In 2018, as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, the Royal Historical Society committed to supporting the Historical Association’s Quality Mark scheme, by providing sponsored bursaries to enable more state-funded, non-selective secondary schools to take part in the process of applying for QM Status.

The Historical Association’s Quality Mark scheme recognises and promotes high quality history provision in primary and secondary schools in the UK and internationally. The scheme is based on a ‘framework for success’, and focuses on effective teaching and learning, leadership, curriculum, pupil achievement as well as enrichment beyond the history classroom. Schools hold their award status for 3 years. Currently, 82 Primary schools, and 32 secondary schools hold Quality Mark status.

Supporting History in Secondary Schools

The RHS provided £4000 for up to eight sponsored bursaries of £500 each. Eight bursary schools were selected from over twenty applications, with a total of 7 awards made (4 gold and 3 silver) and one unawarded. Schools have provided a great deal of useful feedback on the process, and how the scheme has enabled a greater focus on history, and improvements in provision.

Students and teachers from Ysgol Eirias (Conwy) with their Gold Award.

One school commented that the scheme offered a unique opportunity to invest in the history department’s development, and a way to help build links with feeder schools and the community. Another school explained that the scheme has led to looking at the curriculum more locally and the makings of more meaningful local history.

 “In an uncertain climate, having trusted and respected subject associations offering an external audit of practice that is based in expertise in the subject discipline is vital. Every school should do this award and it should replace (or have an influence on) trust-wide assessments or even Ofsted judgements.”

“The biggest success has been witnessing our students leading history across the school through assemblies and in parents evenings. This has led us to set up our history ambassador’s scheme for year 8 students.”

“We knew our KS3 curriculum needed work and this process gave us the motivation to finally do something about this. Less than a year later, we have been involved in two curriculum development programmes.”

Some schools noticed an uptake in history at GCSE; departments are empowered to showcase what they do, as well as providing a template with which clear plans for improvement can be mapped.

“It has given a real boost with students actually seeing that we as a department are trying to make history better for them.”

“We are extremely grateful for the Royal Historical Society’s award of money to complete the process. We hope that they will continue to support many more schools through it.”

Evaluations from the schools provide an important insight into the positive effects of a scheme which offers independent, constructive advice and feedback; audits practice; and aims to raise the profile of history within schools, from pupils to senior leadership teams. The RHS continues to work closely with the Historical Association, and we hope to be able to renew our support of this scheme for 2021.

Studley High in Warwickshire received a Silver Award

Schools supported by the RHS Bursary in 2018/2019

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