A Response to the 2005 London Bombings

History (Ages 11-14)
A Response to the 2005 London Bombings

What happened after the London bombings?

Is this history?

It’s a long time since the “twenty year” ruling about history in schools.  GCSE specifications from September 2016 include topics up to 2014 and there is a welcome emphasis in many history classrooms on explaining the modern world.  Of course, we are still living through the consequences of 7/7 and our views on their significance will continue to evolve, but this simply reflects the nature of history as a discipline.  No topic remains static, even those stretching far back in time.  If, however, you feel that the teaching of 7/7 would benefit from some wider historical context, we have included materials for an initial overview lesson on the history of terrorism which we hope are useful.

A handout for students - Resource 0 - is available for download here to print and distribute to all students immediately after the video above is shown.  It is a single page summary of the video for students to take away and retain.

Why this particular enquiry question? 

There are many possible approaches to teaching about 7/7 in the history classroom.  We have deliberately avoided a sole focus on causation because we felt that a focus on consequences fitted well with the philosophy of “Miriam’s Vision”.  However, it is almost inevitable that the causes of 7/7 will come up in one of the early lessons and you are advised to be ready with a response.  The teachers who piloted these materials reported that questions about cause emerged naturally in the first lesson and that some fruitful discussion took place, but they also reported that the pupils found a focus on consequences a refreshing change.

Our focus on the key (or second-order) concept of “consequences” was the result of much debate.  We considered “significance” but felt that the event was too recent for such judgments to be possible.  We also considered ‘change’ but rejected this for the same reason.  “Evidence” was another contender, but we felt this didn’t focus on the personal dimension sufficiently.  We have therefore chosen to focus on the consequences of 7/7 which fits well with the overall aims of the education programme.  This focus includes a range of different kinds of consequences: short-term and long-term, direct and indirect, personal and impersonal, positive and negative. We suggest that you approach the analysis of consequences much as you would handle an analysis of causes i.e. encourage the students to categorise and link different consequences together.  You will see in the final outcome and mark scheme that this is the approach we have taken.

Overall, the module presents a classic historical enquiry: A big question is posed which is informed by one of the key concepts and pupils engage critically with a range of relevant source material in order to reach their own considered and substantiated conclusion.

"Miriam’s Vision” History module outline

Task

Focus

Activity

Session 1

What happened on 7th July 2005 (“7/7”)?

What do students know about 7/7?

Find out about Miriam Hyman

Start to record consequences of 7/7

Session 2

Personal consequences (1): Who was affected by 7/7?

Summarise who was involved in 7/7

Expand list of consequences

Session 3

Personal consequences (2): Can negative events have positive consequences?

How one family has responded to 7/7

Expand list of consequences

Session 4

What were the wider consequences of 7/7?

Who was “to blame”?

Expand list of consequences

Session 5

Analysing the consequences of 7/7

Categorise and sort consequences

Session 6

What happened after the London bombings?

Can we apply Miriam’s story to our own lives?

Guided freeform plenary making reference to themes and objectives of the module and the resource

History National Curriculum KS3

The following from the curriculum is covered

Purpose of study

“Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.”

Aims

  • know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
  • gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

Subject content

Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day, including social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society.

Click here for an article about this module or you can visit our Publications page. "Teaching the very recent past: 'Miriam's Vision' and the London Bombings", The Historical Association, Teaching History, September 2016

Click here to download the Student Survey to be completed at the end of the module. Around 10 minutes to complete, it is built into the final session of the module.