The new History curriculum – first thoughts

It’s begun. The first proper leak from the new History curriculum was posted in the Daily Mail a week ago and from all reports the official version will be published very soon. You can see a picture of the article below:

I wasn’t going to write about this as it was a leak but was going to leave my thoughts until the final report. BUT a few things have already irritated me so here goes.

1. Removal of minority heroes

Mary Seacole gone. Equiano gone. Nightingale gone. What a shame. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t believe that you can only have heroes from your own gender or race. BUT these individuals are important as they show that minorities can overcome difficult situations to achieve significance. This alone is worth teaching to kids. I am not the only one irritated by this either, a petition has begun online (please do sign it by following this link) and Greg Jenner is writing a piece for the Huffington Post on it.

2. No mention of historical enquiry

It’s possible that this will be mentioned and the Daily Mail just didn’t publish it as it’s not really headline grabbing, but its current absence is concerning.

3. The sheer volume of content

I teach secondary. Now I did some maths. Most history teachers get 3 lessons per fortnight. So if we say the average school year is 38 weeks that means you have 57 lessons per year. Knock out a few for sports days, trips, exams and you probably have 50 lessons if you are lucky. So over KS3 that’s 150 lessons. 150 lessons to teach the entire list that’s above. Wow. Has anyone at the DfE considered this? I teach at a very high ability school and we’d struggle to get through this.

4. Primary non-specialists

Most primary school teachers are not subject specialists. Yet they now are required to teach about Bede and Athelstan. Good luck!

This is clearly a topic I will come back to this year as it’s going to be the dominate issue for history teachers. The Historical Association are running three forums throughout the country on this in March. I hope to be at the London one and I advise you to attend one too. The more comment, the more feedback, the better:

http://www.history.org.uk/news/news_1649.html

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One Response to The new History curriculum – first thoughts

  1. Darren says:

    Totally agree – the whole thing is a twisted abomination that should have only ever existed in Michael Gove’s monochrome mind. What on earth has possessed him to remove WW2 and the Victorians from primary? How the heck are we going to teach the heptarch to 7 year olds – as far as I know artefacts are a little bit sparse in that area 😦

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