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Introducing SHP Planning Groups

We’re incredibly proud to be launching a new initiative for the next academic year, designed to support teachers in curriculum planning and subject knowledge around key topics in the history curriculum.

What are SHP Planning Groups?

  • SHP Planning Groups are groups of teachers who will work together through a six-month project to learn from each other, experienced teachers and historical experts in order to produce and share usable schemes of work and resources.
  • Each group will consist of around six members and will be chaired by a Fellow of, or the Director of, the Schools History Project.

What will it involve?

  • There is a formal programme of four online meetings that will take place between October 2020 and March 2021. However, it is hoped that informal contact between members of the groups will be more frequent than this.
  • Each of the formal sessions will include some input from either very experienced history teachers or experts in the given historical topic.
  • There will readings and/or video to watch between sessions.
  • Participating teachers will use the advice and support given to plan a sequence of lessons that is appropriate for their school.
  • We intend to make the schemes of work and resources created by participants in this project will be made available for other teachers to use free of charge.
  • At the end of the project, SHP will ask participating teachers to evaluate the project and its outcomes.

What is SHP hoping to get out of this?

  • SHP has a number of aims for this project. These are:
    • To build, widen and strengthen the history-teaching community.
    • To share best practice in enquiry planning across departments to create effective resources that will have a practical impact in classrooms.
    • To help departments address issues of curricular diversity.
    • To help the dissemination of historical scholarship and academic expertise.

What can participants hope to get out of this?

  • Access to historical and pedagogical expertise.
  • A supportive and collaborative environment in which share and shape ideas.
  • Resources that can be used in their classrooms.

Who is this for?

  • Application for this programme is open to any teacher of Key Stage 2 or 3 who:
    • wants to develop their planning skills, or,
    • wants to ‘mentor’ less-experienced teachers, or,
    • simply wants an opportunity to develop their curriculum within a supportive community.
  • In short, this is open to everyone. We will welcome applications from teachers with little experience of planning enquiry questions, from those who want reassurance that they are doing the right things, as well as from those who are confident that they have years of good practice under their belts. However, please be aware that the number of places available is limited.

What will the groups be planning?

  • The groups will help teachers plan a study in development. This is a sequence of lessons, based around an enquiry question, that looks at one idea or theme over a long period of time.
  • Each of the groups will be organised around a historical topic for instance ‘empire’, ‘race’ or ‘migration’.

Why a ‘study in development’?

  • Studies in development, or overview studies, are an effective way of broadening the chronological, geographical and thematic scope of a curriculum – something that many departments are keen to do. They can also allow students to be introduced to important substantive concepts that underpin other parts of a curriculum. They can be flexible because they can be taught at any point within an otherwise chronologically-organised curriculum. Finally, they can support and reinforce students’ chronological understanding.
  • In the future, SHP is hoping to run Planning Groups based around specific events and depth studies but, in this first, year, it is thought that this type of planning would be the most useful to the largest number of history departments.

Will everyone in the group be planning the same thing?

  • Because the groups will be organised around a historical topic, everyone in that group will be planning something around the same, or similar, historical events. However, teachers might choose to approach these topics in a variety of different ways making use of different enquiry questions to develop and assess students’ understanding of different second-order concepts. They are free to use or exclude whatever historical content suits the needs of their curriculum and their students.
  • Whether teachers work on their own within the group or choose to collaborate closely with other members is entirely up to them.

What does it cost to join?

  • Nothing. Access to the SHP Planning Groups is free to teachers who are willing to commit to the programme. However, the number of places is limited.

How do I apply?

  • Please complete this form. It will ask you for some basic background information about your practice, the topic(s) you are interested in planning around and it will ask you briefly outline your school’s context and to say, in around 500 words, what you hope to get out of this programme.
  • Please bear in mind that we looking to open this programme up to teachers with a wide range of different experiences – everyone from NQTs to Subject Leaders stands an equal chance of being selected for one of the limited number of places.

When will I hear if I my application to join has been successful?

  • You will hear before the end of September 2020 if your application has been successful.