THE HEALTH OF HISTORY Rich encounters with the past: Ofsted history subject report July 2023


Rich encounters with the past: Ofsted history subject report July 2023

History is, perhaps, our most contentious and politically sensitive curriculum subject. When Hilary Mantel said, “the past changes a little every time we retell it”, she captured well a subject whose content is unstable, continuously changing...Read More »

The Death of Ofsted



The relationship between Ofsted and the teaching profession has always been a tortuous one. The death of the primary school headteacher, Ruth Perry, and the tensions caused by Ofsted inspections continuing while schools struggled with the chaos caused by the consequences of the pandemic have taken us...Read More »

After the Fall


The drawn-out death agonies of the present Conservative government bring to mind, for students of the humanities, the last days of the Roman Empire. Political instability and assassinations, (the year of the three Caesars). The mounting chaos, incompetence and greed and the feeling that everything is broken and...Read More »

Schooling in the shadow of the virus

Since most schools reopened in September Ofsted has departed from its role of passing judgements on schools and adopting the more supportive one of visiting schools to tell the story of how they are coping in such unprecedented times. The first of their briefing documents, reflecting visits to 121 schools,...Read More »

Examinations and the future of assessment

The continuing government emphasis on ensuring that schools remain open has not been accompanied by any parallel thought as to how the education and assessment of young people is going to be managed in the present period. The reluctance, in particular, to consider what will happen to school examinations in...Read More »


As todays undergraduate students are the humanities (and other subjects) teachers of tomorrow the welfare of todays undergraduates should be of an issue for all of us. The fate of the 2020 cohort of students and the scandalous way in which they have been treated is, therefore, a concern for...Read More »

Slavery and the English country house

The stately country houses of England have for a large part of our history been associated with the wealth and power of a ruling class. Up until 1822 they controlled access to parliamentary elections, and therefore political power, and the wealth of their owners ensured that they became centres of...Read More »

Wither Ofsted

Ofsted has been in operation since 1992 with the aim of making a contribution, through inspections, to raising standards and improving the quality of educational experience and provision. In the years that followed it has undergone many changes in its methodology and organisation most of which have improved its work...Read More »

Statues and the Humanities

The Summer of 2020 will go down in history as the year which brought the virus which brought unprecedented dislocation to the world and the year which highlighted the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement triggered by ongoing state violence towards black people in western societies and ingrained inequality has...Read More »

Black History

October is Black History month which always provides a useful reminder of the need for inclusive history teaching. As always, however, using black history month runs the risk of isolating black history and taking it out of our mainstream history teaching. Black history highlights the achievements and contributions of black...Read More »

Examinations and the Virus

The enormity of the impact of the virus on our lives has focussed attention on some of our more deeply embedded assumptions and practices. In education the closure of schools has meant the disruption of the examination system and this and the chaos surrounding the government’s attempt to manage an...Read More »

Teaching Humanities and the virus

‘The pestilence is at once blight and revelation, it brings the hidden truth of a corrupt world to the surface’ : Albert Camus ‘The Plague’

The Coronavirus pandemic is a planet changing event which will have profound effects on both our immediate and long term futures. With the end of the...Read More »

Holocaust Memorial Day 2019

Torn from home

Holocaust Memorial Day was created on 27th January 2000, the landmark date of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It has become a day of international commemoration to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust; under Nazi persecution; and in the subsequent genocides...Read More »

Grammar schools and the policy void

It’s not just the stultifying impact on policy making of the prolonged Brexit negotiations which has produced the current sterility in educational policy development. Although government time may be may be absorbed by different approaches to falling off the European economic cliff, education policy is mired in a lack of...Read More »

OFSTED discovers the curriculum

As the regulatory body for our schools, Ofsted has shown surprisingly little interest in the curriculum. Schools have been evaluated in terms of their outcomes, the quality of leadership and management, the effectiveness of teaching and the effectiveness of their provision for pupils’ welfare and personal development. The central purpose...Read More »

Global Teaching Awards

Well-deserved congratulations to Andria Zafirakou for winning the Global Teacher Award which attracted 30 thousand nominees from some 170 countries. The award not only recognises Andria’s excellence as a practitioner and as an inspirational force for her students, but as she said is a recognition of the crucially important role...Read More »

New Year - New Secretary of State for Education

It may be a sign of something but each time a new secretary of state for education is appointed it leads to a positive re-evaluation of the last one. (This is not an absolute truth, Michael Gove was held in such low esteem by just about everyone that he has to...Read More »