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Leading history expert to help forge Trust's new curriculum

Published on 07/12/16

A leading history education specialist has been appointed to to help forge the Inspiration Trust's new history curriculum.

Michael Fordham is the second subject specialist leader to be appointed by the Trust.

The new role will see Mr Fordham working with schools to develop the history curriculum from primary through to sixth form, as well as playing a key part in establishing professional development for teachers through the Trust's new teaching school.

Mr Fordham is currently assistant headteacher at the West London Free School. He grew up in the West Country before reading history at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He trained as a teacher at Cambridge, where he also completed an MEd and is in the final stages of his PhD.

Prior to his current role, he taught history at Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, and was head of history at Cottenham Village College in Cambridgeshire.

He is an honorary fellow of the Historical Association and has been an editor of its journal, Teaching History, since 2010. He has published research in medieval history, the philosophy of education, and history education, and is well-known for his blog. 

Mr Fordham was the outstanding educator in residence to the Singapore Ministry of Education in 2014, and is an affiliated lecturer teaching on the MSt in advanced subject teaching at the University of Cambridge.

Outside of teaching, Mr Fordham is a keen hillwalker and mountaineer, and has made several first ascents in the Tien Shan of Kyrgyzstan. He is a qualified mountain leader and is looking forward to joining Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions from Trust schools.

Mr Fordham said: "History is a subject where breadth really matters. I do not want children to learn 'just enough' to see them through: I want them to have stories dancing around in their heads from which they can build up a meaningful sense of different periods of the past.

"History is rich in argument, and a knowledge-rich curriculum can help students climb inside those debates. It is certainly true that the world around us is changing at a dizzying pace: what history gives us is a sense of perspective. We can better understand the world in which we live if we can see our current time in the context of that which went before.

"All children are entitled to an education about the past that is rich in narrative, ideas, and critique. I am very much looking forward to working with  teachers, students, and parents across the Inspiration Trust to ensure that children at the Trust's schools get this opportunity."

Mr Fordham will be working closely with the Trust's director of education, Christine Counsell.

Mrs Counsell said: "Michael is one of the brightest lights in history teaching today, and combines an impressive scholarly pedigree with rich, practical classroom insights arising from research, from his own teaching and from training and leading others.

"I am delighted that Michael will be joining the Inspiration Trust to work with our history teachers and leaders to develop our curriculum in this important subject. He will help us to improve classroom practice, both within our Trust schools and more widely as part of our teacher training, research, and professional development work."