Case for history

1st November 1996 at 00:00
The Historical Association strongly supports the concerns expressed by Ashley Kent, president of the Geographical Association (TES, October 18) on the sidelining of the humanities in the 14-16 curriculum. History and geography both have an important role to play in the "moral, cultural and mental development of pupils" and in "preparing pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life" (1988 Education Reform Act).

Christine Counsell, chair of the Historical Association's secondary committee, (TES, September 13) put forward the case for raising an awareness of history in older pupils. If we are to create a richer, fuller curriculum which can cater for the needs of all children, the study of history and geography at a more mature age is essential. History allows pupils to develop the ability to analyse, evaluate and interpret - skills so readily cited as essential in training children for future employment.

Moreover, history is an important, even vital, understanding for the development of good citizenship. The only other European country which allows its school children to do so little history, or drop the subject so early, is Albania.

As it stands, the 14-16 curriculum pits the humanities against the sciences and academic courses against vocational ones. This is not a situation calculated to deliver the "balanced and broadly based" curriculum promised by the 1988 Education Reform Act.

The current consideration of the 14-19 curriculum offers the chance to redress the balance.

PROFESSOR CJ WRIGLEY President The Historical Association 59a Kennington Park Road London SE11

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