Site Reviews

Primary reviews click here

What people say about Neil’s INSET work


What do secondary colleagues say about keystage history?

Ben Walsh the highly accomplished textbook writer and inspirational INSET provider writes about the website:
Keystage history has three great strengths. Firstly, the coherent structure built around issues which every teacher recognises as being important. Secondly, the quality of the outstanding lessons which students and teachers will understand, follow, and God forbid, even enjoy! Thirdly, you get a real feel that someone who has ‘been there’ is just sitting down and talking to you, offering examples from his experience that will work in different circumstances. This is exactly what many departments need. 

Below are teachers’ views:

I think your website is fantastic, really useful ideas and lesson plans that I have used and adapted for different lessons. For several consecutive observations I was getting “good with outstanding features”. I then used one of the lesson plans on your website (Rosa Parks) and got “outstanding”. This obviously gave me the confidence to carry on planning my own outstanding lesson sequences and resources – so thank you very much! Hannah Wallace, Notre Dame, Southwark (December 2014)

We love the site and have certainly been inspired by the activities. We use many of them on a daily basis as a history department. It has helped to revolutionise one of my colleagues’ teaching.  The resources and activities are easily to follow, with clear lesson plans. We adapt a few things along the way, get ideas from some of them to create our own materials and they always go down well with the classes. We find the material particularly helpful with GCSE classes: we use most of the materials on international relations, the USA and the Vietnam War. Thoroughly Modern Millie is a great favourite of mine as is the lesson on the German naval threat in the lead up to WW1: it’s amazing how excited kids can get about sticking little ships on to a board! Chris McKie, Birkenhead School  

The Key Stage History website has been a real companion to me in regards to all areas of my practice. The resources for planning smart lessons have really changed my approach to assessments and how to develop key skills and concepts in lessons. Recently becoming Subject Leader of History I have been using different resources, such as the long term plans and how to incorporate key skills and concepts into learning in KS3. I also enjoy the fact it is kept up-to-date regularly and has a blog that gives insight into the current political and cultural side of History in the curriculum. Neil’s resources are organized in a really user friendly way and split into Key Stage to make it even more accessible. It is a one stop shop and is full of all the great ideas that Neil discusses on his courses. I can’t recommend the site highly enough. Lindsay Bruce 

Keystage history is an outstanding resource! The lesson plans and resources are fantastic. They promote enquiry based learning and engage students through the whole lesson. The quality of the resources is excellent and varied. Although the resources can be altered, there really is no need to as they allow for progression and engagement and all students are motivated to learn. The website is so much more though than lesson plans and resources. There are excellent pointers and ideas for all aspects of working in, or running a department. I was introduced to it by my previous head of department and the subscription was one of the first things I bought with my budget at my current school! A fabulous website, Andrea Smith, Head of History, Standish Community High School

I was recommended Keystage history through a colleague at one of my placements, she said it was hands down the best website for history teachers. I signed up right away. Keystage history is not just about providing lesson plans and resources it is structured to help you become an outstanding teacher and inspire you to be the absolute best teacher you can be. It is the most comprehensive guide to being an outstanding history teacher, be it in the classroom or as head of a department. I have used it to improve attainment and progress at KS4 and to effectively build SOW at KS3 that get the younger pupils excited about history. Lynne Madden, Bitterne Park School. Southampton 

“Keystage history has been a fantastic place to find imaginative ideas and engaging sources for my students. It has helped me deliver lessons where students think for themselves while solving historical questions.” Chris Rowlett, Assistant Headteacher, Woodbrook Vale High School 

I love the site! At the moment, I am leading quite a small department so the site is almost like having an extra person for me. I have found it really useful for helping me to reinvigorate my teaching and it’s great to look at just to get some ideas when you’re a bit stuck! All of the head of dept stuff which is on there is also really useful to me.   I’m really grateful that you’ve set it up – I have never really found anything like it and it’s great that everything I need is all in one place.  Adding the ‘upcoming resources’ bit recently was a really good idea tooAse Welsh, Astley Cooper School, Hertfordshire 

I find the site extremely helpful.  The lesson examples were the main reason I first signed up.  However going deeper, the site has been invaluable in helping me to change to Controlled Assessment at KS4, and the section on curriculum design and planning has prevented many a headache when adapting schemes to fit new thinking.  I have also found the blog to be both enlightening , and very useful when arguing with SLT regarding History’s place within the curriculum.  Andrew Key, Subject Leader Mill Chase School, Hampshire 

It goes without saying that your site is more than excellent.  It is invaluable. Laurence Skelding, British Overseas School, Karachi 

Having attended a course run by Neil Thompson and found it valuable I took out a subscription to his website Keystage history. I was very glad I did. The website is easy to use and very well set out . It contains a wealth of good ideas about pedagogy for all key stages and gets straight to the heart of thorny issues such as progression. There are excellent banks of lesson resources and exemplars, a number of which I have tried out this year to the evident enjoyment of classes. There is authoritative advice in all sections of the website and in the blog from Neil, an experienced History inspector who really understands the issues and the gaps between government policy and practicality. It is reassuring to read trenchant views here similar to my own. This website has been compiled with great care and understanding and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who wishes to improve learning in the History classroom.  Andy Dalgleish Head of Cultural faculty, Helston Community College 

Keystage history is a really excellent resource, very easy to use. It does what it says in the home page: a one stop shop but also includes great links to external sites. I like the detailed examples and work samples that go alongside points made. I would like to thank Keystage History very much – you have saved me a lot of time and stress, particularly during Ofsted inspections. Penny Goalby, Safa School

We are using the site a great deal. It’s brilliant, really. We have slightly modified one or two lessons to suit a particular group, but there’s some great ideas there. The Battalion 101 lesson had a great impact on the students, and the debate went on into lunchtime! Very interesting to see how the kids developed such different interpretations. Thanks for your help.  Lee Williams, Thomas Adams School, Shropshire (May 2012)

Anne Richardson, History Subject Leader, Toynbee School, Chandler’s Ford
Keystage History is our first port of call for inspirational and high quality lesson plans/ ideas and resources and rarely a week goes by without us using something in our lessons from the website – we have particularly appreciated the Liberal Reforms resources which have certainly livened up our lessons! I also find the sections on Curriculum Design, Planning and Progression for example, invaluable in helping me to assess where we are as a department and helping us to plan our development. Hot Topics and In the News are really useful and visited regularly…. in fact it all is … a first class resource and amazing value! 

Richard McFahn, when Humanities adviser in West Sussex wrote
My first port of call when asked to work with teachers across the age range is always This website is simply immense. It has clear, sensible advice, training activities and outstanding lessons to download and use off the peg. I cannot recommend keystagehistory highly enough. It really is a treasure chest of brilliant ideas and offers practical solutions for all teachers across the age range. It covers every area you need to know about as a teacher, subject leader and a history adviser. It is like having your own on-line expert always available at your finger tips! The subscription is money very well spent.

Kate Mason, Head of Humanities , Ivanhoe College, Leicestershire.
The kids love the lesson about the cruelty of the Lash and it really gets them to consider evidence in detail and the context of the evidence. It helps them to understand that significance and interpretations change over time. I have found the site very interesting, myself.

Kathryn Langford-Holt, Bearwood College, Wokingham 
I have been a subscriber to Key Stage History for three years and I have found it to be an invaluable source of information on effective pedagogy.  The excellent resources and advice have been a continual support throughout my development as both a new teacher and as a Head of History.  I quickly realised how indispensable this website was when I moved  schools and I have swiftly re-subscribed and extolled its virtues to my new department! 

Jenny Laycock, City of Norwich School
The site has helped me with new and innovative ways of teaching concepts and ideas with the range of teaching resources and also allowed me to develop professionally looking at ideas like AFL in the classroom.  With most of us not able to go on expensive INSET now, the site provides a way of looking into other classrooms and seeing what other people do.  I also like the way the resources are produced to a really high quality, but they can be easily adapted to suit the needs of our classes/pupils. )

Claire Horobin, Director of Social Studies at Sidney Stringer School Coventry: “I find the site very user friendly and inspirational.  The lessons that I’ve used all went down really well, and were easy to adapt to my individual class needs. I liked the way that the lessons all had clear progression in them, and the resources were of a really high quality.  There is no doubt the lessons have enhanced the quality of our students’ learning.  I really rate the resources and think the site is very good value for money”.

Tim Johnson
I teach at a school in North Birmingham and it is my first Subject Leader’s post. I have to say I have found the resources and advice on your website extremely useful in helping me put things in place for moving the department even further forward next year’.  


Reviews about Neil’s advisory work from secondary colleagues

Simon Harrison, History AST, now Deputy Headteacher at Swanmore Technology College, nr. Southampton writes:
During the 13 years I have worked with Neil his support has never been less than outstanding. The one to one support he offers is constructive, incisive and always focussed on improving the quality of learning. Neil’s combination of passion for his subject and breadth of experience has always ensured that his advice carries great authority, continuously developing the practice of both myself, my department and countless other history teachers in Hampshire and beyond. Neil’s courses are meticulously planned and professionally delivered to ensure relevance, engagement and inspiration. I’ve yet to attend a course run by Neil that hasn’t left me with an array of ideas to apply in the classroom, many of them the next day! I, and perhaps more importantly the pupils I teach, have benefited enormously from working with Neil – I would recommend him to any teacher who wants both inspiration and practicality, a rare combination in my experience.

Claire Conley-Harper, Head of History, Court Moor School, Fleet writes:
Neil’s support has been invaluable to us, providing inspiration, encouragement and challenge. He promotes thought provoking and intelligent debate about teaching History, alongside practical support to develop classroom activities and enhance the experience of History for students.

Steve Rollett, Head of History Noadswood School, Dibden Purlieu, nr. Southampton writes:
The quality of Neil’s understanding, analysis and advice relating to History teaching is without question the best that I have found. Neil has the ability to offer cutting-edge solutions to any issues – teaching and learning, leadership, curriculum, assessment and many more. The improvements we have made at KS3 have been drawn from work done by Neil. He always seems to be one step ahead with an insight into the latest thinking, a new idea to try out or a better twist on an old lesson.

Sarah Herrity, History AST, Wyvern Technology College, nr. Eastleigh writes:
Neil has had an invaluable impact on my practice as a teacher, Head of History and as an AST. He has inspired and supported me and countless other history teachers within Hampshire to achieve the very highest standards in all of these roles. His breadth and depth of knowledge in terms of history as a subject, teaching practice and current educational issues/research ensures that his advice is both tried and tested and up to date and therefore carries great weight.

Neil Bates, Head of History, Fort Hill School, Basingstoke writes: 
Above and beyond a thorough knowledge of all aspects of history teaching (from government policy down to the nitty-gritty of classroom practice), what always impressed me about Neil was his ability to innovate. Where I would see one possibility for a lesson or activity, he would see several. Neil would always see potential pitfalls and have solutions ready at hand. He has an ability to see how an idea for a lesson or an activity could be adapted for different contexts, whether these be students, schools or practitioners. I can say in all honesty that any success I have had as a history teacher has been supported, guided and encouraged by Neil.

What people say about Neil’s INSET work


The most useful, well-prepared, interesting engaging course I have ever been on. (March 2013: Course delivered in Leeds on Exciting history at KS1 and 2)
Katie Pitts Lofthouse Gate Primary School

Neil Thompson is an extremely effective communicator with excellent subject knowledge and lots of constructive ideas that have made me much more confident (March 2013: Course delivered in Leeds on Exciting history at KS1 and 2)
Bethan Irving, St Paulinus RC Primary School

Neil Thompson led a fantastic, inspirational INSET helping us to develop the teaching of History at St. Luke’s. Delivered in a really practical, engaging manner, all staff left brimming with ideas and full of enthusiasm to teach creative, thought provoking History. In addition, having access to the website has been invaluable! There are so many exciting yet challenging lesson ideas which can be easily tailored to suit the needs of any class. An incredibly useful resource! (January 2013)
Sarah Hedges, St Luke’s Primary School, Sway, Hampshire


What a revelation! I had been so scared of differentiation and relied on outcome only, I didn’t know where to start. Neil’s course was fantastic and instantly made me feel like I could differentiate every lesson, without having a nervous breakdown. There were tips for quick differentiation tasks for example push questions for more able and more thorough tasks such as reducing sources for less able and using word frames. It had never occurred to me that I could differentiate pictures, these tips have served me well for some excellent starters and tasks to develop thinking skills. I have already seen the positives from the course, especially in the more able/G+T students who are now comfortable thinking beyond the work set and really look forward to their extension questions to discuss – they like to know that they are developing skills that will serve them well in their GCSE. The course was such a success for me that my head teacher asked me to run a training session for new staff to help them with differentiation. 
Lindsay Bruce 
(April 2013)

I was inspired by Neil’s delivery. It was the best course I have been on for 20 years. Neil Thompson is an outstanding practitioner at the top of his game with lots of practical strategies. (March 2013: course on Raising attainment in GCSE history)
Phil Winstanley, Failsworth High School

Neil is an inspirational historian. The course was outstanding, very interactive and I got lots from it. (January 2013: course on Maximising performance in Key Stage 4 history)
Kerri McEleney leading teacher St Mary Magdalene Academy

Reviews of National Course on differentiation in history at KS3-5, January 2013
Outstanding. Lots of excellent, creative strategies, well communicated. Charlotte Coleman, Queen Elizabeth School, Barnet  
Fun, friendly, informative and challenging, this course was outstanding. Neil has amazing knowledge and is a great teacher
.Natalie Lytton, Claverham Community College

What delegates thought of Neil’s course on raising attainment in GCSE history (December 2012):
Outstanding in all respects. Neil’s course was really beneficial: great range of techniques for teachers at all stages of experience. Very supportive and really useful. 
Dan Elson, Marling School
The course was exceptionally useful as well as enjoyable. Lots of great NEW strategies and teaching ideas which can be implemented tomorrow in the classroom. Melanie Davies, Ecclesbourne School
An outstanding course. It was not rushed but very full and informative. It has given me so much to think about . I want to try the ideas as soon as possible. Sara Pearman, Woodlands Academy

Neil’s course (on highly effective teaching and learning at AS and A2) was outstanding. Lots of superb teaching ideas delivered in a very engaging and interesting format. I really recommend this course – the best I’ve been on. (November 2012)
Kate Sykes, Solihull School

KSH footer silhouette