The end of history as we know it

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
When the razzmatazz of literacy hours has died down the implications of the decision to relegate history to the role of a minor subject become clear.

Progression through key stages is now impossible as their chronological ship has been fatally holed in favour of a pick-and-mix curriculum at key stage 2. The fiction of a national curriculum based on an alleged coherent ideology is ended.

The message to parents and teachers is that the arts and humanities are curriculum frills, superfluous to everyday life. The analytical skills of history which are the current orthodoxy - debate, evaluating evidence - are now to be abandoned. Pressures of time will be a return to the Sellars and Yeatman agenda, a few gems from British historical mythology.

Historians would be forgiven for thinking the subversive thought that the Secretary of State wanted to introduce a Year Zero. He will presumably have memoed the Dome Secretary to remove all evidence of history from the proposed Millennium Experience at Greenwich?

NICHOLAS TYLDESLEY

Flat 4 Hunters Lane, Sheffield

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