trip. Further details here

The Wall Street Crash - Interactive Guide

Friday, October 23, 2009

On the 80th anniversary of the Wall Street Crash, the Guardian has produced this excellent interactive guide to the events in 1929.

Berlin Wall - BBC Archive now available online

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A terrific resource from the BBC archive has recently been updated and upgraded.  The Berlin Wall archive contains a rich collections of video and audio clips explaining the entire history of the Berlin Wall.  An essential AV resource.

Visit the BBC Archive on the Berlin Wall

Cold War Wildcard GCSE Quizzes

Monday, October 19, 2009

Test your knowledge of key names, events and concepts in the history of the Cold War with these four “wildcard”-style quizzes.  We give you a partially completed term.  Your task is to complete it.

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GCSE Superpower Relations: Quizzes

Here is a collection of interactive multiple choice quizzes which help students test their knowledge of the Superpower conflicts:

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Free CPD for teachers of the Holocaust.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Free to secondary school teachers

Places are available free of charge to every state secondary and middle school in England. And the programme workshops are delivered regionally by world-recognised experts. For workshop participants, the CPD also offers distance learning through a Virtual Learning Environment which provides on-going resources and development opportunities.

CPD participants can also become part of a network of Holocaust educators, and a community of enquiry and exchange, with access to a set of online resources and support materials which will continue to grow and develop.

Benefits of the 2 day workshop
The CPD comprises a two day workshop. It will allow you to:

•Access effective, engaging and age-appropriate learning materials,
•Participate in regional CPD workshops at a venue near you,
•Network and share materials and expertise in an online community,
•Bring the latest developments in learning theory and Holocaust research into the classroom,
•Access national and international experts in Holocaust education,
•Continue to a Masters Level course following the CPD (optional)
Click here for more information and to apply

Black History Month 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You can download a teachers pack from BHM. Ostensibly these are for younger students but I can see the KS3 pack being very adaptable for GCSE courses, particularly the coursework and teacher assessed units on the OCR GCSE Pilot.

Looking for Anglo-Saxon evidence for OCR History GCSE Pilot?

The skill of evaluating evidence is essential for the GCSE Pilot. There is quite a paucity of evidence for the external Medieval unit. Here is an ideal opportunity to take your students to see a sample of this Treasure Trove found by a chap from my home town!
The Staffordshire Hoard contains about 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver, making it far bigger than the Sutton Hoo discovery in 1939 when 1.5kg of Anglo-Saxon gold was found near Woodbridge in Suffolk. A small selection is on show at Birmingham Museum from tomorrow until 13th October. You can also see a short video on the items at BBC Staffordshire
It is absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells,  Leslie Webster, former keeper at the British Museum’s Department of Prehistory and Europe.

Revision crosswords on the Cold War

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Events, dear boy, events.  And the Cold War period was packed full of them - so many in fact that GCSE History students can be forgiven for confusing Potsdam with Prague or Detente with the Domino Effect.

Here are a couple of revision crosswords which you might use with students to help reinforce core knowledge of what happened and when during the Cold War.  There are two crosswords - one with 10 clues and one with 20 clues.

Download the Cold War Events Crosswords

Many thanks to Andy Lawrence for producing these resources which we are about to make available as part of a comprehensive PuzzlePack on the Cold War for GCSE History students

Revision Puzzle on the Personalities of the Cold War

Do you have students who don’t know their Arms Races from their Eisenhower?

Here is a matching activity which can be used to help students test their knowledge of the main historical characters involved in the Cold War.  There are two puzzles - one has 10 people listed; the other has 15 people.  The aim is to match the person with the clue!

Download Cold War History Matching Activities


Thursday, September 17, 2009


Superb interactive and animated Historical maps.

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Happy Birthday Dr Johnson!

Tomorrow is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Dr Samuel Johnson. Dr Johnson House in his birth place, Lichfield, Staffordshire, is hosting a series of events to celebrate the occasion.
Visit Dr Johnson House site for more details.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A presentation application, which provides so much freedom.

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Educational Resources from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has lots of lesson plans, activities and worksheets to download. Take a look particularly at An Historical Enquiry for History Students (Secondary)

Apply for the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge

Apply for the new Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge.
For the purpose of the Quality Badge they define Learning Outside the Classroom as “the use of places other than the classroom for the teaching and learning of young people aged 0-19” This includes experiences that take place in:

•School grounds: for example gardening
•The local environment: for example land and streetscapes or places of worship
•Places further afield: for example museums and galleries or field study and environmental centres
•Residential places: for example summer camps or expeditions

You can also check out which establishments hold the LoTC Quality Badge when planning trips.

Pilot GCSE - Marketing Heritage - enthuse the boys!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If you are considering writing a unit on Heritage Marketing  or Presenting the Past for the GCSE History pilot have a look at The National Football Museum  We are always being challenged to enthuse those boys - this could be just what you are looking for!


GCSE Pilot - Assessment

For help assessing OCR pilot GCSE History take a look at Teacher’s TV -  KS4 History - Assessment for Learning

Schools History Project Website

Monday, September 14, 2009

The SHP promotes History as a subject and a discipline, it provides one of the two GCSE History options. The SHP website is in the process of re-construction, but does contain a number of teaching ideas and activities from leading proponents. The website provides information on the structure of the SHP; its regional advisers and fellows. The website also provides information on the conferences and educational publications which have become such an inspiration to History educators. I feel this site will become one of the essential websites for History teachers.


History Categories

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Life in Shatila

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Shatila refugee camp was established in Lebanon to temporarily house Palestinians who had fled from what became Israel during the 1948-49 war. The refugees have never been able to return. This slideshow from the BBC looks at life within the camp and makes reference to the massacre that took place here during the Israeli invasion of 1982.

Key events in the Arab-Israeli conflict: Watch the videos here

Friday, May 09, 2008

Another great resource from the BBC that will aid revision on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Watch them here.

The Marxist interpretation of history: A brief introduction

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A quick look at a school of history that sees past events in a particular way. This may be useful for those wanting to study history at university.

AJP Taylor: A brief overview

Monday, April 14, 2008

Johnny Isaac today gave our Oxbridge History group an excellent overview of AJP Taylor’s work and significance as an historian. I’ve uploaded his presentation below.

Many thanks Johnny.

View the presentation here.

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Free lunchtime lectures at the National Army Museum

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The National Army Museum holds free lectures on a military theme every Thursday. School holidays are a perfect time to go along and learn something outside of the curriculum. The next lecture, entitled ‘Six VCs before breakfast’ and delivered by Peter Doyle, tells the story of the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915. It’ll be interesting to hear whether Doyle takes the traditional ‘cock-up’ line about the landings and ensuing fighting between British, ANZAC, French and Turkish forces.

Andrew Chater’s ‘Timelines’

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This is a superb resource that enables pupils to get an overview of a thousand years of British history.

Colonel Bob Stewart recalls his experiences in Bosnia

Monday, March 03, 2008

Colonel Bob Stewart visited Hampton School this lunctime to deliver a fascinating talk about his time as commander of the 1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment in Bosnia during the brutal conflict there in the early 1990s.

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Gavin Mortimer reveals the historical writer’s craft

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gavin Mortimer, the writer of bestselling books, visited our school last week and gave our Historians an insight into the life of the historical author. Gavin, who has published books on topics as diverse as the SAS, sporting heroes of the Great War and the race to be the first female to swim the channel, revealed the painstaking process behind the researching and writing of his tomes. For his book on the SAS he had to go through a lengthy and delicate approval process before the Regiment would give him permission to talk to their veterans. After this hurdle was negotiated it was a case of flying all over the world to interview former soldiers – many of whom had not told their story since the end of the Second World War.

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Have politicians always ruined the work of soldiers? The Oxbridge Group write up

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Many thanks to Gareth Thomas for writing this up…

This week’s session mainly focussed on the effect the involvement of politicians had on peace treaties. The main questions asked were:

What makes a lasting peace treaty?
Why have so many treaties in the past failed?
Is the failure of a peace treaty due to poor planning on behalf of the main players involved, i.e. politicians?
Why do politicians tend to ‘screw up’ when it comes to peace treaties?

The session started with a detailed look at Iraq. The group was dissolved into pairs whereupon each pair would compare/contrast/discuss, and produced five reasons why the current situation in Iraq can be classed as a failure.

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Studying the Rwandan genocide: Educational resources from SURF

SURF, a charity that helps survivors of the genocide in Rwanda, has produced a series of educational resources that are available on their website. The resources, which include lesson plans, should prove useful to those who teach about this terrible tragedy.


Have politicians always destroyed the work of soldiers?

Monday, February 25, 2008

This morning we start our extra sessions for students in our school who are thinking about studying History at university. The classes are designed to broaden out pupils’ historical knowledge, understanding, their awareness of history as a discipline and to enable them to explore their own interests beyond the syllabus that we teach.

To start we’re going to look at how, over the last couple of hundred years, politicians have formalised the work of soldiers. After each major war there is nearly always a political settlement, in the form of a treaty. The question for our pupils is how far the politicians have made a settlement that has done justice to the work that the soldiers have done. Prior to the session we’ve asked the participants to research the following treaties:

Treaty of Utrecht, 1713
Treaty of Paris, 1763
Congress of Vienna, 1816
Treaty of Paris 1856
Treaty of Vereeniging, 1902
Treaty of Versailles, 1919
Yalta and Potsdam Conferences, 1945
The situation in Iraq today

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A study day at The National Army Museum: Great War technology Part One

Friday, February 22, 2008

On Tuesday our school visited The National Army Museum for a study day. After looking around the excellent galleries (our students particularly liked the exhibition looking at the experience of 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand Province. We had two lectures from the education staff. Below is the first part of a write up of the notes that I made.

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Taxpayers’ money well spent for a change

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

There have been plenty of people in the public eye recently who seem to have misused our hard earned money. Similarly, the BBC has had a rough time of late over fake phone-ins, dodgy editing and the rest. However, it maybe worth highlighting, though of not much consolation to non-historians, that the Corporation’s website has some quite excellent content that will help history students of whatever level. For once I think that our money has been wisely invested. Take a look for yourself:

The Top Ten Greatest Britons

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Not to be outdone by tutor2U’s excellent Politics blog here is a challenge you could set for your History students.  The task is to create a list of the Top Ten Greatest Britons. We’ll post an initial list and then will change it to reflect any comments that we receive. Here’s our Top Ten Greatest Britons:

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GCSE History: Can you name the key figures in the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Have a go at putting names to faces:


Guess the Cold Warrior

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Have a go at this at home or in the classroom


Cold War links

Monday, February 11, 2008

For anyone studying or teaching the Cold War the links below should help.

Useful timelines and quizzes

A good general history site and links

The BBC’s minisite

CNN’s contribution made to accompany a TV series

A typically excellent offering from the National Archives

The conflict broken down into topics

Conversations with History: Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson answers questions about his recent book and TV series ‘War of the Worlds’ on You Tube.

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UK government acts on hoax e-mail alleging the banning of Holocaust education in schools

Monday, February 04, 2008

This is an interesting story run by the BBC today that has been doing the rounds for months. Rumours have been spreading around the world through discussion boards, email and chat rooms alleging that the government is about to ban Holocaust education in schools for fear of offending Muslims. It is not. Holocaust education remains compulsory for all schools in England.


Discovering the Holocaust: http://www.blechner.com/

Friday, February 01, 2008

Studying the Holocaust can be overwhelming. Quite apart from the emotional impact of the terrible events it is the scale of the tragedy in terms of numbers of lives, the enormity of the loss, the complexity of the narrative, the breadth of the geography, the numbing myriad of perpetrator motivation and so on that makes the events so difficult to fathom. Nevertheless, I think that there are ways of understanding both the enormity of the events whilst still maintaining a connection with the human story.

As part of the Imperial War Museum’s Holocaust Education Fellowship (something that I would wholeheartedly recommend to all teachers) I’m trying to produce what I pompously call an ‘online exhibition builder’ that will, I hope, eventually be available on the IWM’s website. The important part, however, is that the source material that I am fortunate to be using comes from the unqiue Blechner archive. Essentially the archive consists of around 250 letters and documents that all tell the story of one family - a mother, father and four sons - and what happens to them during the Holocaust. Whilst the letters certainly tell the story of fear, separation, loss, desperation and hope they also hint at the overall narrative. The stories contained within the archive include depictions of deportation, transports, refugees, concentration camps, murder and escape. I would recommend a visit to the website, compiled by Anthony Blechner, that tells the tale of one family caught up in the unique tragedy…

Please visit http://www.blechner.com/

For information on the IWM’s Holocaust Education Fellowship visit http://london.iwm.org.uk/upload/pdf/FellowshipHolocaustEducation2007v1.pdf

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