History matters

28th May 2010 at 01:00

History teachers will be excited by Michael Gove's commitment to teaching the breadth of British history, but let's hope that a return to a more traditional curriculum does not lead to a return to rote-learning of dates and other dull methods. While I always keep the British History ruler on hand for pupils grappling with the dates and names of kings and queens, at Bradfield College we recognise that history works best in the classroom when it captures the imagination and sheds light on today's big issues. A thematic approach to the history of the Reformation, for example, helps young people understand contemporary issues of religious conflict and cultural tension, while the "new" politics of consensus promoted by Cameron and Clegg could be explored through the history of 1688-89 and 1832-33. While children need a good understanding of the timeline of British history, they must also be convinced that history matters.

Peter Roberts, Headmaster, Bradfield College, Reading, Berkshire.

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