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Happy new (school) year from SHP

Dear all,

I hope that you are all well and coping with, what must be, the strangest term in all of our careers. While the priority has to be staying safe and getting through, there are still many exciting things happening at the Schools History Project which I would like to you aware of.

SHP Planning Groups

The Schools History Project has always been a curriculum project which has sought to have real and practical impacts on the lessons taught to students in school. As part of that goal, this year we have launched SHP Planning Groups. The aim is to bring together Key Stage 2 and 3 teachers, of different levels of experience, with historical experts to plan together new schemes of work that will be taught in schools this year. The process should allow the sharing historical and pedagogical knowledge and expertise, build contacts and even friendships. The idea is that the final schemes of work will, be made available on the SHP website when the project is complete. If you are interested in applying for one of the limited number of free places, details can be found on the SHP website. The application process will close on 23rd September and teachers will know if their applications has been successful by the end of September.

SHP Understanding

One of the most challenging aspects of being a history teacher is subject knowledge. Not only do teachers have to know a lot about the histories of many time periods and places, they are required to be aware about the potential difficulties involved in telling the stories of the people they are introducing to their students. In June, SHP and Leeds Trinity University’s Alex Ford did a fantastic job of helping teachers become aware of some of the complexities teachers face when teaching of the Plains Conflicts in the USA – a topic where even the terminology used to talk about the events involved requires sensitive reflection and an examination of prejudices past and present. The eye-opening online seminar he organised featured expert historians and expert teachers talking not only about the history of the period but how it can be presented to young people in ways that do justice to the people whose history was being taught.

Inspired by Alex’s work, SHP is repeating this idea under the title SHP Understanding. These three sessions will take place over the course of the academic year and address difficult and controversial topics. The first of these will be on the Early British Empire and help teachers learn this history, whilst drawing attention to some of the potential difficulties in teaching this topic.

This online event will be free to attend and details will appear on the SHP website and via our email list and Twitter feed soon.

New Teachers’ Conference, 30th January 2021

After the success of the Virtual Summer Conference last July, we have decided to put on a similar event, this time aimed at teachers of zero to five years’ experience. This online session will feature two inspiring plenary sessions, a choice of two workshops in two sessions and a round-table discussion about the particular challenges and opportunities faced by new teachers in the current climate. Tickets will go on sale soon with an early bird price of £35. Again, details will follow on the SHP website, email and Twitter.

SHP Summer Conference, 9th-11th July 2021

The SHP Conference is back! Despite the brilliance of the Virtual SHP Conference this summer, nothing can quite replace the joy of the camaraderie, support and exchange of ideas that happens at the ‘Glastonbury of the history teaching’ at Leeds every year. So, this year, the face-to-face conference will be back. The details are still being finalised, but the conference will happen in a safe and COVID-secure way at Leeds Trinity University over the weekend of the 9th-11 July.

However, we are not abandoning online: parts of the conference will be broadcast as well so those who are unable to attend can still get access to some of the best CPD in history education.

It is not just SHP that has new things to offer. I would like to draw your attention to some other great things happening at the moment.

OCR Support for the new term

OCR are keen to support teachers in this new term. They have a guide to some resources that can help available here. They are also running online Q&A sessions to help teachers of their GCSEs and A Levels. Booking for the SHP OCR GCSE can be found here.

Historical Association Conference 2020

The Historical Association has moved its annual conference online this year. The 2020 conference will take place 11-14 November. Boasting over 40 speakers, including Christine Counsell, Paula Lobo, Richard McFahn, Robin Whitburn, Sharon Aninakwa, Hannah Cusworth, Paige Richardson, Rob Nixon, Bev Forrest and Arthur Chapman, the event will feature pre-recorded lectures and live Q&A sessions. While I cannot speak to their claim that it will be “the best virtual history conference of 2020”, it does look superb and I would strongly recommend registering your interest at their website here.

Beyond Banglatown

It was with great delight that I was introduced to the Beyond Banglatown website from the Runnymede Trust, the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester and the London School of Economics. This Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded, brilliantly resourced website lets visitors explore the history of Brick Lane in London which is, as the website reminds us, “an iconic space in the history and contemporary present of the Bangladeshi community in Britain.”  

The site is designed for schools and teachers and has three really useful enquiry questions (including lesson plans) written by Martin Spafford and Hannah Cusworth.  It will not only be of interest to teachers teaching GCSEs that teach a migration unit but can be used by teachers of KS3 as well. 

To find out more, I suggest you read this blog from Sundeep Lidher.  

Migration Museum’s Migration Network

The Migration Network from the Migration Museum is a new network that aims to bring together organisations from across the UK heritage sector and beyond. They are putting together a series of events aimed at bringing people who are interested in migration and its history. The first sessions will be held online but the later ones are intended as regional face-to-face events. For more information and to register an expression of interest, please look at their website here.

The SS Officer’s Armchair by Daniel Lee

I was very pleased when a new book on Nazi Germany was recommended to me, the SS Officer’s Armchair by Daniel Lee, a lecturer in modern history at Queen Mary, University of London. It starts with a chance discovery of a Swastika-covered armchair into whose cushions had been sewn a cache of documents had been sewn. The armchair had belonged to an SS officer called Dr Robert Griesinger. From this starting point, Dr Lee follows the trail to uncover the story of a man whose ambitions led him to become a small part in the Nazi terror system. More details are available from the Penguin website here.

That just about wraps it up for this blog. If you have things that you think SHP should be promoting, please do get in touch via

All the best, stay safe and take care of yourselves,

Matt Stanford


Schools History Project