Students Staff

Information for schools

We run a variety of activities for schools and are always happy to discuss your ideas for your students. For more information about any of the events and activities listed below, please contact us.

Dr Andrew Priest

Departmental Schools Link Officer

Department of History, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ

Telephone 01206 872653


Events and activities for secondary schools and sixth form providers

Visits to your school or our campus

You are welcome to arrange a visit for your GCSE or A-level students to our campus. You could:

  • attend an event, either half-day (lecture/workshop or mini-conference) of full-day
  • come to a more general talk about studying history at university and/or at Essex

We can also arrange for a member of our Department to visit your school and speak to your students. They can give a subject-specific talk and/or a more general talk about studying history at university. This could be related to your syllabus or be a stand-alone lecture to enthuse pupils about studying history.

Bridges to history and employment project

We are currently involved in a joint project with Canterbury Christ Church, Kent, funded by the Higher Education Academy, which aims to make the transition from secondary education to university as smooth as possible. This is to enable history students to reach their full potential in higher education and ensure they are well-equipped for the world of work.

The project is currently in an initial fact-finding phase, involving visits to local Essex schools and colleges where A-level history is taught, to survey the approaches to teaching the subject. Building on this first phase, we plan to develop a network of partners in Kent and Essex (including universities, schools, colleges, employers and local authorities) amongst whom good practice and information about history teaching and history skills can be shared. The Project Co-ordinator, Matthew Cook, is visiting schools to find out more about what you teach and how you teach it by talking to A-level history teachers and pupils. If you are interested in being involved in this project, please contact us using the details at the top of this page.

Dora Love Prize

Workshops are held, usually in September, for students in Years 7-10 who want to become involved in the Dora Love Prize. Prizes are awarded during Holocaust Memorial Week.

Events and activities for primary schools

History First

Our award-winning History First team, all members of our Department's History Society, undertake voluntary work in local primary schools. They teach children about history, inspiring them with a range of diverse themes (from espionage over pirates to the Wild West) and creative ways of learning.

History resources for schools

We have a number of resource packs with primary sources, lessons plans and worksheets available online.

The Marks Hall Estate

These resource packs for primary and secondary teachers were created by Emma Paulus. Emma holds a History MA from the University of Essex and is a qualified History Teacher. She completed her PGCE in Cumbria and her NQT year at a school in Redbridge. The resources have been designed to fit in with the 2014 new National Curriculum for History.

The History of Witchcraft (KS2 and KS3)

Working with history and drama student volunteers from the University of Essex in 2013, Professor Alison Rowlands, our expert on early modern Germany and the history of witchcraft, designed and ran workshops for local primary and secondary schools. All the resources used have since been uploaded onto the tesconnect website. This website can be used at no cost after you have registered. The two workshops available are described briefly below; please register with tesconnect and follow the links given to access/download the resources.

17th-century witch-finders: Heroes or villains? (KS2, Year 6)

Were the infamous 17th-century Witch-Finders Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’? Using creative learning activities and historical sources, these 4 workshops enable KS2 (Year 6) students to reach their own answer to this question, by looking at the East Anglian Witch-Hunts of 1645-7 from a variety of different 17th-century perspectives. Each Workshop is based on a PowerPoint presentation and detailed lesson plan and is designed to run for c. 80 minutes of teaching time; additional handouts are provided for workshops 1 and 3.

Encounters with the witch-finders (KS3, Year 8 or 9)

This workshop for KS3 students (Year 8 or 9) helps them understand the role that the witch-finders Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne played in the East Anglian witch-hunts of 1645-7. It gives students practice in analysing primary source evidence from the period, and encourages them to empathise with the people involved in the witch-hunts by means of role-play. It is structured by a PowerPoint presentation and lesson plan, which frame the group analysis of case-studies (five case-studies are provided) and role-play activity (see role-play handout). It can be run over one or extended to two teaching hours.

Work placements for Year 10 students

Our department has a limited number of places for Year 10 work experience placements.