Hodder History Expert Blog

SHP Conference 2017
By Sally Thorne
08 May
I first attended the SHP conference in 2008. I remember being a bit nervous about not knowing anyone, but this turned out to be an unfounded concern, because what everybody at SHP has in common is a desire to be better History teachers and with that common ground, it's easy to strike up a conversation. I had a great time; I still go back to my session notes on Crime and Punishment and the Arab-Israeli conflict when I need a bit of inspiration, and it was during a workshop on edtech run by Doug Belshaw and Nick Dennis that I signed up to Twitter.

Now we're nearly a decade on and the SHP conference has its own hashtag (#shp17 this year), but it continues to offer outstanding CPD that lies at the cutting edge of our profession. What delights me every year is that there really is something for everyone, no matter where you're coming from or how long you've been doing your job. Last year, I attended some in-depth workshops on teaching 17th century witchcraft and the Georgians and picked up tips for my HoD role on promoting better relationships with SLT. I was inspired by a case study of students designing and erecting a monument to WW1 and I picked up a dozen practical strategies to hack my everyday teaching from the Teachmeet, held as part of the Saturday night fringe offering. All of this was discussed and picked over at length in the evenings and at mealtimes, when I was able to spend hours geeking out about my job with like-minded individuals from all over the world.

If I had to pick a favourite bit of the conference, it might be this social time: when do we ever have time in day to day life to chat about the best way to develop students' understanding of significance, what the best textbooks are for teaching the new A-level or how other people hang their KS3 programme of study together? These conversations inform my planning for the following year, alongside the excellent input from the workshops and plenary speakers. All of this enables me to squeeze the best out of the final fortnight at school, taking my fresh ideas back to share and prepare for September.

This year sees an astounding variety of activities to help to improve your practice and boost the performance of your department. Still all at sea with the new GCSE? Representatives from all the exam boards are running fringe sessions to help. Looking for something new for your sixth formers? Sessions on university links and independent learning will help. Fancy improving your own historical knowledge, teaching of local history, engagement in the classroom? We've got it covered! Have a good look at our programme for more information on these things and a host of other topics. For the first time, we’ve got some sneak previews from the workshop leaders too, so have a look at the YouTube playlist too.

If you're dithering about whether or not it will be a good use of a precious weekend – it really is. If you’re worried about not knowing anyone – you can sit with me, as long as we can talk about history. Also, there is free wine - thanks Hodder!

Sally Thorne 
A Head of History in Bristol and SHP Regional Adviser for the southwest.

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