The National Curriculum for History and GCSE and AS/A2 specifications often touch on social, cultural, religious and ethnic fault lines within and beyond Britain.

Many teachers often avoided controversy in the classroom when focused on history. At the same time, there is widespread recognition that the way many past events are perceived and understood can stir emotions and controversy within and across communities.

This publication examines the various ways teachers can approach these controversial topics and offers effective practice for teaching them.

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  • An introduction providing context and definition
  • An executive summary of the key findings and recommendations
  • The current context with the scope of addressing the teaching of emotive and controversial issues generally across the 3–19 age range and specifically at each key stage
  • The current constraints that inhibit the teaching and learning of emotive and controversial history
  • The key characteristics and examples of effective practice with regard to teaching and learning with a case study for each key stage
  • Four case studies from experts on the latest historical thinking and issues related to areas of controversy
  • Recommendations for developing practice; some are short term and others longer term, some primarily aimed at teachers and schools, and others aimed at other stakeholders
  • Acknowledgements