FOCUS on History 2019 – 14/05/19


It’s that time again and we are excited to be back in schools working pupils and encouraging them to engage with history at a university level.

This year is a little different as we have teamed up with FOCUS West.

FOCUS West  is an organisation based in the west of Scotland that works with secondary schools that are deemed to have the greatest need; the criterion for inclusion in the programme being that the school has an average progression rate to higher education that is considerably below the national average (less than 25% average progression to higher education). 

Their work is funded by the Scottish Funding Council as part of a national programme known as the Schools for Higher Education Programme. FOCUS West works with educational partners to help all pupils with the potential to succeed to have more choices and opportunities in their higher studies and careers.

Luckily enough one of our co-ordinators Dr Simon Walker works for FOCUS West (and us here at the history department) and so it has created the perfect opportunity to encourage pupils from S3 and S4 to consider history as an option for higher and HE.

Our first session at Port Glasgow was a resounding success.


Not actual footage of us teaching! cc: creative commons


As both Dr Newlands and I are military historians, for the first time in a new school we went with what we know and talked about our favourite subject: Military medicine.   This is always a great excuse to talk about bombs, blood, and bandages and it suitably gory to hold fascination while still having the opportunity to share knowledge to the pupils (and sometimes staff – who possibly love it even more!)

bombs-and-bandages-2019 FW

Simon and Emma had a ball as always, and the pupils seemed to enjoy it.  The engagement was fantastic and there were many responses to question and answers.  After the session, we received some glowing feedback from the school.

Activities were very well resourced and enjoyable for the pupils, particularly the triage task which they engaged with really well. Both Simon and Emma (Dr Newlands) were incredibly enthusiastic and this motivated pupils to participate.

Undoubtedly we are excited to return.

As well as a new partner, we also had new worksheets and material for our source analysis section including a look at prosthetic eyes!


Spot the Difference image


and the role of women in war!


WAAF Image


Next week we are off to another school to start off with the Disease and Society lesson which is always exciting with a new member of the team.  So more news to come!