Autumn Meeting 2023: check back soon 

Do check the Nerds site for their 2022-23 programme too – often useful subject updating for teachers as well!


Summer Meeting 2023

In this meeting we worked again on transitions in history – this time focussing on GCSE to A level progression. Heather Sherman from York College took the lead. Good discussions about how we can smooth the transition from GCSE A Level.

Spring Meeting 2023

This meeting focused on the History GCSE. What does the data reveal? How can we weave in more diverse Histories into rigid specifications and what does the future hold for GCSE History? Thanks to Alex Ford of Leeds Trinity for leading us.

Autumn Meeting 2022

YorkClio enjoyed exploring the newly renovated Clifford’s Tower and discussing how we can use this medieval site in our History teaching.  Email if you would like a copy of the resources we used.

June 2022
Year 6 into 7 Progression Secondary History
Secondary teachers shared with primary colleagues the work we have been doing with Year 7 and the substantive and disciplinary knowledge they have acquired over the year. We considered Y6/7 transition and what we might do to make it smoother.

May 2022
Sally Thorne joined us on Zoom for an informal session to share her thoughts about how we get better at teaching the transatlantic slave trade and making it part of a coherent curriculum. Sally has done lots of thinking on this and related issues, partly as a result of co-writing the Bristol book and also writing the new Edexcel unit on migration.

January 2022
Mike Hill shared his latest thinking on world-building in the history classroom via Zoom.

September 2021
Year 6 into 7 Progression : Primary History
What will a Year 7 know and be able to do in September? Andrew Wrenn, former LEA adviser and HA Primary Project coordinator led a meeting with primary and secondary colleagues where he explained and illustrated high quality primary history. Links to the PPT for the session is here.

July 2021: Kristian Shanks and Ben Walsh  shared their learning from the HA Korean War Fellowship in order to help us all to teach this topic better. The PPT with links to resources is here.

March 2021: Richard Kerridge shared with us his wisdom about helping lower attainers to survive and thrive in our history classrooms. Useful articles in TH as well as his are Harris in TH118 and Phillips in TH105. He reminded us of the need to really engage with images as ISM and to adapt learning with really carefully deployed teacher talk. It was refreshing to remember how we can and will be more active in class: hot-seating, tabards, taking on role to create the memorable moments, mimicing TV shows, reading and speaking, making it OK to talk and to fail and to laugh. All of these can serve the important purpose of helping students to learn and feel able and confident to use their historical knowledge. Massive message to get back into school and love learning history, not obsessing about catch-up and recovery. Ruth’s PPT is here: Welcome to YorkClio March 2021. Rich’s PPT is on the post here.

September 2020: Richard Kennett (Gatehouse Green MAT) and Kate Smee (Fairfield School) from Bristol have been thinking hard about what it means, what it would look like, what it involves to decolonise a school history curriculum. They cam to share their thinking with us and challenged us to change.

June 2020: We met online, of course! Having watched Sally Burnham’s talk on teaching lower attainers at GCSE before the meeting, we met to talk about how to take the ideas forward.

January 2020: Updating our teaching of 1919-21 – Simon Bendry from the Centenary Battlefields team shared with us new ideas and resources for teaching the making of peace after World War One. He challenged our understanding of the narrative and helped us to update our knowledge of the armistice, the Treaty of Versailles, the Paris Conference that produced it and the League of Nations it produced.

Autumn Term TeachMeet 2019: we gathered at Millthorpe School and had a session sharing the good and the ugly. That is, enquiries we felt were working well and why, but also enquiries that were feeling in need of love. For the latter, we all chipped in to share ideas to improve the materials. It was a collegiate way to start the new academic year.

Summer Term 2019: We had three YorkClio meetings. The first was to kick off our connection with the Seondary Education and Social Change research project. We hope to develop social history connected to our schools over the next few years. Our second was a working meeting about what a York and area school history curriculum should look like if it is to prepare students to live in modern Britain. There is a page on this blog which we are sharing ideas and resources. Our termly network meeting shared these resources, the HA’s new initiatives for curriculum development and then focused on the new Ofsted framework. Ruth Lingard shared the messages received from Heather Fearn’s plenary at the HA conference and Nick Avery spoke about his department’s experience of the Ofsted framework history pilot.

Spring Term 2019

YorkClio met at the Borthwick Archives to explore the University Archives. Gary Brannan presented this very engaging  session. The Borthwick Archive was brought into existence in 1953 and originally given the job to look after the Church archives. The archives contain document from mid 11th century through to the present day.  All history teachers can arrange to bring students to look at archives and they can also provide specific digital resources. Resource packs are available through the website. If you use them tell Gary as it helps them understand what teachers need. Gary also stressed if you are looking for specific resources or resources linked to a topic you are teaching drop them an email and he’ll get back to you. His email is:

Gary showed us all sorts of artefacts including Guy Fawkes’ baptism certificate showing he was christened as Guy rather than Guido.  This shows how he was converted to Catholicism at a later date.

We also heard of pre reformation monastic mischief in the form of the Archbishop of York –  he was finally kicked out of the Church for a variety of crimes including possible murder. The Archbishop was last seen riding away from Selby Abbey on a stolen horse.

The archive contains the patient records from the Retreat and Bootham and Clifton hospitals. Watch out for work using these artefacts in the May HA Conference.   There are also archives for Rowntrees and Terrys. Apparently the original chocolate orange was actually an apple. Orange was the Christmas special but proved more popular.

The archive has some great artefacts related to Lord Halifax. Lord Halifax was  Prime Minister during the 1930s and provides a really interesting viewpoint on appeasement. He is also good on the end of Empire and partition of India.  His notes written just ahead of Pearl Harbor show that Halifax was clear that the Japanese were going to attack any day.

Gary summed up that artefacts: “tell us who we were, who we are, and who we can become: for better or worse.”

In other news:

Ofsted have published their new framework this week with a focus on curriculum. History teachers have always thought long and hard about the way the curriculum is shaped and several historians have played a role in advising on the new Ofsted framework.  Leeds Trinity Tutor Alex Ford has posted his thoughts on the implications of these changes.

The Royal Historical Society Equality Access Report was published in November and it made bleak reading. It reported that there were enduring structural barriers to equality in History. You can find a summary and a link to the report here:

In the spirit of making our History lessons more diverse, do have a look at the resources that are being created and shared on the YorkClio site. Of course time is tight and curricula are crammed so YorkClio have created slot-ins that could be fitted into your existing lessons. Find them here :

Helen Snelson and I wrote about teaching the history of disability in this month’s Teaching History. You can find the resources for our mini-thematic on this website.

Finally, can I remind you about the brilliant crowd sourced homework resources called Meanwhile, elsewhere…. These are fabulous resources if you want to expand the content you teach without having to rewrite your entire scheme of work.

Our last meeting of the year is on the 21st June at Millthorpe School. The wonderful Richard Kerridge has agreed to come and speak to us about teaching History to less able students.We have also been asked by Cambridge University to work with them as they launch a resource about using the ‘history of my school’ at KS3. More when we have it!

Autumn term 2018:

Alex Ford, PGCE History Tutor at Leeds Trinity University and SHP Fellow, came over to share his thoughts and findings about the summer’s results. Key take-outs were that the survey evidence suggests drilling exam question, three year KS4 and switching boards in a hurry are not the answers. Alex instead talked about planning a rich KS3 to support our students’ learning. His really useful PPT is in the ‘Resources’ section.

Summer term 2018:

We met at the Castle Museum, where we were introduced to the curator’s three favourite objects from the archives. We were then able to wander around Kirkgate with local historians, considering how we can pepper our curricula with local flavour.

Spring Term 2018:

Our meeting on  Friday 23rd February at Huntington School focused on assessment by drawing on best research school and Historical Association practice. If you missed this session or would like to look at the materials again here is the power point and resources Hugh has kindly shared: Assessment in History, Hugh Richards. Huntingdon School.

In this meeting we also shared useful websites and updates on some brilliant CPD opportunities:. Go-to websites:

‘Exploring and Teaching Medieval History’ combines academic articles and teaching ideas. A copy has been sent out to all schools and it is available  online at the following address :

Christine Counsell gave a really helpful session on ‘Talking History with SLT’ and the need to provide students with a curriculum that genuinely supports understanding in other subjects and acts as a tool of progression.

Autumn term 2017

On Friday 6th October 4.30-6pm we were delighted to welcome Michael Riley, Director of the Schools History Project to talk on the theme of : Picturing the past: making the most of historical reconstructions. Michael’s powerpoint and handout are in the resources section of the site. It was great to have such a full room on a Friday evening and the consensus was that this is an easier night, with no planning and marking for next day. We  shared the news about the first York History Nerds meeting (see the page on this site). If any other schools would like to be involved, please get in touch with The HA are looking for history teachers with 4+ years’ experience to help them trial their Chartered History Teacher process. We are keen to go through this as a York team, with a view to building up a pool of mentors who can work with colleagues to help them focus their PDR specifically to improve their history teaching. Colleagues were reminded that the HA has an initiative called One Big History Department . This is designed to provide teaching strategy solutions to classroom challenges, while also encouraging colleagues to link to the wealth of knowledge and expertise that exists and can be tapped via the HA website. Contributions are always needed. Please send them to It takes about 20 minutes to put one together and the guidance for contributions is:

  • Make it about a teaching strategy to address a particular challenge that your students have in history.
  • Or about a practical solution that you have trialled with your students.
  • Or alternatively, make it about a solution to a practical problem faced by history subject leaders.
  • It should be max 500 words.
  • It should give the @histassoc Twitter account as a link for comments and sharing ideas.
  • It should be clear that your teaching strategy has a theoretical underpinning and you should briefly outline what it is. (See draft entries for what we mean by this.)
  • It should give specific advice about where people can go for further help on the HA website.

Summer term 2017

We met at the King’s Manor and started with updates on new materials available on the YorkClio website including materials for teaching the latest Domesday Book research by Professor Stephen Baxter. Stephen was talking about the materials on Radio 4   The HA Secondary School Survery was about to go live and people were encouraged to complete it. It provides vital information for lobbying work. ‘One big History Department’ is an idea to make the Historical association more accessible to busy History teachers and also draw more traffic to the HA website. It will provide bitesized, good quality teaching ideas in the form of a blog. It would be great to have contributions from York.

James Walvin gave a lecture on the History of Slavery in small – and not so small objects. His talk was wide ranging and showed how seemingly beautiful objects like sugar bowls hid the cruel reality of the sugar trade. James answered questions on the topic of what caused the abolition of slavery. He made the point that he believed the tipping point in public attitudes was religious conviction caused by non-conformist religions. This is a hard idea to explain in an increasingly secular world.

Annette Aylett fed back on her meeting with the Oxford Schools Liaison Committee. They were keen to use the YorkClio network to suggest improvements to the History aptitude test. The test needs to be impossible to cram for. Hugh Richards has kindly agreed to take on the role of YorkClio Oxbridge liaison.

History Nerds Club is the plan to have a small YorkClio group of able students from year 10-13 who can be brought together to access some challenging History teaching. James Walvin very kindly agreed to provide these students with their first seminar experience and will be talking to them about The Slave Trade in September. Schools need to send names of students to get us started.

Spring term 2017

We met by the statue of the Emperor Constantine to start a whistle stop tour of the Norman Crypt before Evensong. Some of the pictures taken are with their descriptions in the Resources section on this site. There was just time to look up at the Edward I Scottish campaign shields and consider the Minster as standing during the Elizabethan age, as Evensong began and we repaired to the Learning Centre. Minster staff are keen to support teachers via subject updating for staff, visits for students, helping with archival work, supporting design of learning resources for students… whatever would be useful. Please contact Alex O’Donnell via for help with teaching and learning about the church throughout the ages and to any year group. It was good to see such a large number of colleagues, to share news and to gather thoughts for the forthcoming HA Secondary Committee Meeting.

Autumn term 2016

This time we met at the wonderfully historic King’s Manor thanks to the University of York – and for the cake. HA news included that there are more chances coming up to apply for a Historical Association Teaching Fellowship – please see the HA website. Sixth Form schools are encouraged to enter the Great Debate. Our local heat is the 2nd November – please enter via the HA website. There are chances to share GCSE resources – please see the list of who is doing what on the ‘news’ part of this site. The Anne Frank exhibition is going to Millthorpe, and later Fulford. They are keen to get into more schools and there will be a ‘find out more’ session at 4.30pm at Millthorpe on the 19th October. Ian Dawson canvassed views as to what people would like to see in a special medieval publication for the HA that is coming up next year. Please mail Ian with any other views to The main focus of our meeting was to hear about the England’s Immigrants project led by Professor Mark Ormerod and online at England’s Immigrants. The project from 1330-1550 now has learning resources on the site, designed by teachers for teachers, covering the secondary key stages, and including York material. It was a chance to learn some resonant history at the end of a day’s teaching and to learn about the source material, including the records of the tax on foreigners. A book with be published in about 18 months. Mark also recommends: Our Migration Story that has recently gone live and covers 2000 years.

Summer term 2016

Yorkclio had it’s summer meeting at Fountains Abbey. The theme of the evening was making connections to the Medieval World and exploring the familiar and the unfamiliar. Education Officer, Emma Manners explained how the site can be used by schools. Follow this link to find out more: Learning at Fountains Abbey. Ruth Lingard shared ideas for using the Bedale Horde to explore the complexities of Anglo-Saxon and Viking societies. Hugh Richards shared resources (including make-up and jihad!) to prepare Year 9 for thematic study. Ian Dawson took us on a tour of the Pastons, giving us a fascinating insight into the trials of living through a period of civil unrest (bring weapons but don’t forget to buy cloth for the kids clothes!). A fine picnic in the monastery refrectory, withthe place to ourselves, and even a game of tig made it a fitting end to a good first year for Yorkclio. You can find Ruth, Hugh and Ian’s learning materials on other blog posts.

Spring term 2016
We met at the Bar Convent and part of our meeting was viewing the new exhibition there and considering how we might use it in our teaching. There are links to various parts of the KS3 and 4 curricula and there is more info here:  We updated ourselves about what schools are planning to teach for GCSE and agreed to work across schools to share resources and plans. We also shared what each school is doing in a post-levels world.
 Autumn term 2015
At our first meeting, Ian Dawson shared his insights and some thoughts for activities concerning the new GCSE. He specifically focused upon how to ensure students really have a sense of the relationship between, and perspectives of, the many historical characters they encounter in some periods.  He suggested ways to approach thematic topics to ensure that the students are making progress in their understanding of change and continuity from day 1 of the course. Why not sample the germ activity via:  We shared current plans for the new GCSE. It was agreed that it would be useful to work together to create and share resources and ideas for teaching the new specs.