Not the 'official version' of the past

27th October 1995 at 00:00
The history books commissioned by the Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACAC) are not "state" textbooks for national curriculum history (TES, October 13). The publishers retain editorial control over the books and have appointed the authors.

As you are aware, Wales has its own national curriculum Order for history, which aims to give pupils knowledge and understanding of their own local communities, of the history of Wales and Britain, set in the context of Europe and the wider world. The history Order for Wales ensures an appropriate balance between these aspects of history across the 5 to 14 age range.

History teachers in England have been very fortunate with the wide array of resources which have been produced by the educational publishers to meet their needs.

Unfortunately, teachers in Wales have not received the same degree of support. Indeed, at key stage 3, history teachers have had to be extremely self-reliant in providing classroom materials for their pupils.

The situation is particularly acute as far as resources for Welsh-medium schools are concerned and bilingual materials where the curriculum in Wales differs - history, geography, art and music. It is for this reason that over the past decade the Welsh Office has promoted the production of Welsh language and bilingual materials.

ACAC has now taken over the function of identifying needs, inviting tenders for and commissioning resources to meet the needs of schools in Wales.

The history series produced by Hodder Stoughton referred to in your article is, therefore, the first of many publications which ACAC has commissioned across a range of subjects.

It is not the intention of the authority to produce "official" or "authorised" versions of classroom resources but, rather, to ensure that where there are major needs identified by schools in Wales, that these are met and that the children are not disadvantaged.

RUDI PLAUT Chairman Awdurdod Cwricwlwm Ac Asesu Cymru Cardiff.

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