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A new era for the Schools History project

Throughout my entire teaching career, the Schools History Project has been a constant source of inspiration, innovation and, above all, community. After attending my first conference in 2005, I knew that I had found my History teaching home. I can still vividly remember the moment when I fully realised that I had become an ‘SHP man’ – it was the only time I’ve had a genuine eureka moment.

Chris Culpin, the Director of SHP from 1997 to 2008, had invited me to lead some training on the GCSE Medicine through Time course at the Wellcome Institute. He asked me to devise an activity to represent the development of the sewers and the significance of transforming static water into flowing water. After many hours of getting nowhere, I retired to bed, only to wake up, bolt upright, with the answer – plastic dog poo!!! I went to the nearest joke shop and managed to procure a delightful array of plastic poos. Armed with these in my bag, I arrived at the training session ready for action. When it was time for the activity, I called on one volunteer to lie on the floor holding the dog poo above their chest – a strong visual representation of static, infected water. And next to them a second volunteer (with a specific skill-set) was asked to juggle the other poos  – a strong visual representation of flowing, clean-ish, water. I never looked back and clearly I had made an impact for it was not much longer afterwards, that I was invited to become a Fellow of the Schools History Project.

I am extremely humbled and thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be the new Director of the Schools History Project. Especially as I strongly believe that we are on the cusp of a new dawn in History education. There is a growing desire to weave new narratives into the mainstream; to promote historical thinking that is rigorous, stimulating and relevant to our students’ lives. SHP has a fantastic legacy in championing Active Learning and will continue to foster History teaching that is engaging, accessible and meaningful. The work that the Curriculum Paths Project has undertaken in designing alternative models of History curricula has also shown the strength and influence that SHP has in this field.

My ambition is to harness the guiding principles of the Schools History Project, to reach out across the UK and overseas, and grow our community even further, building partnerships between schools, academic institutions, archives and local history organisations. I want to create Fellowships for teacher practitioners or researchers so that SHP can be a beacon of History curriculum and pedagogical excellence. Our conferences and other programmes will continue to be the place for History teachers to come for high quality professional development.

SHP has been the single most important influence on my professional career and the annual conference has always been the highlight of the school year. It's not known as the History teachers' Glastonbury for nothing! And, like a festival, it is exciting, stimulating and fun, and you’ll take away many memories. If you would like to be part of the growing SHP family and come on this exciting journey with us, then a fantastic place to start is by signing up for the 2023 virtual SHP conference on July 7th and 8th via the SHP website.

Dan Lyndon-Cohen, Director of the Schools History Project


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