History Education

The History Education group develops knowledge, practice and policy in the teaching and learning of History in educational contexts, with a particular emphasis on history teachers’ professional learning and the ways in which curriculum policies play out in different school contexts.

Group members are academics, graduate students and practitioners engaged in a range of research and development projects, some of which intersect with the work of other research groups, particularly the Teacher Education and Professional Learning group and OSAT.

We maintain a tradition of learning and researching to develop original thinking, critical perspectives and new knowledge in history education and are particularly interested in the nature of the relationships between school history and the academic discipline and between school history and young people’s encounters with the past in other contexts, including their families and local communities. Our interest in teachers’ professional learning explores similar connections, and is often conducted in partnership with teachers and mentors, exploring and enhancing the ways in which they draw on their disciplinary understandings, as well as other sources, in developing their practice.  We work in close collaboration with the Historical Association, encouraging practitioner researchers (including PGCE students) to share their work through the professional journal, Teaching History, and also co-direct the association’s annual survey of history teaching in secondary schools in England. The main aim of this survey is to explore the influence of changing government policies – in relation to assessment and accountability measures as well as curriculum reform – on the ways in which history is taught and to whom.


  • Todd, J. (2014 forthcoming) Negotiating knowledge in the history classroom. In I. Thompson (ed) Designing Tasks in Secondary Education:  Enhancing subject understanding and student engagement. London and New York: Routledge. 
  • Childs, A., Burn, K. & McNicholl, J. (2013) What influences the learning cultures of subject departments in secondary schools? A study of four subject departments in England. Teacher Development 17 (1), 35-54.
  • Harris, R., Burn, K. and Woolley (2013) The Guided Reader to Learning and Teaching History, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Burn, K. (2012) ‘If I wasn’t learning anything new about teaching I would have left it by now!’ Teaching History, 146, 40-49.
  • Harris, R., Downey, C. and Burn K. (2012)  History education in comprehensive schools: using school-level data to interpret national patterns, Oxford Review of Education 38 (4), 413-436.
  • Harris, R. & Burn, K. (2011) Curriculum theory, curriculum policy and the problem of ill-disciplined thinking, Journal of Education Policy 26 (2) 245-261.
  • Burn, K. (2007) Professional knowledge and identity in a contested discipline: challenges for student teachers and teacher educators, Oxford Review of Education, 33 (4) 445-467.
  • Burn, K., Childs, A., & McNicholl, J. (2007). The potential and challenges for student-teachers’ learning of subject specific pedagogical knowledge within secondary school subject departments. The Curriculum Journal, 18(4), 429-445


  • Burn., K. & Harris, R. (2013) Survey of history in schools in England 2013, Historical Association Download