Comeback for British history

14th April 2006 at 01:00
What counts as British? The plan to require A-level history pupils to spend more time studying the United Kingdom (page 10) looks set to start a lively debate among teachers. Under the proposals, the amount of time pupils must spend on British history will increase from one sixth to a quarter, while the emphasis on Hitler and Stalin will be reduced. These are welcome developments. British history is important and should be studied.

Teachers who believe the measures are inward-looking and Blimpish should not worry. The slave trade and the rise and fall of empire are just two topics rich in promise for teachers who wish to explore Britain's role in the development of nations and multi-cultural societies. Our island story is ripe for reappraisal: "warts and everything", as Oliver Cromwell once said. It is time for history teachers to lead the way.

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