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Secondary History Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy

Module titleSecondary History Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy
Module codeEDUM046
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Mr Bryan Smith (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module is concerned with theoretical and practical classroom approaches to the teaching of history in secondary schools. It involves examining a range of appropriate learning and teaching strategies through Key Stages 3-5 and you will develop a rigorous understanding of when, where and why particular activities might be used. To take this module, you will normally need to possess an upper second class or first class honours degree in History or a closely related discipline.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The principal aims of the module are to:

  • enable you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the background theory, issues and practice relating to the current teaching of history in the secondary curriculum;
  • support you to meet the Standards required for the award of Qualified Teacher Status and thus to be in a strong position to gain employment as a history teacher; and
  • nurture your development as a reflective and autonomous professional practitioner who is able to identify strengths and areas for development in your subject knowledge and pedagogy, through evaluating current professional practice in relationship to developments in research and curriculum theory.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. identify and evaluate educational concepts and issues related to history education;
  • 2. recognise pupils’ learning needs in history and interpret these learning needs in order to plan, teach, assess and evaluate lessons and schemes of work;
  • 3. demonstrate confident academic and pedagogic subject knowledge to teach history;
  • 4. demonstrate secure understanding of the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum for history;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. critically evaluate the relevance of educational theory to practice;
  • 6. synthesise relevant educational literature in support of an argument;
  • 7. use appropriate technologies for data handling and writing in education;
  • 8. present data and findings in a form appropriate for educational contexts;
  • 9. use research data in support of an argument in education;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. manage your own learning development;
  • 11. learn effectively both independently and co-operatively, and be aware of your own learning strategies;
  • 12. express ideas and opinions, with confidence and clarity, to a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes;
  • 13. work productively in different kinds of teams (formal, informal, project based, etc); and
  • 14. think creatively about the main features of a given problem and develop strategies for its resolution.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module introduces students to current thinking in the teaching of History and develops students’ pedagogic and academic subject knowledge in the field of history education.  Key elements of the module include:

History Lecture Programme: lectures to cover the theoretical basis of history education.

Directed Online Study Programme: This covers the theory and practice of history pedagogy and education

  • Peer Teaching: sessions in which students use the University of Exeter model of initial teacher education to develop their subject and curriculum knowledge and their skills of reflective practice. These sessions give you an opportunity to practice your teaching in a safe and supportive environment.

Seminar Days: University-based days during school-based work to share experiences and develop the links between the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching history.

On the Secondary PGCE, you will learn and reflect on the skills and knowledge required by the programme’s credit-bearing and non-credit bearing modules throughout the year. You will need to think about the modules in relation to each other. To facilitate this, the learning and teaching activities and guided independent study described below are scheduled to occur across all three terms both in the context of your university taught course and in the context of your 24 weeks of applied professional experience in schools.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities72Lectures, seminars and workshops: The theoretical basis of teaching history; The National Curriculum; Teaching History
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities18Peer Teaching sessions
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities18Seminar Days
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities10Tutorials with academic tutor
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities3Tutorials with academic tutor
Guided Independent Study179Independent Study


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written notes on preliminary tasks2 weeks prior to beginning course1, 2, 5, 13Verbal (tutorial) or written
Written notes from ‘Keeping Warm Task’1,000 words1,3Verbal or written
Written subject knowledge audit3 hour task3, 4, 10, 11Verbal (tutorial) and written action plans
Formative assignment using work with academic literature in preparation for summative assignment1,500 words1-12 Written feedback from tutor & opportunity to discuss this in tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1004,000 words1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11,12Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayResubmission of essay (4,000 words)1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11,12See notes below.

Re-assessment notes

RE-ASSESSMENT NOTESIf a submitted assignment is deemed to be a Fail, you will be given feedback outlining what needs to be done to bring the assignment to a pass standard and one opportunity for resubmission will be allowed.

You can choose to resubmit a failed assignment ‘in year’ (i.e. before the final Exam Board in July). The resubmission would normally be made 4 weeks after receiving feedback on the first submission. Alternatively, you may opt to go to the Exam Board with the fail mark. You will then be referred to the Consequences Board who will confirm the conditions for resubmission of the work. Normally the resubmission should be by 1st September. You should discuss these options with your tutor

Note: if you choose the second option, the award of PGCE will be delayed until the Exam Board following any successful resubmission (normally held in December).

In the case of the assignment for the Education and Professional Studies module, there may not be time to mark a resubmitted assignment before the end of the programme; this will mean that the award of PGCE will be delayed until the first Examination Board after July (this is normally held in December).

If an assignment is deemed to be a Fail by the Exam Board, the mark obtained on resubmission will be capped at 50%.  If after submitting a revised assignment, you have still failed to gain an overall pass mark for the module, you will have been deemed to have failed the PGCE with no further opportunity for resubmission.   If however, you have passed the Professional Learning module, you can leave the programme with QTS only and can therefore gain employment as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). If you pass both the History Subject Knowledge & Pedagogy and the Educational & Professional Studies modules but fail the Professional Learning module, you can leave the programme with a PGCert (Subject and Education Studies).


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Counsell, Christine (1997) Analytic and Discursive Writing, Historical Association –(1997) Planning the C20 World, Historical Association [downloadable from HA website at by HA members]

Davies, Ian (2010) Debates in History Teaching, London:  Routledge (available as an E-book at Exeter University Library)

Haydn, Terry et al. (2008) Learning to Teach History in the Secondary School, London: Routledge (available as an E-book at Exeter University Library)

Historical Association: Teaching History – journal for the teaching of history in secondary education (available online and selected issues at Exeter University Library)

Historical Association (2007) Teaching Emotive and Controversial History 3-19, downloadable from

Husbands, Chris, Kitson, Alison & Pendry, Anna, (2003) Understanding History Teaching, Open University Press (available as an E-book at Exeter University Library)

Kitson, Alison, Husbands, Chris (2011) Teaching and Learning History 11-18, Open University Press (available as an E-book at Exeter University Library)

Ofsted (2011) History for all report downloadable from

Oftsed (2012) History survey visits supplementary subject-specific guidance downloadable from

Web based and electronic resources: see PGCE History page on ELE (

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

PGCE, History

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

EDUM036 Education and Professional Studies

EDUM052 Professional Learning

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date