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Tate seeks new life for axed Tudors

Exam boards are to be asked to consider reinstating some axed GCSEs in British political history.

Old-fashioned courses featuring the Tudors and Stuarts and the English Civil War have been losing ground to popular courses in world and modern history.

Earlier this year the Midland Examining Group scrapped all five of its British history papers and the Southern Examining Group decided to phase out two courses in Aspects of English History, 1509-1689 and 1815-1979.

But the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, which sets the rules for public exams, has asked the boards to reconsider. It is concerned that students will now have no traditional choices.

SCAA chief executive, Dr Nick Tate, who has made British cultural heritage a personal theme, is particularly keen that ways of reinstating at least one paper be explored.

"We are concerned that they have all disappeared," said a spokeswoman. "If the boards all present identical syllabuses, it isn't increasing choice. It would be nice if one could offer a paper with a slightly different flavour. SCAA in general and Nick Tate in particular would be keen to see if the boards could have another look at this."

The exam boards cite lack of demand, pointing out that only 97 candidates entered the MEG's Tudors and Stuarts paper this year, compared with 52, 000 opting for World History.

SCAA believes, however, that there may be sufficient demand if it were concentrated in just one or two traditional papers.

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