Recently a number of pleas have appeared on social media from panicked history subject leaders seeking advice on how to spend their budget allocation. While its great to see that some funds are actually being allocated to the subject, it is worrying that there is a lack of direction on how these should be spent.
This dilemma highlights the importance of you supporting your subject leader in undertaking an annual audit of resources. The evidence gathered could be used to support decision making on where funds are allocated. A review of pupil performance in the subject will also support distribution, as a lack of progress could indicate a need for new and more inspiring resources. Within the audit the range of sources and approaches used within each year group should also be checked. If these are very narrow then further resourcing should be a priority.
Rising Stars History is a knowledge rich digital resource, containing planning and resources for years 1-6. It contains all the support teachers need to confidently and flexibly teach the complete curriculum programme for Primary History.
Importantly, you can also measure and track progress with built-in assessment linked to the Rising Stars Progression Framework for History.
There is also the option to purchase the programme for your whole school or just for the year groups where support is most needed
Using objects to teach History
Rising Stars History is fully resourced with images of objects. However we would recommend using genuine objects where possible as an excellent way to motivate pupils of all ages and abilities. The cost of replica items is often the deterrent for teachers not using them more widely. Don’t let this put you off. Local museums often have a loans box service, which is relatively cheap, or in the case of Kirklees Museums in Yorkshire even free!
The beauty of some of these loans boxes like those offered by Leeds Museums and Galleries is that pupils are often given the opportunity to engage with genuine artefacts.
If there are no museum services locally then consider using a company providing loans services. One company with a good reputation nationally is Starbeck.
Rising Stars History is fully editable offering you the option to personalize the resources. To support you in undertaking this option I recommend using the frequently overlooked resources of your local archives. The local archive in West Yorkshire has a range of low cost workshops for schools on such topics as how to conserve an archive and the locality over time. They also have wealth of resources on a whole range of topics from the First World War to local schools but accessing these independently often takes time.
The Ball of String!
I took part in a fabulous activity from Susan Townsend investigating the Industrial Revolution. We passed a ball of string between us to illustrate the relationship between different groups involved in the revolution. As you can imagine with so many links we got into quite a tangle. What a great way to support understanding of a difficult concept.
So before you embark on buying lots of things that just end up cluttering the history cupboard pause and instead keep it simple and invest in resources to support quality planning. Like the ball of string sometimes a bit of imagination and creativity can bring your planning to life and provide meaningful learning experiences for your pupils.
Bev Forrest is Chair of the Historical Association Primary Committee. She is an experienced primary teacher trainer and a member of the editorial board of Primary History. She visits schools around the country in her role as a Historical Association Quality Mark assessor.