Schools Out

Jul 17, 2014


It is the end of term. The summer holidays are here, actually for some it may have already started. Well done everyone on getting this far and now is the time to relax or break out on your summer adventure.

It’s been an odd year and a half for teachers, new National Curriculum to plan for, new exam specs for GCSE and A level (drafts of which are already out) and at the last moment a change in Secretary of State for Education.

For the History community the debate has been dominated by the build up to the First World War centenary and what is or isn’t gained from a bit of Blackadder. As I look ahead I think that discussion around teaching of the recent historical past is only going to get bigger and more complex. There are other historical anniversaries on the horizon – Magna Carta, Agincourt, Waterloo and the end of the Second World War, all of which can have a place in the classroom or an opportunity to go outside of it.

Over the summer we will keep you updated with blogs to commemorate the start of the First World War 100 years ago. There will be information about the first few battles that unfolded and what it was like on the Home Front with mobilization.

For those of you who are already fatigued by the centenary I will also be talking about other historical eras and sites to tempt you to take tours over the next few years.

While you have your feet up or are climbing that mountain, and avoiding looking at the new exam spec drafts I will be busy getting the new material and guidance ready for our website. We will have new tour site information, also curriculum mapping and exam requirements set against destinations and tour ideas. So if you have any questions over the summer about a tour, a destination or how to get the best out of it for your students, just give Rayburn Tours a call as the team will be around.

Remember even if it’s not on our website that doesn’t mean we can’t arrange it for you.

Finally, if summer to you is about kicking back and catching up on some reading then here are some of my picks:

One of the best new books on the First World War:

The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War, by Margaret Macmillan, Profile Books (2014)

For a new way of looking at the Second World War and the Holocaust:

Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding, Windmill 2013
The remarkable story of the author’s Jewish great-uncle, Hanns Alexander, and his hunt for the merciless commandant of Auschwitz

I’m looking forward to reading

The Zhivago Affair by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, This is an account of the publication of Doctor Zhivago in the West. Harvill Secker, 2014.

Not a new book but one I now pick up if I’m travelling anywhere in the UK

Castle: A History of the Buildings that Shaped Medieval Britain, by Marc Morris, Windmill Books, 2012)

Enjoy the holidays.