Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pupils 'woefully undernourished' in history

Education Secretary Michael Gove is raising fresh concerns that youngsters are leaving school "woefully undernourished" in the subject of history.

In a speech today, he says he is "startled" by the narrowness of the topics pupils end up studying in history.

English exam boards only offer pupils the chance to study the "modern world" or the "schools history project", he claims.

"I'm an unashamed and unapologetic advocate for the central role of history in our curriculum," Mr Gove says.

"Which is why I'm genuinely worried that - despite the best efforts of brilliant history teachers, gifted academics and the television and publishing executives who've helped to popularise history - our curriculum and examinations system mean that children thirsting to know more about our past leave school woefully undernourished."

He cites a recent survey which found around half of English 18-to-24-year-olds are unaware that Nelson led the British to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, and a similar proportion of young people did not know that the Romans built Hadrian's Wall. more