Telegraph book gift is pointless

19th August 2005 at 01:00
The gift by the readership of the Daily Telegraph and Civitas, of a history book to every primary school, is unlikely to achieve much of any consequence ("Patriotic history toned down", TES, August 5 .

At the heart of the problem with history is the fragmented curriculum in English primary schools. The content of the book is in this context a subsidiary issue.

No matter how much obfuscation and pretence the Government generates, the motor of the curriculum is tested literacy and mathematics. Little else matters. The sheer awfulness of this curriculum makes a free book for every primary school a fanciful gesture.

Primary history in the national curriculum resulted in significant educational advances. What is needed now is careful curricular revision.

The gift of a free history book, though generous, avoids considerably more than it confronts. The Telegraph readership and Civitas would be better campaigning for careful reform of the curriculum (and someone needs to think about child development in this process). The aim would be a broad and balanced curriculum, with a place assured for history.

Roy Hughes

Secretary of The Historical Association, Liverpool and Manchester Branch 'Minera', 1 Greenside Avenue Frodsham, Cheshire

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