History yes, but what about modern studies?

4th May 2001 at 01:00
I can sympathise with Alexis Scott (TESS, April 27) in her attempts to enable her son to study two social subjects. It is indeed a pity that he cannot "learn the lessons of history" as all school pupils should have the right to do.

Her son, however, is even more disadvantaged than Alexis realises. I deduce from her article that her son was not given the opportunity to learn about Scottish society today. Is modern studies, a central part of the 5-14 curriculum taught in the school? Is it even a choice in S3-S4?

For Alexis's son to play a meaningful part in society, surely he should be taught the context of why we have a new Parliament? How elections are ecided in the Parliament and the roles of his MSPs? It is a shame that he had to choose between history and geography, but at least here he had a choice.

There are around 100 Scottish secondary schools which do not offer modern studies at all. Where it is offered, for obvious reasons the subject is extremely successful.

How important is social exclusion? The scandal of Scottish pupils, often the most economically disadvantaged, being denied the opportunity to learn essential knowledge and skills should be addressed immediately by the Scottish Executive.

John McTaggart Principal teacher of modern studies Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today