Harsh on history materials

6th May 2011 at 01:00

I would like to respond to the recent article by Chris Whatley, "History should be fascinating, fun and factually correct" (29 April).

Professor Whatley delves into criticism of the Treaty of Union materials produced by Learning and Teaching Scotland. As a teacher of history for 30 years, much of that time as a principal teacher, I have been using these materials during the past year, and have been extremely impressed by their quality and accessibility to the average Higher pupil. I was, therefore, surprised by Professor Whatley's comments, as I had been impressed by their total lack of factual errors.

The reference in his article is to a section called the "Perspective", which does not form part of the four issues that make up the Higher course as such. I would agree that this one paragraph is ambiguous and should be changed. With modern technology this should not be too much of a problem. Yet I would have to reiterate that the paragraph is very much at odds with the quality of the rest of the materials on the Treaty of Union.

With reference to the Jacobites, Professor Whatley ironically perpetuates a myth when he writes: "the Jacobites wanted to overturn the Union as this ruled out a Roman Catholic monarch for the British Isles". The Roman Catholic population of Scotland in the early 18th century was tiny. Most Scottish Jacobites were in fact Episcopalians. They were not in the least concerned about having a Roman Catholic monarch; what motivated them was that they wanted a legitimate monarchy.

Yes, it is easy to be critical but it is also easy even for professors not always to be factually correct.

Colin Page, Invergordon Academy.

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