Teacher fellows

Hugh Castle

I’m delighted to have been involved in Parallel Histories from the start, both as Chair of Trustees and as the Head of History in one of the schools which pilots Parallel Histories’ new programmes. My interest in evidence-led student investigation of contested memories evolved while experimenting with different approaches to teaching Anglo Irish history. I was struck by the impact that a dual narrative approach had on deepening students’ understanding. It was during our field trips to Dublin, Drogheda, and Belfast that students began to understand why some communities have struggled and continue to struggle to co-exist. I think Parallel Histories is a powerful innovation which empowers teachers to tackle difficult or controversial historical topics, and helps students understand how history is constructed and the role it can play in today’s conflicts. I really think it gives students a deeper understanding of the past and a sense of how rich and real the past is, – it’s one of the reasons A level students tell me for their decision to study History at university.

Covid has been a challenge for every school and in my school the Parallel Histories programme was one of the things which kept students motivated and engaged. We did a lot of online debating with other schools and as much as I can I’ve involved those students who aren’t usually the first in the class to speak up. I think the impact of debating has been impressive – not just in terms of the skills you’d expect to be improved like making arguments and using evidence, but also in terms of confidence and enjoyment of school.

I’m now on my second Parallel Histories themed Erasmus+ programme and it’s been great to work with colleagues in Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany as they apply a Parallel Histories approach to their own historical controversies.

I run a course in Parallel Histories for the Princes Teaching Institute as part of their Subject Leader training. I’ve been teaching history for thirty years, twenty as head of department at Lancaster Royal Grammar School a selective state school in the North-West of England.

Hugh Castle

I’m delighted to have been involved in Parallel Histories from the start, both as Chair of Trustees and as the Head of History in one of the schools which pilots Parallel Histories’ new programmes. My interest in evidence-led student investigation of contested memories evolved while experimenting with different approaches to teaching Anglo Irish history. I was struck by the impact that a dual narrative approach had on deepening students’ understanding. It was during our field trips to Dublin, Drogheda, and Belfast that students began to understand why some communities have struggled and continue to struggle to co-exist. I think Parallel Histories is a powerful innovation which empowers teachers to tackle difficult or controversial historical topics, and helps students understand how history is constructed and the role it can play in today’s conflicts. I really think it gives students a deeper understanding of the past and a sense of how rich and real the past is, – it’s one of the reasons A level students tell me for their decision to study History at university.

Covid has been a challenge for every school and in my school the Parallel Histories programme was one of the things which kept students motivated and engaged. We did a lot of online debating with other schools and as much as I can I’ve involved those students who aren’t usually the first in the class to speak up. I think the impact of debating has been impressive – not just in terms of the skills you’d expect to be improved like making arguments and using evidence, but also in terms of confidence and enjoyment of school.

I’m now on my second Parallel Histories themed Erasmus+ programme and it’s been great to work with colleagues in Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany as they apply a Parallel Histories approach to their own historical controversies.

I run a course in Parallel Histories for the Princes Teaching Institute as part of their Subject Leader training. I’ve been teaching history for thirty years, twenty as head of department at Lancaster Royal Grammar School a selective state school in the North-West of England.