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22nd May 2015 at 01:00

The myths of fact-based history

Robert Peal makes some interesting points ("Cultural ignorance is an Achilles' heel", Comment, 15 May) and it is difficult to disagree with much of what he says. Children have a right to historical knowledge and we have a duty to impart it.

However, there is one caveat: while it is not possible to teach skills without knowledge, it is possible to teach knowledge without skills. Facts are easy to assess - you either know them or you don't - and if this is reflected in the testing regime, it will undoubtedly be reflected in classrooms.

If you then pile the Pelion of accountability on to the Ossa of a high-stakes, reductionist testing regime, you will turn out nothing more than generations of pub quiz champions. Be careful what you wish for.

John Connor

Independent modern foreign languages consultant

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