History and the National Curriculum: it’s time for us all to calm down

Clio et cetera

I have been (un)fortunate enough to have had some involvement in the discussions over the development of the new National Curriculum for history, and I have written already on my views on the process. When the draft curriculum was released in February there was near universal criticism of the document; even those historians and history teachers who had supported Mr Gove most ardently found it difficult to offer anything more than qualified support. The recent release of the updated draft in July has seen those who spoke out against the curriculum sing out in unison that it is now much improved; those looking to score political points have accused Mr Gove of a u-turn.

I think, however, that a little more perspective is needed here. There can be no doubt that the February draft had issues, and the main two of these were that all pre-18th-century history would be…

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