Edinburgh Local

History for Schools

History for Schools is a new programme at the University of Edinburgh that aims to get school pupils (from ages 13 to 16) excited about History.

History for Schools group 2017
History for Schools group 2017

The initiative brings History students from the University, with their enthusiasm and expertise, into local classrooms to mentor pupils. In 2017 the project went to two local schools, Boroughmuir High School and St Thomas of Aquin’s High School. The project is operating in four local schools, St Thomas of Aquin’s High School, Craigroyston High School, Leith Academy and Tynecastle High School. 

Next year we will bring 23 Honours students in History into five schools.

We hope that pupils taking part, with the help of student volunteers, will be inspired and equipped to achieve better grades, and aspire to study for a university degree in the future.

Programme details

To help the pupils understand the meaning and relevance of the subject, we delve into the fascinating world of Scottish history. By drawing on their family histories, pupils can make sense of the wider context they study throughout the programme.

The programme creates a historical backdrop as a way of presenting pupils with more contemporary issues. They come along to events at the University such as 'What Does President Trump Mean?' and 'Brexit - What Does It Mean for Your Community?', as well as joining classes at the Scottish National War Memorial and visiting exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland. 

They introduced different styles of learning history, and made games for us. They made it very interesting, and they actually made me answer questions rather than just sit there. I became more interested in the 1920s history of Germany through games and other new tasks. It made the coursework less complicated.

Pupil at St Thomas of Aquin’s High School

Student volunteers

The University students are volunteers and spend around six hours per week (including training and supervision) working in classrooms. By bringing students into schools, pupils have the opportunity to speak to them about university and think about their longer-term academic goals. Some pupils have never met a student before and this experience may inspire them to want to go to university.

I am very impressed with the overall success of this project, which is largely due to the drive and enthusiasm of the Course Director, Adam. I am very pleased that strong working relationships have been established between the University of Edinburgh and two of our secondary schools, and I would be keen to support and extend this collaboration to other schools within the city.

Sharon MuirQuality Improvement, City of Edinburgh Council


The programme was launched in December 2016 by Dr Adam Budd, a Cultural History Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. The aim is to:

  • provide a meaningful experience for everyone involved
  • build sustainable relationships with our neighbouring schools, their communities and beyond
  • provide a useful professional experience for our students

Find out more

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact its director, Dr Budd.

Email Dr Adam Budd