'Gallop through the past' criticised

15th February 2013 at 00:00

Michael Gove has long advertised his love of history and his wish for schools to teach a broader sweep of the subject beyond repeated lessons on the Tudors and the Second World War.

But the Westminster education secretary's planned changes to history teaching have drawn the strongest criticism of all the proposed reforms to the curriculum.

The Historical Association has damned them for being overly prescriptive and a "gallop through the past" that do not allow for enough in-depth study. Concerns have also been raised about whether primary school teachers are sufficiently well trained to deliver the new programmes of study.

Under the proposals, history will be taught sequentially, starting with the Stone Age in Year 3 (P3) and progressing to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 by the end of Year 6 (P6). Victorian or 20th-century history, including World War II, will from 2014 no longer be taught in primary schools.

The content for seven- to 14-year-olds says pupils should be taught about the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome, then sets out the "essential chronology of Britain's history" that is to serve as a framework for more in-depth study.

The structure is a marked departure from the current curriculum for key stage 2, which states that children should study people and places in their local areas, as well as wider British, European and world history.

Mr Gove told MPs: "There is a clear narrative of British progress with a proper emphasis on heroes and heroines from our past."

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