WOAD RAGE; Braveheart Approach to Teaching of History 'Helps Fuel Anti-English Bigotry'

By Grant, Graham | Daily Mail (London), December 12, 2002 | Go to article overview

WOAD RAGE; Braveheart Approach to Teaching of History 'Helps Fuel Anti-English Bigotry'


Grant, Graham, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

THE way Scottish history is taught in schools fuels anti-English bigotry because of its 'Braveheart' approach, it was claimed yesterday.

Liberal Democrat MSP Donald Gorrie said Scots were 'grossly ignorant' about their history.

Mr Gorrie, a former history teacher, said pupils were taught only about famous battles between the Scots and English - such as Bannockburn - which triggered anti-English sentiment among children.

He said the focus should shift to teaching Scotland's history 'more honestly' in a way that explained some of the more complex reasons for battles against the English.

His comments follow concerns voiced by the German ambassador Thomas Matussek, who claimed history lessons in this country were too narrow because they focussed too much on Germany's Nazi past.

Earlier this week, Mr Matussek called for an overhaul of the curriculum to include the study of 'modern German democracy'.

Mr Gorrie yesterday claimed the poor state of Scottish history teaching could lead to similar feelings of racism or xenophobia. He said: 'Very few Scots actually know anything about their country's past.

'I think a lot of Scottish history teaching tends to focus on things like Bannockburn and the big historic battles and children go away thinking the English are "the enemy".

'Scottish history isn't really taught particularly well in schools. I think we need to teach it more, and more honestly - otherwise these feelings of anti-Englishness will grow.' Dr Alan MacDonald, Scottish history expert at Dundee University, said: 'I would agree Scotland is probably the only Western European nation where the history of our country does not form a central part of our curriculum. …

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