• >I read in the Guardian yesterday that England is considering taking History out of the basic curriculum past Key Stage 3. I am of the opinion that this is a horrible mistake. As an outsider, I can see that history has done so much to shape British culture and to some extent it's pride (and sometimes not so much … slave trade, certain aspects of imperialism). Also, as an American whose country has such a short history, I very much enjoyed being in Britain for the reason of its vast history and architecture. I loved visiting the Abbys, Stone Henge, the Roman Baths, the estates of past royalty, and the battle fields. There is also that question of teaching citizenship, which PGCE (secondary teaching) students are brought into the loop on. One aspect of the many causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was people's lack of interest in their own civic duties, their own citizenship, etc. In the present climate of civil liberties being taken away and of the growing feeling among youth that there isn't much one can do to change the world, I think that this is a most important time to teach history. Though History is still required for American students through what would translate as GCSE levels and is also required for a semester or so in college, I fear America may be heading down the same path as Britain soon enough. Every age has its crises and has had to face factors that were previously unknown. So, now is no different. We need more Churchills, though. We need more Kissengers. We need more FD Roosevelts. Creative, brilliant people who have an eye for endurance and change. One thing these men all had in common was an incredible knowledge of history.Posted by Holly.

  • >History is a crucial subject area for people to know, particularly as you say Holly, for those in power. Economically speaking, those with qualifications in history also have skills such as research and analysis that can be used in the work place. The problem with history in particular is that it is not as directly connected with jobs as say Maths (in the number of jobs anyway).However, despite the fact that I believe education needs to be radically re-assessed and reformed, the necessity of history will have to stay in one way or another. In almost every field, be it English, Geography, Business or Maths historical comparisons are found. Those without the historical knowledge to make or understand such comparisons find themselves without the benefit of all the knowledge accrued by our country over its' centuries of history. Also, in any democracy it is the people's duty to hold their government to account. The less people who have historical knowledge, the less government will make informed decisions and the more they will repeat old faults.If there are too many people qualified in history unable to find jobs that is not the fault of the subject. It is the fault of the Government and universities for letting X thousand students study history when all statistics point to the probability that there will only be y thousand jobs.

  • >Posted by Tom C: I can’t help thinking that the arguments you are making here would apply to any subject. To say that history is worth teaching because it gives people research and analytical skills is a null point and is often just used as an excuse to train far too many people in an area. Any academic subject worth its salt will give you this outcome as pretty much all valid academic areas involve research including the finding and interpretation of complex data. For me the clinching argument is not one of employability or to increase our ability to perform a task due to a historical perspective (Very Useful though). Surely at this time when we sit in a country which has lost its identity when the push for a multicultural rather than an intergrationalist immigration policy has been so forcefully pushed onto us, a time when large groups of our society feel marginalized and when people feel so detached from society they go abroad learn to make bombs strap them to themselves and blow up tube trains. History can unite us again. A shared heritage an idea of where we come from. It can be the common thread that links us together and makes us one again. I think that history should not only be a mandatory subject at GCSE level but should also be extended, we have such a long varied history why do schools spend so long looking at the two world wars, a brief look at the Norman invasion, skim over the Stuarts and Tudor times and have a quick snapshot of the industrial revelation. Why not spend some time looking at pre Norman invasion history, the unification of the Saxon kingdoms to create England for example? To sum up lose history and lose what it means to be British.

  • >I do agree with you Tom. Perhaps we brushed over the answer too quickly. History is complementary to our economy, but more importantly it is crucial to our culture and society. The difficulties are struck when trying to gain a balance between educating Britons about their history and allowing plenty of time for pupils to pursue their own career. But when so many subjects are compulsory at GCSE already you have to think, how many of these subjects are neither hugely relevent to society at large, nor to many people's individual career paths? Both politics and history are crucial if we are to uphold our duty as citizens in a democracy. They should therefore be taught at GCSE level.As for the topics to be taught however, I do not agree. We should not simply extend those areas that have to be taught. Instead the Government and teaching profession should together decide what topics should be compulsary.Schools and teachers would then have the freedom to teach whatever they think the pupils should know about in addition to these compulsary topics. Only this way do we avoid producing a generation of people who have no knowledge about entire centuries of our history. We would also be ensuring that different people have different things to offer, and can offer different knowledge later in life.

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