History Heroes – Now I Didn’t Know That!


Posted by Andy Goddard

Posted in News


Kevin Gover discovers that the award-winning ‘History Heroes’ cards created here in Hampshire are – so far – a knockout.

Sometimes you meet people in our area that totally inspire you. They get off their backsides and come up with an amazing idea. Then they get off their backsides again and put the idea into practice. Alexandra Ehrmann is one of those people.

Alex and I meet at a café in Alresford, not far from her home to talk about ‘History Heroes’, a beautifully presented pack of cards with details and questions on the 40 most significant characters in a series of subjects. The four sections Alex showed me were heroes, scientists, sports heroes and World War 1:

“I have to give credit to a history teacher called Harry Hastings who came up with the original concept. It’s something to get you away from your computer screen and smartphone. Their USP is their concept. Every card tells the story of every individual.”

I could probably name 200 sports stars, so how does she narrow it down?

“Rigour. Is this a person that everybody in the world would know about? Ayrton Senna, Ali, Pele… nobody could argue with those. Jonny Wilkinson didn’t make the cut. Yes, he’s a great player, but not quite in the 40.”

The cards have only been out since the summer of 2014 and yet they have already won a Junior Design Award:

“It never occurred to me that they would win. I even had to email them to say ‘Really?’ – yes, the judges loved them!”

Perhaps the best gauge to how well things will work is to take the project to the children themselves. Here’s what happened at Ropley Primary School. Clare Farrell is the Deputy Headteacher there:

“Alex carried out workshops using her ‘Famous Scientist’ History Heroes cards in all of our KS2 classes as part of a science week. The workshops were highly engaging and the children responded with enthusiasm. They were very keen to find out about the different scientists on the cards. and also to share their existing knowledge with each other.

“During the workshop, Alex used the History Heroes cards as a vehicle for getting the children to participate in a range of stimulating drama, speaking and listening and reading activities. The children thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and responded very well to the activities as there was a ‘game based’ approach from using the cards.

“The History Heroes cards provide a fantastic teaching and learning resource to use within a classroom as they are packed full of interesting facts about the famous people, such as scientists and are presented in a way which appeals to the children. Alex’s workshops were a big hit with all the Ropley children and staff!

With more subjects on the way, it seems like the sky’s the limit for expansion. There may be an online version and a teaching app. And no, Alex won’t go on ‘Dragons’ Den’:

“I don’t want to give it away!”