Commentary - 7 minute read
Mike Goddard, OCR History Subject Advisor
It was a real honour to participate in Cambridge Assessment’s podcast on the history curriculum in the UK, and the role which we can and have played in promoting a curriculum that is inclusive of everyone’s stories, regardless of ethnicity.
If you have been inspired by our podcast to look further into teaching these options, the purpose of this blog is to help you by gathering together a few key links, suggesting where to look next.
Two inspiring teachers, Sitara Amin of Downham Market Academy, and Clare Broomfield of Villiers High School, joined Sundeep Lidher, historian and co-lead on the award-winning Our Migration Story website (a collaboration between Runnymede and the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge), to discuss the challenges and importance of teaching a diverse and inclusive history curriculum.
Both Sitara and Claire, in schools with very differing ethnic make up, teach our Migration to Britain option at GCSE. Their insights into teaching the course will be useful for anyone considering it.
As Sitara has said, "The course has brought an understanding of not only migration but issues facing BAME students and communities. This has been so important when teaching up in a rural community with a very small BAME community as we can challenge the stereotypes surrounding race and immigration constantly."
This is clearly so important, and has of course been thrown into focus this summer by the Black Lives Matter protests and calls for a decolonised curriculum.
The obvious starting point is the specifications. Both our History A and History B (Schools History Project) specs contain migration to Britain options.
From there I would go straight to Runnymede’s brilliant website. There is a wealth of inspiring content, curated from leading researchers. It really underlines the point that Sundeep makes in our podcast: that the course sits upon a very solid base of academic research – and that academic integrity is fundamental to its design. In addition to the academic content there is advice on how to talk about migration, individual lesson plans, and other resources.
On the theme of academic rigour, the England’s Immigrants website (University of York, National Archives, and University of Sheffield) is key to exploring the medieval sections of the course content, and is also essential for your planning.
That particular website features in the textbooks available from Hodder - the Schools History Project book, and the History A textbook.
We have suggested schemes of work on our website, both for History A and History B. And whichever of those you’re interested in teaching (or do teach), check out Martin Spafford’s brilliant teacher guides to South Shields and Spitalfields (the set site for History A) in the planning and teaching section of our History A webpages.
Martin, along with his BASA colleagues, especially Prof Hakim Adi, Marika Sherwood, and Dan Lyndon, were instrumental in developing the course after we approached them way back in 2013. And the reception since has been inspiring.
We’ve been able to create great partnerships: not only Sundeep and her colleagues at Runnymede’s Our Migration Story website, but also the Migration Museum, with whom we’ve been proud to run a competition that has produced some truly inspiring entries. The Migration Museum’s educational outreach programme is excellent, and we’re both looking forward to announcing 2020’s competition winners later this year.
And of course the conversation is going on more widely. In our podcast Clare referred to the following organisations, all doing vital work in this area:
Schools History Project
The landmark report on race and the UK history profession that Sundeep discusses can be accessed at Royal Historical Society website.
You can read Runnymede’s call for 7 actions to change the history curriculum.
The best starting point for our own African Kingdoms A Level option is the website compiled by Dr Toby Green of Kings College London.
I hope that you found the podcast informative and thought-provoking. There is a lot more that can be done with the history curriculum as a whole, and while we are proud to be the first exam board to announce a topic on migration in history, recognises this and welcomes the conversation.
Considering teaching the Migration to Britain options is an important step. Please don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if it’s one you want to discuss further. As one of the teachers in our podcast, Sitara, says:
"Clinically, the students need to learn about the world through global citizenship and British values but actually this goes beyond this. The students are developing a knowledge of the world and this has really helped them further. The students as historians are challenged - the exam question styles are brilliant and allow for frequent argument throughout each question... As historians it is more important though to learn about all of the world, and as a BAME woman, this is so important to me. School history has a tendency to be very Anglocentric and this is a brilliant way of introducing topic and broadly world history into our school curriculum, as well as challenging common misconceptions around migration."
Now, more than ever, that is surely an urgent message to listen to.
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Mike Goddard, history subject advisor
Mike is a history subject advisor and has worked at OCR on the history portfolio since 2007. Previously he has held roles at Cambridge International Examinations and for an educational publisher. Mike has a degree in Economic and Social History from the University of York and a Masters in Modern History from UCL. In his spare time, he enjoys crosswords and snooker.