Possibly those of you not involved in education will not realize the fundamental changes to the history curriculum which English primary schools are expected to enact from September this year. At the current moment children study material in distinct detailed blocks. In Key Stage Two (Primary School) they will do, for example, the Romans, Henry VIII, the Victorians and WWII (though not necessarily in that order).
The new National Curriculum stipulates that From September 2014 onwards children at primary school must be taught everything from prehistory to 1066. Not surprisingly this has caused an up swell of interest in archaeology.
It’s for this reason that I have been asked to work with Beverley Forrest, Associate Principal Lecturer (Primary Education) at Leeds Trinity University, on a project which hopefully will generate material which can help future teachers to incorporate archaeology into their teaching. As part of their initial teacher training Trinity students have to complete a professional placement module. Essentially this offers the students the opportunity to work with a school to plan a short programme of work on a given topic. One of the possibilities available this year was to look at how archaeology could be used in a school context. Two schools expressed an interest in this – Greenhill Primary in Wortley (Leeds, UK) and St Phillip’s Catholic Primary School, (Middleton, Leeds). Leeds Trinity University would wish to express their gratitude to both schools for giving their students the opportunity to work on placement with them.
Over the past two weeks the planning stage of the programme has been underway. In the coming week the students will be leading archaeology-based classroom sessions and in the week beginning the 25th of March, I shall be helping them carry out some small-scale excavation work. I will let you know how the project develops later in the week.