Here's to a hundred more years...

18th November 2005 at 00:00
The Historical Association is marking its centenary with a series of events promoting the subject in schools. Diana Laffin reports

1906 was an exciting year in history. There was a dramatic earthquake in San Francisco; Mount Vesuvius erupted and the first radio broadcast took place. In Britain, the Liberal party won the general election with a landslide and Mrs Pankhurst formed the National Woman's Social and Political Union. It was also the year that the Historical Association (HA) was born. Therefore 2006 presents us with a great excuse to celebrate the study of history in our schools. The HA is planning a range of events and activities which will give you the chance to raise the profile of history in your school and have a bit of fun.

Several schools are organising challenge days. These are history activity days which will develop links between schools, museums, archivists, IT specialists and academic historians. Other schools have planned a sixth-form study day using artefacts and oral history or a community project, making a museum with a local primary school. All these examples are on the HA website with information about how to get help to plan and organise your day.

Another exciting opportunity on offer is the chance to join web-based discussions with top historians. Each discussion focuses on a key question which will be introduced by an expert in the field.

Students could take part in the Great Debate to find "The person who has made the greatest contribution to society 1906-2006". HA branches are inviting students to take part in a regional competition between schools.

Students will be asked to talk for five minutes on their chosen character explaining why he or she has been chosen for this accolade. The winner of will be invited to receive a prize at the HA centenary day at Banqueting House, Whitehall, London on May 19.

Secondary teachers will have the chance to celebrate 100 years of excellence in history teaching by joining in a centenary secondary conference at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Bristol, on March 4. The aim is to highlight all that is good in current history teaching, and to raise key issues for the next centenary. There will also be a huge publishers' exhibition in Brunel's old train shed, as well as a chance to explore the museum and its diverse collections. In conjunction with HA's centenary day chief inspector David Bell is making a speech on history in Bristol on March 3.

Those involved in primary history teaching can attend the special centenary day at the Roots of Norfolk Museum, Gressenhall, on May 13. Roots of Norfolk is an ideal venue to explore issues in primary history, with Tim Lomas giving the keynote talk, and there will be a dozen workshops to choose from including toys and homes for key stage 1, and the Victorians, the Holocaust, and local history for KS2.

Working with the East Midlands group of LEAs, the HA is holding a History Day on March 31. This is at Masson Mills, near Cromford, home of the Industrial Revolution. A wide range of workshops will be on offer.

* Got to for full details, including models for the challenge days, rules and entry details for the great debate and information about the online web discussions.

Email the HA at Madeline.Stiles @ or write to 59a Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4JH

Diana Laffin is a member of the secondary committee of the Historical Association and curriculum manager for history at Farnborough Sixth Form College

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