More maps, less Hitler on the way

FOUR-year-olds will be taught about maps and teenagers will focus less on Hitler under an overhaul of geography and history teaching by the Government's curriculum watchdog.

New guidance for teachers on planning and teaching the subjects from the foundation stage to key stage 4 will be published next year.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority already offers schemes of work for history and geography, but the current project aims to move away from a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

National curriculum content will remain intact but schools will be encouraged to think more imaginatively about how they teach and the time allocated to topics.

Advisers from the curriculum quango will meet junior education minister Baroness Cathy Ashton to discuss the changes.

The guidance will also tackle:

* how to write primary plans tailored to individual schools' location and pupils;

* combining history and geography;

* better planning of lessons at KS3 to reduce the "Hitlerisation" of history and give more time for non-European history.

The Office for Standards in Education has heavily criticised primary teachers' reliance on commercially-produced worksheets in geography, saying pupils' standards in geography are lower than all other subjects.

Diane Swift, professional development officer with the Geographical Association, said: "The project is about giving practitioners the confidence to work creatively with the current schemes of work through practical examples."

Roy Hughes, chairman of the Historical Association primary committee, said:

"The new approach will help history co-ordinators to plan units, as it is much more sophisticated."

Ben Walsh, of the Historical Association secondary committee, said:

"Non-European history does not get much of a look in at present. We will show the planning and models some schools have used to get a better balance."

Letters, 20

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