Every school pupil should visit the First World War Battlefields

As the centenary of the First World War enters its final months, the imperative of remembrance has never been more urgent. It is nearly a decade since the death of Harry Patch, the last British soldier to have served on the Western Front, and soon there will be no living person with any recollection of …

York ISSP Masterclasses 2018 – a personal reflection

Over three Saturday afternoons in February and March I had the pleasure of working with a group of year 9 and 10 pupils from schools across York as part of the York ISSP annual masterclasses.  To be allowed to teach on this programme was a real honour ... but also a daunting challenge. Like pulling …

Dionissia and the robber baron: a 13th century Northumbrian drama

  "My sire is of a noble line, And my name is Geraldine: Five warriors seized me yestermorn, Me, even me, a maid forlorn: They choked my cries with force and fright, And tied me on a palfrey white." Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel, Part I   Between 20 and 26 January 1279 Dionissia Bechfeld  appeared in the …

Using French Journalism in Teaching the First World War: (2) ‘Infernal war,’ by Emile Henriot, L’Illustration, 26 September 1914

  [Translated by Alastair Dunn. The elipses “…” follow those of the original French text. The images below are a selection of those that accompanied the original.] In the midst of the French lines - in Soissons under bomabrdment - the ruins of Senlis.  17 September. We arrived by car in driving rain at La Ferté-Milon, …

The poverty of utility – why we need a higher rationale for the Humanities

At the 2017 Telegraph Festival of Education at Wellington College, I spoke on the future of the Humanities. The posting that follows summarises my some of my key points. A common modern rationale for the study of the Humanities is the acquisition of skills that can be applied to particular workplace occupations. The incompleteness of …

A presentation on The Wilton Diptych

This presentation explores similarities between the imagery of Richard II's famous prayer panel of the 1390s, The Wilton Diptych,  and that of the historiated initial letter of the foundation charter of Mountgrace Priory,  North Yorkshire, which was established by the king's nephew, Thomas Holand, duke of Surrey and earl of Kent, in 1398. Presentation on …

Teacher and student voices in cross-subject learning: Sherriff’s Journey’s End and Monet’s Orangerie Waterlilies

For too long the boundaries between subjects have seemed like those ruler-straight colonial-era borders, pencilled across maps in distant chancelleries, answering to longitudinal and latitudinal abstracts, with little regard for topographical realities. Recently I have been exploring opportunities with colleagues to see how a collaborative approach might support student learning, through mobilising pedagogical skills and …