Lesson in Landmarks; Ministers Draw Up 'Must-See' List to Give Children a Love of History

Daily Mail (London), February 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

Lesson in Landmarks; Ministers Draw Up 'Must-See' List to Give Children a Love of History


Byline: Laura Clark Education Correspondent

FROM York's Gothic cathedral to pinnacles of Victorian engineering such as SS Great Britain, scores of landmarks across England tell the story of the nation's history.

But there are fears children are growing up ignorant of the role of major historical sites in 'our island story', despite having so many on their dootstep.

The concerns have prompted ministers to ask English Heritage to draw up a list of local sites for schoolchildren to visit which would 'bring history alive'.

Key sites on the list are expected to include York Minster - Europe's largest Gothic cathedral - as well as the SS Great Britain, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and the Dover Boat, the world's oldest known sea-faring vessel.

English Heritage today released examples of must-see sites in seven regions, and is drawing up a list for the rest of the country. 'All of these are the physical remains of the rich, controversial and thrilling story of England,' said Education Secretary Michael Gove, who initiated the scheme.

'All belong to the people locally, and local children who visit them will be inspired to delve further.'

Mr Gove hopes pupils will be inspired by the historic role their local environment has played over the centuries. 'We have a rich island story, which can be brought to life by seeing our historical and heritage sites,' he said. The [pounds sterling]2.7million scheme, called the Heritage Schools initiative, and funded by the Department for Education, will recruit experts to work with schools and help them use local heritage to fulfil the curriculum.

The project is also partly aimed at helping commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, in 2014, by encouraging schools to identify servicemen who lived in their area and study local war memorials.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: 'In the high street, the housing estate, the park, riverside and field, every town, city and village is full of places in which significant events have taken place.

'We want every child, their parents and teachers to enjoy and take pride in the heritage of their local area. …

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