History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

Teaching Issues

The Proposed History National Curriculum – where are we now?

ssYou have got to love Simon Schama.  Not only does he spin a great historical yarn, he is also clearly on the side of history teachers.

“Insulting and offensive”, “pedantic and utopian” and a “ridiculous shopping list” of topics, are just a few of the terms he used at the Hay Festival  to describe Gove’s proposals. He urged teachers not to sign up to the curriculum in its current form.

This, from the chap who advised the Secretary of State on what should go into a decent history curriculum earlier in the process.

Richard Evans has also been vocal in his criticism of the proposals. He recently described them as a “Pub quiz and not an education

Last month we had Gove bad mouthing an activity from the  Historical Association’s journal  Primary History  and, in the next breath having a pop at Russell Tarr’s work over in France. He took both out of context. Russell Tarr’s response in The Guardian, was clear. He said, “His (Gove’s) criticisms betray a lack of knowledge, understanding, and interpretation that would make a GCSE history student blush with shame.”

Russell Tarr does some great work – and gives loads of cracking ideas. It is interesting to note that Gove cited Tarr’s examples as poor practice, when it isn’t, when Tarr doesn’t teach in the state sector, or in this country, and follows an IGCSE course?!

The Historical Association’s response can be found here. The HA ended its argument (supported by loads of history academics in a letter to The Times) by saying… “in the past politicians of all parties avoided prescribing history content because only totalitarian regimes want to control what young people think about their past.”

What has been quite interesting is the evidence base Gove used for his premise that kids don’t presently know enough. A Freedom of Information Act request from a retired teacher found that he used  a survey from Premier Inn to base his arguments on! But then again The Secretary of State for Education did choose to publish it in The Mail on Sunday. Tristram Hunt was quick to pick up on the dodgy use of evidence. He said that The Minister could be called Mr Sloppy if he doesn’t pull his socks up.

So where are we now? Will the proposals change? Well, it appears that Gove will have to listen to reason and amend his dreadful plan to bore kids to death through a history curriculum which is not fit for purpose.

We are told that the start date for Key Stage 3 will be put back. But to when? 1600? 1500? 1066? There are also rumours that some of the content will go – phew!

The main problem is, the longer we are left in the dark, the less time there will be to prepare for 2014…This alongside the changes to GCSEs that were leaked earlier this week is enough to make you want to sit in a darkened room for a while…til  2015 maybe?


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