Department of Education

Practical Histories Conference: 18 June 2022

We are delighted to announce the first in-person history teachers' conference since 2019. The Practical Histories Conference will take place on Saturday 18 June 2022 here at the University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton.

Practical Histories is a free online magazine set up to help share best practice amongst history teachers

Conference speakers include: Andrew Payne, Claire Hollis, Neil Bates, Dr Dave Brown, Dr Ian Luff and Dr Tom Haward who are all passionate about promoting engaging, accessible and challenging history learning.

The Conference comprises four separate sessions designed to inspire you and provide you with subject-specific CPD with specific focus on curriculum planning, promoting literacy, diversification, teaching representative history and general top history teaching tips.


Ofsted logoThe Ofsted Inspection: Impacts on secondary schools and teachers 1993-2022 …. and beyond. Lessons from the past and practical tips for the Future  
Presenters: Ian Luff & Dale Banham
Ian spent 30 years teaching and advising about history in secondary schools. He has recently successfully completed his PHD on the impacts of Ofsted inspections on secondary schools and their teachers.
Dale is a history teacher and Deputy Headteacher at Northgate High School in Ipswich. He is an honorary fellow of the Schools History Project and has delivered training on curriculum development in history for thousands of teachers. He has also authored numerous textbooks for Hodder.
Ian and Dale's  Keynote will discuss  


Aarom WilkesAccessibility, Challenge and Engagement
Presenter: Aaron Wilkes, Teacher and author/series editor for Oxford University Press
Aaron will share his tried and tested strategies to enthuse, raise attainment and embody his core lesson drivers: Accessibility, Challenge and Engagement. 





  • Claire Hollis: Head of History at Reigate College
  • Andrew Payne: Head of Education and Outreach for The National Archives
  • Simon Beale: Subject Leader of History & Politics at Vyners School
  • Dr Tom Haward: Associate Professor in History and Holocaust Education at UCL
  • Lindsay Bruce: Senior Assistant Head at Moreton School - and author for Oxford University Press
  • Neil Bates: Lead Practitioner for History at Harrow Way Community School
  • Christina Brown: Curriculum Leader for History and Associate SLT at Harrow Way Community School
  • Dr Elena Stevens: History Leader at St Philip Howard School - and author
  • Marc Scruby: History Lead at Priory School, Lewes
  • Molly Navey: History teacher at Priory School, Lewes
  • Ellie Osborne: History teacher at Priory School, Lewes
  • Dr Dave Brown: Curriculum Manager for Modern History at The Sixth Form College, Farnborough
  • Dr Ian Luff, former History Adviser and Deputy Head




  • £50 including refreshments and lunch
  • £30 for trainee History teachers and Sussex ITE History mentors
  • FREE to Sussex ITE History teacher trainees

NOTE: The conference fee is payable in advance by debit or credit card via our Online Shop. In order to be able to claim the fee back from your school,  please ensure that you have sought approval for the cost from your school's finance department before registering.

Once you have registered via the form at the bottom of this page, please pay your conference fee via our online shop.




8.45-9.30am:     Registration and coffee

9.30-10.45am:   Keynote 1

11am-12.15pm:  MORNING WORKSHOPS *delegtaes to select their top 3 choices from the following 5 options via the registration form below

A1: Representation in the History Curriculum: Why and How?

PRESENTER: Claire Hollis, Head of History at Reigate College

This workshop will focus on building a representative history curriculum. We will initially discuss why this is an important aspect of curriculum planning, from the perspective of giving students a more complete picture of the world of the past and from the perspective of how it can improve your students’ historical thinking. Then we will look at practical methods for building representation into what you already teach and how you can go on to re-design enquiries to put underrepresented stories at the heart of them. Here we will focus particularly on key stages 4 and 5, using examples to build in representation while also meeting the demands of exam specifications for our courses on the Tudors, the French Revolution, the British Empire and the Cold War.

A2: Tweaking Tradition and Going For Gold!

- Neil Bates, Lead Practitioner for History at Harrow Way Community School
- Christina Brown, Curriculum Leader for History and Associate SLT at Harrow Way Community School

Still grappling with the new focus on the curriculum as the driving force behind a successful department. Still debating what makes a good endpoint and why that might be different from a good old-fashioned assessment? Sick and tired of the knowledge versus skills debate and unsure as it why, like Jason in Friday the 13th, it refuses to die? Join Christina Brown and Neil Bates in this session where they will outline how they rebuilt their curriculum, shook up their approach to assessment and while keeping enquiry at the heart succeeded in gaining the Historical Association Gold Quality mark.  

A3: Using Visual Images Effectively in the History Classroom

PRESENTER: Dr Tom Haward, Associate Professor in History and Holocaust Education at UCL

Research shows that images in history classrooms are often used illustratively, as an accompaniment to text. This session is based on the idea that visual historical sources are engaging and problematic representations of the past in their own right. It develops the idea that students need to be given time to explore what they show and the context around which they are produced. Visual sources can also be used to encourage students to ask deeper questions about the past, about its construction in the present, and the nature of the truth-claims visual they may make.  This session uses this premise to provide some practical, research-informed, hands-on suggestions about how visual sources can be used in the teaching of history.

A4: Plate Spinning, Not Projects! A case study of a History department's curriculum response in the early 2020s

PRESENTERS: Marc Scruby, Molly Navey and Ellie Osborne, the History teaching team at Priory School, Lewes

Has your school/ department got their intent and implementation in place?
Now what…?!
Thinking about decolonising and diversifying your KS3 curriculum?
Still grappling with the weight of the 2016 GCSE spec content demands?
Getting your answers ready about ‘lost learning’ for Ofsted?
Confident with your assessment strategy?
Keeping cognitive overload in mind but then worrying about being knowledge ‘rich’?

It is a sad matter of fact that all these issues (and more) are continuous and can potentially blow well-being out of the water and lead to burn out. Come and get some clear and practical takeaway strategies and tasks to spin all these plates (and more), all at once. Children only get one education and Ofsted wait for no one. It is now or never. 

A5: Using Academic Literature to Enhance Students' Subject Knowledge and History-specific Vocabulary at A Level

PRESENTER: Dr David Brown, Curriculum Manager Modern History, The Sixth Form College, Farnborough  

This session will examine both how we use academic literature through our lessons to build student knowledge, as well as the specific strategies employed to enhance their subject specific vocabulary.  The session will set out the latest academic research on student vocabulary acquisition and explain how this can be applied specifically to A Level History in order to enhance student progression in the subject.

12.15-1pm:  LUNCH

1-2.15pm: AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS *delegtaes to select their top 3 choices from the following 5 options via the registration form below

B1: Diversifying and Decolonising: Helping Students 'See Themselves' in the History Curriculum

PRESENTER: Dr Elena Stevens, History Lead at St Philip Howard Catholic School & author

The best history is history that illuminates the complexity of the past. The educational literature seems to agree that diversification and decolnisation are central to helping us highlight this complexity - as well as engaging students from a wide range of backgrounds. But how can we go about achieving these aims without overhauling the entire curriculum?

In this workshop, Dr Stevens will offer a number of practical examples and case studies that can be woven into KS3 and 4 curricula, helping to highlight the experiences of women, the working classes and BAME communities in the past. She will also explore the important role that social and cultural history can play in helping to broaden students' understandings of the historical discipline.

B2: Reinforcing Context and Concept Through Practical Demonstration and Role Play in the History Classroom

PRESENTER: Dr Ian Luff, former History Adviser and Deputy Head

Ian taught History in state secondary schools for 30 years. In addition to those classroom years, he served as the advisory teacher for History for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, and was an associate tutor for five years on the History PGCE course at the University of East Anglia. 

In this workshop, Ian uses his experience to show how students’ grasp of concept and context can be greatly strengthened through simple, practical demonstration and role play tasks that are suited to use in the space available in an average classroom.

This session is aimed at teachers who are new - or relatively new - to the profession and who may not have had the chance to see Ian’s extensive demonstrations of these techniques at SHP and HA Conferences over the years. It builds on Ian’s four articles published in Teaching History magazine. 

This is a highly interactive session which relies on audience participation.

B3: Students, Sources and Six Degrees of Separation

PRESENTER: Andrew Payne: Head of Education and Outreach at The National Archives

How can we get students using sources in an authentic way to underpin the development of skills in extended writing?

Andrew Payne will be using documents from one of the greatest archive in the world to demonstrate an approach to inspire, challenge and support students in developing real historical narratives based on this source-based enquiry-led activity which can work for students of any age and with any topic.

B4: Literacy to Help Learning and Build Confidence at KS3 & 4

PRESENTER: Lindsay Bruce, Senior Assistant Head  at Moreton School and author for Oxford University Press

Literacy is a hot topic - as it absolutely should be - but we know hot topics can often lead to too many posters and dictated, centralised activities that can distract from what you need students to know.

Lindsay’s session will show you how to incorporate literacy into your lessons without diverting from what you need the students ti know and do at the end of the lesson.

The session will also touch on curriculum design, whole-school Initiatives, and cross-curricular links. 

B5: How to Redesign Your History Curriculum Around a Clear Vision

PRESENTER: Simon Beale, Subject Leader of History & Politics at Vyners School  

The horizon of what should be in a History Curriculum is the most contested of any curricular in a secondary school. Most schools are not anchored by the National Curriculum, and this can lead to a feeling of being cast adrift into the open ocean of endless possibilities.

In this session, Simon will discuss the importance of a clear curriculum vision that provides the direction that can harness the winds of change, current trends and the storm of inspection.

By the end, you will have a clear course to follow, including having fine-tuned your own curricular vision and making a start mapping it onto your own curriculum. 

2.30-3.45pm:   Keynote 2

3.45 – 4.00pm: Evaluations and close