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History to 16 - Downing Street petition


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#1 Seán Lang

Seán Lang

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  • Interests:All periods of history, though I have a particular interest in the British Empire. I am interested in the way history is used in public life, through my work with bodies like the Historical Association and the Council fo Europe, and also through broadcasting and writing popular history in the 'For Dummies' series. Outside history, I do a lot of work with Samaritans and have recently made my first forays into filmmaking.

Posted 26 July 2007 - 04:26 PM

In case you didn't see this post under 'History Debates':


Should history be a compulsory subject to 16?

The History Practitioners Advisory Team (HPAT) has produced a report (which you can see on a separate post here) arguing that it should be. Much is expected of school history, especially in the areas of providing a narrative structure and an understanding of the development of the British and their identity and identities; the recent Ofsted report on history underlines these demands. It is not a question of whether or not these demands are reasonable, but whether they are reasonable within the current constraints on the timetable time allocated to history. As things stand, they are not. However, once you have the whole age range of 11-16 to work with, and once you get past the distorting effect of the Options round, then you can begin to address the sort of issues that politicians and the public want us to include.

For that reason, I have started a Downing Street petition calling on the government to make history compulsory to 16. You can access it at the following link:

http://petitions.pm....uk/historyto16/

If you agree with the proposition, then please sign it and circulate it to others, It is open until the end of December, so we have until then to gauge popular support for the position. The more signatures, the more seriously government has to take it.

If you're not sure, have a look at the HPAT report and see what you think of the arguments we put forward there.

Just to anticipate a couple of questions you might have:

Yes, we are arguing from history's point of view, but we are not seeking to privilege history over subjects. We argue, along with Chris Culpin, that the whole idea of Core and Foundation subjects is damaging and should be scrapped.

Where does the timetable time come from? From abolishing Citizenship as a subject. It would mean that history, along with other Humanities subjects, would need to take on aspects of Citizenship, but that seems a price worth paying, and entirely appropriate too.

No, it wouldn't mean History GCSE for all: it would be perfectly possible to have a non-GCSE course going as well.

Yes, it would mean CPD and a certain amount of rethinking. But it will also mean a much better experience of history (oh, and PROPER sources to work with - no more gobbets from textbooks in the exam papers) for our pupils, our students - and for us!

Have a look at the HPAT report, see what you think, and sign the petition!




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