Students should follow a basic essay structure when answering questions and ensure that they have used their contextual knowledge to explain in as much detail as possible.
For example, if a student was asked to explain the impact of the Black Death, rather than just identifying a basic list of things that changed (the population, housing, employment etc.), students should allow a paragraph for each of the factors and use their knowledge to give specific points and examples for each one.
To excel, students need to explain specific points about the purpose, context and medium (type/audience) and how these affect the reliability or utility of a source.
For example, if students were studying a letter home from a soldier in the trenches during WW1, rather than saying ‘it is reliable because it was written by someone who saw the events at the time’, a better explanation would be ‘it is reliable as it is a primary source written by a soldier with direct experience of the trenches.
To succeed, students need to practise ‘reading between the lines’ and using their contextual knowledge to help them to work out what a source means, especially if there is an underlying message.
For example, if students are asked what a collection of visual sources tells them about Medieval life, they would need to describe what they can see (e.g.We encourage all our students to reflect on their learning in lessons and use feedback from their teachers to help them improve.Below, you will find the ‘statements for improvement’ that summarise the feedback students are given.To do this well, students need to make use of TANPLAK – time, author, nature (type of source), purpose, language/tone, audience and their own knowledge.For example, if students were asked to evaluate different accounts of the Battle of Hastings, they might consider whether or not they were written at the time, whether they were written by an Anglo-Saxon or Norman author, etc., in order to decide how each source is best used by historians to discover more about the Norman Conquest.For example, if students were asked to consider how the Black Death changed people’s lives, they could use what they already know about Medieval times to think about different aspects of life like work, housing, population and trade.For example, if students were asked to argue whether or not Charles I deserved to be executed, they should set out their initial view in their introduction and offer a link back to the question (i.e.For example, if students were asked what changed as a result of World War One, they could think about changes in society, economy, and government and how these might have been experienced differently by soldiers, women, workers or children.An important skill in history is to be able to see how events and their consequences, big and small, are linked together.As well as being able to explain the reasons for change (as described for point 1), students need to consider the long term effects of these changes.To do this successfully, students need to consider a range of factors and the impact of the changes on different groups of people.