Anyone else HORRIFIED by the new history curriculum?(79 Posts)
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I have only read what has been taken OUT.
Academies aren't following this, are they?
Makes you wonder if he's making it so awful so as to make all of the remaining normal schools move over to academy status...
Yup, that is the only explanation that comes close to making sense. How anyone with a shred of intelligence thinks that it will be possible to engage under-11s in topics like the constitutional monarchy and union of parliaments is unfathomable. Please Mr Gove, spend a weekend planning, and give us a term's worth of plans which will engage children, enable them to demonstrate knowledge and core skills on the changing relationships between Scotland, England and Wales. Your plans should include cross-curricular links, ways of addressing different learning styles, provision for SEN, EAL, G&T, proposals for educational visits and other 'wow' factors.
On the BBC website it says :
'As expected, children will learn a complete history of Britain under the new curriculum.
The youngest children, as today, will be taught about key historical figures and from seven, youngsters will be expected to learn a detailed chronological history of Britain, from the Stone Age through to the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall.'
Oh lawks, what can I say? He's an embarrassment really.
History seems to stop at the Glorious Revolution in KS2.
No WW II just acres of topics that are going to be completely wasted on that age group.
I am glad there is less emphasis on WW2 (and I say this as one who has a professional writing interest in the subject, so I know how important it is). My two children have now studied it three times: in primary school, secondary school and then again later on in secondary.
I would love them to know more about the English Civil War, which seems to be somewhat neglected. I also think that they could do with more knowledge of 1848 and how all those revolutions and uprisings across Europe led to the rise of nationalism, with its attendant consequences in the next century.
But getting back to the seventeenth century, I would think that the chopping off a King's head would be very interesting to primary school children! They certainly seemed to relish the head-chopping element of studying Henry VIII.
I am the History Coordinator at my school. I just read the link in abject horror, and have now resorted to hysterical laughter. Apart from anything else, how much time does Gove think we have available to teach such detailed and complicated History lessons in an already crammed curriculum? All that across 4 years, aged 7 - 11? Absolutely bonkers.
This is the first time I'm feeling relief that as of September next year we'll be an academy, and not bound by this.
Hmmmm. Well my first thought was that's how I did it in chronological order. However in juniors we did selected topics.
Yr3 equivalent - 1066 & the Norman Conquest
Yr4 - The Tudors
Yr 5 - The Victorians
Yr 6 Ww1 & 2
I actually agree that history should be taught in chronological order. My knowlefge of history has always ben totally muddled by the fact that I don't know when the crusades took place, or what happened before or after 1066, or which century Henry 8th lived, or was Nelson living at the same time as Napoleon and so on.
I got an A at GCES
We started again in complete chronological order at secondary starting with I think the Iron Age.
You know the current curriculum? You know, the one that is pleasingly vague and allows teachers to create a syllabus that is appropriate to their particular intake. Why don't we stick with that? I liked that.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Pictures, that sounds like how we were taught in primary not quite 50 years ago. Fairly sensible.
DD is in secondary, and for GCSE would be doing WWII for the third time. She's just been offered ancient history as an alternative, which is what she'll do.
I think the idea of teaching chronologically is a good one, but for me, the horror comes from the sheer volume of it, and the complexity of the concepts that need to be understood to appreciate the historical significance.
By just vaguely splitting the new content into 4 groups, one for each year group across KS2 we're looking at...
Early Briton settlers including the Stone Age, Iron Age and Bronze Age, Celtic culture and patterns of settlement, the Roman conquest and rule of Britain including Caesar, Augustus and Claudius, the decline of the Western Roman Empire, Viking and Anglo Saxon invasions, the spread of Christianity, heptarchy, key developments in reign of Alfred, Althestan, Cnut and Edward the Confessor, the Norman conquest and Norman rule including the Domesday book, feudalism and Norman culture.
All that for 7-8 year olds!
And in just one subject, when mornings are full of English and Numeracy, leaving us 5 afternoons of approx 2 hours (one of which is for PE), so 4 afternoon slots to teach all that PLUS RE, Geography, Art, DT, Computing and Science. We scrape by at the moment with cross-curricular themes that combine learning across subjects, but with a History curriculum that detailed and extensive, I can't see how it'll work.
This is still just a draft, isn't it?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
It is for consultation (says so in the document title) unless there is a document that supercedes the one ive linked to. Hopefully those who are being consulted will fall about laughing hysterically and tell who ever wrote it that they are clearly completely off their rocker.
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Oh, and I'd forgotten the civilisation of Ancient Greece is casually mentioned at the start of the document, so in chronological order that needs to be covered as well in Y3.
We could add that (democracy, citizenship and politics and all) to Y3, but shove the Norman Conquest into Y4 with The Crusades, Plantagenet rulers of the 12th and 13th Century, including the key developments with the reign of Henry II, and covering the murder of Thomas Beckett, the Magna Carter, de Montford's parliament and relationships between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and the Hundred Years War.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
how to respond to consultation
You know what, primary school teachers are amazing already, but now they seem to have to become in depth historians and well as all their other skills. And what about the resources needed for all of this?!
My mistake , you're so right.
No Ancient Egypt. That's the one our Y4s are most engaged and fascinated by. Not sure that learning about de Montfort's parliament will cut it in the same way.... I'd already started thinking "How could I approach that in an engaging way?" And then very quickly realised that actually I just need to get the key facts, write them out and get the children to memorise and regurgitate.
Welcome to Gove's world.
Thank you Badkitten. Will think carefully and respond appropriately.
This is how I was taught history ; chronologically instead of the obsession with WW2 and the Tudors.How can you possibly contextualise modern history without understanding the earlier stuff. I remember making a replica Magna Carta at primary school .
I vividly remember being taught about Richard The Lionheart and the crusades in about the equivalent of year5 , it was also a good way to start to learn about where the Countries around the Med are etc .,plus about the long term impact of people trying to impose alien cultures etc and when I came to do the Ottoman Empire and the First World War my basic knowledge from primary came in useful .
The problem with the curriculum at primary level is the paucity of expectation in it.I have discussed philosophy, politics religion etc with all of mine from the when they first began to talk you just do it in an age appropriate way.Have just had a very interesting discussion with my year 6 ds about why we have an established church and what the impact of that is on our system of democracy .Yesterday he was interested in what we mean when we talk about 'the Crown' in a court of law .
By the looks of that curriculum, I can probably replace the entire history section in our junior school library with a few copies of 'Our Island Story'....
My view on primary education is that it should be laying down the foundations for future learning and a very important foundation is that they need to be interested! Unless we are going to send them all down the pits at the age of 11 there is plenty of time in life to learn about the heptarchy and all the rest of it. In primary history it doesn't actually matter which periods they learn as long as a) it's interesting and b) it helps them develop tools and understanding for studying things in depth in the future.
And the curriculum seems so imperialistic
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I am utterly baffled by the idea that Gove has decided that children leaving primary school will be able to spout dates, tell you when the Peasants Revolt was (with probably not a clue why it happened because there was no time to cover anything in depth) yet will not have the foggiest who Queen Victoria was. or Mary Seacole. Or Churchill. Or Hitler. Or have the remotest interest in history because they have been fed facts and dates and not much else throughout their primary years.
Seriously, what can we do to stop this madness? Please can Gove go and speak to someone who has a clue? Or who will be affected by his stupid, prescriptive and blinkered ideas. Like teachers. Or children. Or parents. What a tit.
I'm sure Ofsted will adore the future history lessons where we sit kids in rows and learn dates by rote cos we don't have time for anything else.
Think the current curric is illogical. Why Norman conquest at secondary school ? Why ww2 at primary ?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Well, it is a consultation, y'all are free to complain thru appropriate channels.
I disagree with chronological teaching as best, I prefer the dip and dive approach.
I'm glad Peasants Revolt is in there, though. It's big in local area history (we live a ten minute walk from an important battle field).
Then again, yr8 DS is learning all about Witchfinder General. I got deliriously excited telling him about the evidence I have that my mother's G-x-many)-parents were among Hopkins' victims: was DS interested? Was he Fig. (Sulk).
I'm thinking that it is his way of encouraging all schools to convert to academies - then they can give up following his stupid curriculum!
I say this as a teacher which welcomes the computer studies inclusion but even the suggested topics for KS1 & 2 are not possible for non specialists to cover with any confidence
I'm with outtolunchagain.
Fortunately ds has a brilliant y3 teacher this year.
Am I being stupid ... why are the crusades such a big deal?
I can understand that they are very interesting to study, and teach all sorts of geographical and religious concepts. Is it just that? I mean, I'm sure I could come up with a rousing defence of studying them, but if they are going to be one of the few topics children study before they drop history at GCSE, are they that worthwhile?
Sorry, I just noticed where this thread is. It came up in active.
None of my business, ignore me.
LRD i think you get a view even if you're not a teacher? It would be weird if teachers saw themselves as a closed community.
Oh, that's very nice of you to say. I just felt a little rude barging in here to insist someone justify teaching the crusades to me! I will rephrase given where this thread is:
I wonder why the crusades is given this prominence. Is it because it's a convenient topic to study religion and geography as well as history? That might be fair enough. It seems - to me - a slightly odd point of medieval history to choose to bring to prominence. It might be I've got a bit of a feminist/class objection here - would children study what happened to the people who didn't go off fighting, too, do you think?
Hello all. I was directed here after starting a thread in AIBU. Didn't know the staffroom existed!
We MUST and I mean MUST get as many people as possible- primary teachers, secondary, parents - EVERYONE to complete the consultation form. We can't let this happen. If you love History then you want to encourage it. The approach that primary schools take at the moment, whilst not perfect, gives pupils a 'taster' of what History is all about. The new proposals mean that many will be put off the subject for life.
I am so worried and upset about what these changes will mean for my job. Who on earth was on the panel that decided this?
We must spread the word too. The u-turn on the ebac has meant that this story has just been buried or lost somewhere. I can't emphasise enough how terrible this idea is. In all my years of teaching this is the worst thing I have ever had to face. I would strike on this issue - I really would.
Surely the point about history is that everything is related. How can you seriously understand the Irish question without understanding how the partition of Ireland came about and in turn how can you understand how partition came about if you don't understand how Ireland was unified and the hatred engendered from the Cromwell years.
Learning the chronology is important because we have a generation , probably two, who see history as a series of snapshots rather than a series of interlinked and dependent events .
I learned history as a massive thrilling story and I was never bored and didn't find it dull , far more teenagers seem to find it dull now because its just random events , the thrill in history is in the interdependence of events and spotting the links and understanding how one action several centuries ago still has implications today .
Sorry that was a bit of a rant but we have lost the art of this and it really saddens me .
History is a very popular subject - our numbers of pupils opting for it increase every year. When parents visit they always say how interesting the curriculum looks and how they wish it was like that in their day.
There is nothing wrong with it at the moment. Primary teachers dip in and out with topics. They have limited time, often it is not a subject that they have even studied to GCSE level and they have to incorporate it into the other subjects that they teach. At secondary level a chronological approach is taken. Starting in year 7 with the Romans usually and finishing year 9 with a 20th C topic. Obviously some topics are covered in more detail than others but again - if a pupil now has the basics they can select history as a GCSE option and look at some areas in much more depth and frequently new aspects of periods that they have looked at before. The process is then repeated at the end of KS4 where pupils can choose to study the subject at A-level.
To have specialist teachers only teaching a 200 year period is utter, utter madness!
But nationally the numbers taking GCSE history are falling at least they were until Gove said everyone has to do history or geography for Ebacc ( don't agree with that) no local state schools around here actually even teach it as a separate subject in year 7 and 8 .
A huge proportion of GCSE students study the causes of the Second World War and the same is true at A level . Surely that can't be right .
I would need to see the numbers as I have taught in 3 different schools and have never taught the causes of WWII at GCSE level or A- level. Obviously it would seem that is an option at some schools but I would really like to see statistics of how many students are taking each of the different exams.
Think ind rev and empire needs far more stress. And post war. Too many end at 1945
Feel a bit naughty going into the staffroom unbidden, but as the mother of 3 history buffs it makes me sad to think, if you are all correct, that they will have to turn into date learning robots. They love the dip into approach at the moment, dd1 (7) is looking at the 60s and really enjoying it.
I don't in principle have a problem with a chronological approach, as long as dd2 gets to do the Egyptians at some point, although she will probably know more about them than her teacher, having been obsessed with them since she was 4.
I do think though at primary school this should be very much a 'selected highlights' approach. Giving teachers a range of suggestions covering a date range, and they need to select 3-6 topics to cover during that year would be ideal. You would then end up with primary school chidren who were excited about history, and you can go back and teach it all in more detail in Secondary school.
Having said that I don't think chronology matters too much as young children cannot really grasp how long ago things happened, as dd2 (5) demonstrated by asking dh which era of the stone age he was born as, and how old he was in the Stuart Era.
I think Chronology is vital. I really do
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Belgianbun is right - I did history sequentially at secondary school, and the chronology being what it is my knowledge of medieval England is scanty, but guess what, I can remember loads about WW2.
Kids will still end up leaving school knowing nothing about the Crusades, because it will have been boiled down to such a basic level, and have become a distant childhood memory.
Also got to love the fact that British political history apparently ends with Margaret Thatcher!
I'm just a parent, and ds is at an independent school, so i probably don't have speaking rights. Fwiw, i think it's important to have a bit of a chronological overview. At the risk of outing myself as a complete geek, when ds was about 5 we spent a long afternoon creating a very poor quality "timeline" around the walls of our study, with dinosaurs at one end and a picture of ds at the other, and over the next few months blu tacked up pictures of wwii aircraft, egyptian gods, anything we came across really, with the aim of getting a general idea how stuff fitted together. Now we have a kings and queens wall chart that is consulted at random intervals (eg when they found richard iii's bones the other day). I would have thought that something like that at ks1 would serve the purpose.
I'm not a teacher but i can't see how you'd get through all the stuff listed for ks2 in any meaningful depth in a million years!
Also, it's all very british isn't it?
When i studied secondary school history in the colonies there was much more of a global element. I remember at gcse level studying apartheid in South Africa, and then comparing/contrasting with Irish history /sectarian issues in Ireland. And at a level we studied the unification of Italy and of Germany.
I disagree Belgian. I think their tee building on their knowledge of what went before.
Kenneth baker said years ago that history ended twenty years ago. ;)
It might be wrong but my instinct on this, as a parent, not a teacher, is that the government shouldn't have any say in what is taught.
They are an uneducated bunch of buffoons anyway, what would they know?
They ought to let people who have studied teaching and history/any other given subject, make the decisions.
I've had enough of the tories, I really have.
Oh and I can remember ZERO from history lessons at secondary school. Absolutely zero.
(and biology, and chemistry, and physics, and geog)
that may say more about me than my teachers though.
Speaking as a secondary school Head of History in a school that is not an academy the new curriculum horrifies me. We regularly have over 100 students choose History (and this was the same before the EBacc) and I can only see numbers going down.
Yes chronology is important but not at the expense of skills and conceptual understanding of key historical themes such as power and conflict.
As the history curriculum stands at the moment, we do go over ground that has been covered before but many pupils arrive with factual knowledge but no knowledge of key historical skills such as analysis of sources, evaluation, interpretation and significance. Primary school history is taught by non-specialist who, I have no doubt, do a fantastic job with the time and resources allocated to the subject. However this also means they do not teach the key skills needed particularly in upper KS2 when all the emphasis is on the SATS.
The new KS3 curriculum is entirely post 1700 and British centric. To give you an idea we currently teach the Romans and Medieval Britain in Year 7. The Tudors and Stuarts, Slavery and the Industrial Revolution in Year 8. Wars (1st, 2nd, Cold and Vietnam), the Holocaust and Britishness in Year 9. Over 50% of that has been removed for very dry topics such as British politics in the 19th century. I did that at A level and I found it boring, try engaging bottom set Year 8. There is hardly any social history and a large emphasis on political history. he had removed from the KS3 curriculum everything that is interesting and engaging.
It would appear Mr Gove wants a generation of pupils who can splurt out facts and he is not bothered about the skills as mentioned above which make History relevant and foster interest and enthusiasm.
This is all aside from the fact that this new curriculum will make 75% of our resources obsolete. I have £2000 per year budget and that has to cover all stationary, photocopying, textbooks etc. Textbooks alone are £15 each. £459 for a full class set.
This is also bearing in mind a new curriculum was only introduced 4 years ago when we changed everything. We have a chronological/thematic curriculum which our pupils enjoy and which produces good historians and excellent take-up at GCSE. If it ain't broke.......
My final point was mentioned upthread. I am lucky to work in a school where History is valued and where we have 4 History specialists. We are in the minority. A lot of schools now teach humanities and/or have non-specialists teaching KS3. The mind boggles over the impact upon the subject nationally.
The man is an ignorant buffoon and I can only hope that during the consultation process someone will make him see sense.
In surprised you still do Romans tbh. Thought most sec schools had binned that
elliepac I agree 100% with everything you have written. Our department follows pretty much exactly what you have outlined. I am still friends with many who qualified with me years ago. They also teach pretty much the same. All of them teach the Romans.
Thank you sovery . Most secondary history departments U know teach roughly the same as us, including the Romans. Reason being the Romans played a more than ample part of the civilisation we have today and are therefore an integral component when teaching about the evolution of society. I don't understand how anyone could not teach the Romans. Plus they were pretty damn interesting.
That's really interesting. I loved history at school did 18th century social & economic for gcse and got an A
Did a level at 6th form & it was almost all political. Napoleonic wars and endless stuff about the Whigs and the Tories. I failed the first year and was allowed to continue by the skin if my teeth. It was so boring and irrelevant. Who cared what tiny bit of land was won, then lost then won again by the French. I did pass in the end but only with a d grade.
elliepac and sovery - wow! That's pretty much what we taught until we were told KS3 had to be put into 2 years and kids start GCSE history (if they choose) in Year 9 (exam in year 10 - no resits). My worry is how to put all that into 2 years, get their skills up to speed and keep it interesting for the students so that they want to continue at early GCSE.
Thanks a lot Mr Gove! and that's even before we consider resourcing it all again.
The most important thing about this is that the curriculum as it stand WILL NOT improve children's historical understanding.
Teaching a long list of information is not a fast track to improving chronological understanding. Children will then have no appreciation of how or why things happened or developed.
The sheer weight of content will also make it impossible to teach especially for primary teachers. This means that children will be unable to engage with subjects and just come out with meaningless information such as "Henry VIII had six wives" with no understanding of why or the impact this had on the United Kingdom and beyond.
This kind of list and an overly focussed approach on content also removes the oppotunity for many children to gain the important skills of reading, writing and critical thinking which can be transferred to other areas of the curriculum.
It is really important that everyone responds to the consultation and emails their MP, this will only change if peoples' inboxes are bulging with worried parents.
As a mother and history teacher of 10 years, plus now working with the Historical Association, the subject association for history in schools, I am deeply saddened by what has been published. This draft curriculum is disastrous for history in schools. It takes no account of child development, is extremely narrow, Anglo-centric and political in nature and throws up huge issues for schools. Primary teachers, who are largely non-specialists will be suddenly expected to deliver the complexities of the Crusades and the Reformation among other things. Where is the training for this? Primary schools will have to re-resource. Where is the money for this? If the complexities of the topics studied at primary level cannot be fully understood by children at Key Stage 2, this will leave a gaping hole for key stage 3 teachers to try to fill when they pick up the thread in key stage 3. The fact that everything pre 1700 has now been lumped into the primary curriculum now makes for an extremely dry key stage 3 curriculum. This added to the heavy over-prescription (remember that we were promised a slimmed down curriculum) will lead to no time for anything other than a gallop through of narrowly focused, insular content with tokenistic attempts at the inclusion of women, world history and issues of diversity. This will lead to a whole host of kids being rubbish at history, but possibly great at pub quizzes!
If you want to do something about this - take a look at the Historical Association website and take our poll www.history.org.uk Why not write to your local MP? If as many people as possible do this - there are sure to be questions raised in the commons.
PS Kenneth Baker has also said that it is not the job of the government to determine the content of the curriculum.
That history poll is here
Poll already completed and draft consultation responded to. We need to get as many people as possible to do the same. For the sake of subject. I have seen many polls from the Historical Association but never seen one where the results are so one-sided.
MP emailed, Hisorical Association poll completed, email to BBC completed, email to the Daily Mail completed (they love an education story - it is NOT my paper of choice) Just the draft consultation to respond to and an email to Mr Gove.
I think we need to encourage all our mum friends to email MPs so it is not just teachers "moaning as usual" in the eyes of the government. Well done to everyone who has done stuff so far!
I'm shocked by this - when I first saw mention of it here I assumed it pertained only to secondary education.
In Scotland, there is no such prescription at primary level. We have to cover key elements of Scottish, European and World history, but there's no list of topics we have to cover. There would be a riot of the Scottish government tried that here!
Just thought I would add, I'm going to try to respond to the consultation. I am not a teacher, just a history graduate and concerned parent.
I went to a Prep school 50 years ago. We did history as a series of completely unrelated snapshots - major battles, dates of relevant monarchs. It was unutterably boring and I didn't bother with history again until I was in my 20s when my best friend's current boyfriend was a history buff and started talking one evening about how this caused that, and so then this happened and as a result..... It was one of the most fascinating hours I had ever spent, just listening to one person talking.
I am so glad dd wasn't subjected to Prep-school type history, if mine was typical. She loves history. It's her favourite subject, she will be doing Ancient History at GCSE as well.
I believe you all when you say this proposed change is a bad thing, and as dd's experience of history has been so successful, I have no idea why it should need changing except for the sake of it.
It seems that many of us are dismayed at what has been published. If you want to change this, please complete the Historical Association poll (link above - thanks ohyoubadkitten) and reply to the consultation, write to your MP.
I am an academic who is doing an interdisciplinary PhD in a historical topic and who graduated in History in the 70s and then went back to do an interdisciplinary MA 8 years ago. I am also a parent of two enthusiastic historians. They are enthusiastic because they have been inspired since a young age by people's stories, and not exclusively powerful white men's stories. I could weep at this sad derailing of the way in which History has developed as a subject which understands the importance of everybody's story, it is totally out of step with the study of History in universities. I am quite sure University academics will be joining teachers in condemning these proposals as setting back the study of History to being the dry uninspiring study of "one thing after another" from the perspective of powerful British white men, it was when I was at school. I went on to a lifelong love of History in spite of it, not because of it.
Just wanted to add that I have responded to the consultation, I got my way on the last one I responded to, so I am hopeful that I am on a bit of a roll. Anyway it is not as if Gove is any stranger to U turns now, is it?
Crikey. Why doesn't he just take history off the curriculum entirely and get quickly to the result he is so clearly looking for? When I have finished weeping, I will start my homework and write/ e mail etc. And I'm not a teacher either but a parent and passionate history graduate who desperately wants to do her Phd but has to wait until DS is older to have the time. So Mr G, you've found someone with time on their hands to add to these articulate history trained people that you are p1ssing off. But then I don't really think he's interested in listening ... Back to the weeping
bump, because there is still time to reply to the consultation.
It's just one big wind up, isn't it?
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