No one left in history

26th February 1999 at 00:00
EVERY historical figure and all events except for the Holocaust have been written out of the compulsory school timetable under radical plans for a 21st-century curriculum.

Children will no longer have to study either world war, Shakespeare or Henry VIII - if plans for a new curriculum for 2000 from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority are approved. Reference to Scottish, Irish and Welsh history could also be cut.

But history teachers' organisations said the proposals were no cause for alarm.

Sean Lang, vice-president of the Historical Association, said: "The curriculum in practice is already much more flexible than it seems on paper. Teachers have already slimmed it down.

"Every child gets taught the Tudors and the two world wars but is unlikely to study the Stuarts and post-war Britain although they are all statutory.

"I would advise people not to be alarmed by the slimming down of content. It only reflects what happens on the ground."

Meanwhile, competitive games, central to the PE timetable since they were introduced by John Major, have been removed in the draft.

Games will no longer be "at the heart of school life". Instead schools will focus on children's basic skills, such as running, jumping and throwing, rather than specifying the sports they should be used in.

The draft, to be released at a London conference this month, aims to increase curriculum flexibility while giving pupils an adequate preparation for adult life.

The QCA hopes that the slimmed-down version will enable schools to concentrate on literacy and numeracy by cutting the compulsory content of history, geography, design and technology, art, music and physical education.

In science, the often neglected introduction to the programme of studies, which sets out the relevance of science to everyday life, is to be merged with the other sections to ensure it is always covered.

Maths and English remain largely unchanged althouth they have been aligned with the literacy and numeracy strategies.

Analysis, 20

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