Charles Clash with Balls over History Teaching

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Ross Education Correspondent

THE Prince of Wales is on a collision course with ministers over plans to axe traditional history and geography teaching in primary schools.

Bernice McCabe, one of the Prince's closest advisers, said Charles was "passionate" about protecting the jewels of English literature and preserving lessons in British history.

Mrs McCabe, a leading headmistress, condemned reforms to education that she said had reduced schools to "globalised theme parks". In an interview with the Standard, she said too many children are taught skills instead of historical dates, basic science and classic books.

The remarks come on the day Children's Secretary Ed Balls announces that he is abolishing established subject headings in primary schools.

Under the Government's plan, pupils as young as five will study blogging and Google Earth, while history and geography will be rolled into themed lessons on social issues such as global warming.

Traditional subjects will be replaced with six new areas of learning, such as "historical, geographical and social understanding" and "understanding physical development, health and wellbeing". Mrs McCabe, co-director of the Prince's Teaching Institute, said Charles believed the rigorous teaching of subject knowledge was the foundation of a good education.

"He is very passionate about the fact that children need a good grasp of literature and that all children need to understand the history of our country," she said. "He is passionate that these subjects should remain there in the curriculum."

Pupils "might be excited" by spending a week on a project about global warming in which they are supposed to learn a combination of history, science and geography. But they would probably not remember the science or geography behind climate change, she said.

Mrs McCabe is headmistress of North London Collegiate School in Stanmore, an independent girls' school. …