THOSE who continue to criticise Michael Gove for ‘dumbing down’ the history curriculum in primary schools should actually be giving credit to the Education Secretary for reinvigorating a subject that had, in fact, been consigned to the past.
There will always be a disagreement about whether the curriculum should begin in 1066 with the Battle of Hastings, or focus on Britain’s role in two world wars, or concentrate on landmark historical events at a local level that might help to capture the imagination, and enthusiasm, of pupils in their formative years while they also learn key skills like reading and writing.
However two other points need to be remembered. First, Mr Gove should not be too prescriptive – there needs to be scope for flexibility in the curriculum. Second, history lessons will immediately lose their value if they’re not taught in an inspiring way that extends far beyond the learning of key dates, hence why these welcome changes must also be matched by requisite improvements in the quality of teaching to avoid past mistakes being repeated.