Simon Harrison, Headteacher of Crofton School in Hampshire and member of HA Secondary Committee, provides anyone who needs them with arguments to present to senior leadership as to why your history department needs HA Corporate Membership.
From history teacher to Headteacher, in over 25 years of teaching I have filled most school roles; history teacher, in the ‘middle’ as a subject leader, an Advanced Skills Teacher, senior leader and eventually Headteacher. I have learned a lot about leadership in Secondary Schools along the way, and becoming a better history teacher enabled me to become a better leader. The one constant has been the challenge and support provided by a vibrant subject community and this has primarily come through the Historical Association. Whatever your career stage or aspirations, HA membership is essential. Pretty much the first thing I did when I became a Headteacher was pay for Corporate HA Membership for my History department, but if you don’t have the luxury of working in a school run by a fellow historian, here are four reasons to do it that you can take to the boss!
1: HA membership improves staff wellbeing: working in our subject area is the greatest motivation for History teachers. We’ll do all the other stuff, break duties, marking, parents’ evening, because we know they are important, and we have to. But what really fires us up is developing our subject knowledge and using this to excite and engage our pupils. So, don’t give us post cards or discounted gym membership, just pay for us to join the HA.
2: Engagement in Curriculum Discourse: curriculum review work can too often simply mean recycling the same old ideas and topics, unless you have easy access to up to date subject specific curriculum discourse and a chance to engage with fellow professionals at the top of their game. So, don’t send me to see how your favourite department do it, or even to see the school down the road, just buy us an HA membership.
3: Owning our development: generic CPD for all is limited, what we really need is a wide range of resources that we can tailor to our needs and stage of development. You probably can’t find me a highly rated History subject leader development programme, a chance to be a Chartered History Teacher, or a lesson sequence on life in a medieval village. But if you buy me HA Membership, I can get all of this and more without having to bother you again.
4: Ofsted (if we must…): subject leaders and their teams are at the heart of any successful Ofsted inspection. Obviously, you’re not going to ask us to do things just for a fleeting visit once every 4 years, that would be crazy…but if you did want us to as well prepared as possible, then give us the opportunity to be exposed to challenging ideas about the History curriculum that match our intent, plus the resources implement these ideas, and you’ll see the impact on our pupils. As it happens, HA membership gives us access to exactly the right resources to support this.
Whether you are thinking of joining, or a member already and paying from your department budget or own pocket, I hope this will help you to argue your case. Personally, I think it’s harder to find reasons not to pay for such an extensive and cost-effective range of benefits, I hope your headteacher agrees!