By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson
Sunday, 15th September.
The UK Government’s proposed National Curriculum for History was published on Wednesday, 11th September and is to be put before Parliament to be made law as of September 2014:
Curriculum for Cohesion’s reports to the UK Government and our campaign in the Department for Education and the media contributed to significant improvements to the History Curriculum proposed by the Government in February of this year.
In summary, the Government’s February draft of the National Curriculum for History (attached for your convenience) was:
1. a white-English story of this country;
2. highly prescriptive which left no room for more diverse or unusual histories to be taught in schools;
3. age-inappropriate, e.g. 5 year olds were expected to understand the concept of the nation state;
4. there was no world history and no mention of the Muslim contribution anywhere on this draft History Curriculum.
Since February Curriculum for Cohesion campaigned hard along with partners, friends and organisations engaging with politicians, the Department for Education’s Civil Servants and in the media to challenge and radically improve this impoverished proposed National Curriculum for History for the benefit of all children, as it would not as it stood have prepared young people in any way for life in the 21st century.
The Government’s revised History Curriculum for presentation to Parliament to become law as of September 2014 is a greatly improved National Curriculum for History:
1. Although it is still a largely white-English story of the country it now has some recognition of the diverse ethnic and cultural contributions to our country both from within the British Isles and from outside them.
2. It is now much less prescriptive and leaves room for teachers to explore more diverse and unusual histories of Britain and the rest of the world.
3. It is now much more age-appropriate which will make the study of History more enjoyable and learnable for all pupils.
4. It now includes statutory World History at all Key Stages, including two modules on the History of Islamic Civilisation.
The work of Curriculum for Cohesion’s academic team and the support of our donors and patrons have helped effect these vital changes which will facilitate good teachers to provide an interesting and useful history education to all young people that includes elements of the Islamic contribution to the world.
Curriculum for Cohesion will now be moving on to developing the curriculum materials for teachers to enable this good provision to happen as per our programme of work: http://curriculumforcohesion.org/when/