About the Case Study
This case study is an illustration of one approach to setting up a local study. It is based on a study of Horsforth, West Yorkshire, prepared for a teachers' workshop at the 2007 Schools History Project conference.
View the Horsforth Powerpoint presentation for learning activities and examples of the type of information you can find about a locality.
This approach could be applied to any locality and is outlined in
How to start a local study - 7 steps to success
Where the study fits in
This approach can be adapted for Key Stages 1 and 2.
See Around Our School for a Key stage 1 case study.
Key Stage 3
This study provides opportunities for pupils to;
- engage with local sources
- use archives to generate and answer questions about the past
- use ICT to research information about the past, process historical data and select, categorise, organise and present their findings
It will allow pupils to
- explore for themselves events .. from different perspectives
- make personal judgements about the relevance and value of information, constructing with evidence of their own, reasoned arguments to support conclusions
- suggest connections between different aspects of the past
- engage personally with family or local history to understand how local affairs link to a broader historical context, and how the past can shape and influence the present...
- select for themselves appropriate ways of communicating their understanding to different audiences
These days it is much easier to research local history - many sources have been digitised and can be accessed online by both teachers and pupils. The ability to take digital photographs and range of formats available for presenting material offer pupils a more varied experience. Local sources are highly motivational for pupuils who can also bring personal and family knowledge to the study.
This case study based on Horsforth takes you through a local study in 7 steps. At each stage it explains;
- where you can find information
- what the sources will look like
- how you can use them to set up relevant learning activities
- how to identify a stimulating focus question.
Step 1 What do we already know about our locality?
- Find your school on a modern map
- Use the map to find clues about the past
- Ask pupils and local people what they already know about their area and its history
- Look at any local websites - urban myths can be good places to start!
Step 2 What can we find out from an initial walk around the area?
- Plan and walk round a route
- Use information and questions from your map to shape the route
- Take along a willing local historian
- Take along any old photographs you have and identify the places
- Take a digital camera for 'now' photographs
- Look for interesting buildings, dates, foundation stones, architectural features and styles
- Record things that look interesting, note obvious changes etc
- Think about what is special about this locality
Step 3 What did this area look like in the past?
- Use old ordnance survey maps to find out more about the history of the area
- Ask pupils to spot evidence for change and continuity comparing an old and new map
- Use a set of historic aerial photographs to find changes between the map dates
Step 4 Which buildings tell me the most about the history of the locality?
- Choose buildings that are interesting, played a part in the history of the area and are important to pupils - if possible ask them to choose
- Find old photographs and compare appearance, use etc with today
- Do the changes in use of buildings relate to wider changes in the character of the locality and society in general?
- Consider issues of heritage, conservation and preservation
Step 5 What were the buildings used for?
Step 6 Who lived and worked here?
- Use a trade directory to find out more about the locality in the 19th and early 20th centuries
- Use it to compile a list of people and jobs
- Integrate ICT skills by turning the information into a database that pupils can interrogate.
- Find out more about the people by using the census.
Step 7 What was this place all about - what makes it special?
- Identify a focus question for the next stage of your study
- Ask pupils what they think is special about their locality and what they think are important questions that need further investigation
- Did any of the sources make a statement that could be tested?
- Where does this locality link to the broader historical context?
The case study is presented as a powerpoint presentation that can be used as a template for your own study.
View the Horsforth Case Study as a Powerpoint presentation.
How to start a local study - 7 steps to success - a guide to setting up a study of your own locality.