Research and Practice in History Education in England: A Perspective from London

Arthur Chapman


This paper reflects on the current state of history education research and practice in England by exploring the aims that history education serves in theory and in practice and by sketching recent trends in English history education research and scholarship. Aims are explored through reflection on the ways in which they have been discussed in English history education literature and through an analysis of recent English curriculum documents. The paper goes on to explore teachers’ ideas about aims, as revealed in recent curriculum contestation, and teacher and student thinking about aims, as revealed in aspects of two published studies – on student teacher’s thinking about what history education is for and school students’ understandings of the value of learning history. Changes in history education research and theory are explored by comparing three editions of an influential book, written for teachers and teacher educators. These editions span the period between 2000 and the present and analysis of the focus on the chapters in the editions enables change and continuity in research and theorizing during this period to be considered. The paper ends by identifying possible future agendas for English history education research and theorizing.

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