Ofsted reports in history and materials for schools  

  • Subject professional development materials: history - 27 January 2012. This resource has been put together to help teachers in primary and secondary schools improve teaching and learning by reflecting on the main messages from the report (History for all) published in March 2011.
  • History for all - 13 March 2011. This report evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of history in primary and secondary schools. It is based on evidence from history inspections between April 2007 and March 2010 in 166 maintained schools in England. Part A focuses on the key inspection findings in the context of rising standards since the previous report in 2007. Part B discusses some of the key issues facing history teachers and describes the essential components of effective learning in history. There are examples of good practice throughout building on Ofsted’s 2007 report (History in the balance).

Inspectors visit 150 schools each year to inform Ofsted’s subject surveys in English, mathematics and science. Survey visits for other subjects are less frequent but continue to take place from time to time.

Case studies of good practice in history in schools 

Making the most of local history: Cape Cornwall School - 10 September 2012. History thrives at Cape Cornwall School. Students develop excellent understanding of their local heritage and the area in which they live through regular, high-quality opportunities to study local history. They understand the importance and relevance of history with the result that take-up at Key Stage 4 is well above average. This case study describes four key components which underpin the subject’s success at the school.

Ensuring rigorous historical thinking: Cottenham Village College - 30 May 2012. Incisive teaching and comprehensive planning, combined with a highly engaging history curriculum, ensure that students develop perceptive and sophisticated thinking. Among other things, students explore the views of historians and this aids not only their knowledge and understanding but also the way in which they think about the issues they study.

Putting the local community at the heart of the Key Stage 3 history curriculum - 9 February 2012. The Key Stage 3 history curriculum is distinctive and highly imaginative. It meets students’ needs, aspirations and interests exceptionally well, and twice as many of these students choose to study history at Key Stage 4 than nationally. This is because they have an excellent understanding of history’s relevance to their own lives. The curriculum gives them a detailed insight into how the local community fits into a wider national and international history.

Developing outstanding historical thinking in primary schools: Fox Primary School - 10 January 2012. By the time they leave Fox Primary School, pupils have outstanding historical knowledge and understanding. Crucial to this success is a determination to develop historical thinking at every opportunity through first-rate teaching, an outstanding curriculum and excellent planning.

Meaningful history for all - 20 May 2011. By putting inclusion at the heart of its approach to teaching and learning, history reflects students’ needs and their context. It responds to their aspirations and it prepares them for their future as citizens in a diverse multi-cultural, multi-faith and multi-ethnic society. As a result, history is relevant. Yet it is also engaging and enjoyable, accessible and challenging.

National Lead

Dr Michael Maddison is National Lead for History and has held this post since 2008. 

Prior to his appointment as HMI in 2006, he held senior leadership positions in secondary schools in the North of England. He is an experienced teacher having taught both history and politics for over 25 years. He has had considerable examination experience at GCSE and A level, having been Assistant Principal Examiner and Senior Moderator for GCSE history with AQA from 1989 to 1996, and Principal Moderator for A level history with AQA from 1996 to 2002. 

As an HMI he has extensive experience of inspecting in all phases of education. As National Lead, he has recently completed Ofsted’s latest triennial report on history in primary and secondary schools in England covering the period 2007 to 2010 (History for all). This report was published in March 2011. 

Michael has also written various articles, including ‘History in Primary Schools: the view from Ofsted’ (published in Primary History, Issue 50, Autumn 2008) and ‘History in Maintained Schools in England’ (Euroclio, Bulletin 27, 2008). His latest article on ‘Developing pupils’ chronological understanding’ was published by Primary History, Issue 59, at the end of 2011. 

External links

Annual Report 2012/13