School Reforms Which 'Write off ' Greats of British History

Daily Mail (London), August 5, 1999 | Go to article overview

School Reforms Which 'Write off ' Greats of British History


Byline: TONY HALPIN

WAR broke out last night over changes to school history teaching which traditionalists claim will undermine Britain's national identity.

Every king and queen and all important dates and battles in our past have been removed as compulsory elements of proposed new lessons for five to 14-year-olds.

The Battle of Hastings, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and the Magna Carta are among studies which will no longer be compulsory in a revised curriculum to be sent to schools next month.

Pupils will no longer even have to learn history in chronological order.

It will be left up to teachers to decide what is taught and when.

Chris McGovern, director of the History Curriculum Association pressure group, said the reforms were the 'final nail in the coffin of British history' .

He called for 50 per cent of lessons to be dedicated to 'the landmarks and personalities of British history'.

Shadow Education Secretary Theresa May added: 'It shows that under Labour even history is history.' But School Standards Minister Estelle Morris insisted that important events and historical figures would be retained and children would continue to learn 'the richness of British history'.

'It is sheer nonsense to say that every king, queen, hero, battle and historical date will be eliminated.

Pupils will learn about the reasons for and the results of historical events and situations,' she said.

'It will also be compulsory for pupils to develop a chronological understanding of the events, people and changes in the appropriate period of history. …

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