My regular readers – both of you – will be aware that I have reactionary old f*rt tendencies when it comes to history teaching in schools, particularly when I meet children who believe that Nelson’s Column commemorates Nelson Mandela and that Waterloo is posh slang for toilet.
However, it turns out that I am not alone in my views: they are shared by (may even have been copied by) the Shadow Schools Secretary, Michael Gove. Alerted by Paul Waugh’s blog – one of my must-reads each day – I have now read Gove’s full speech and in it (almost lost amongst a lot of tendentious nonsense) he says:
“There is no better way of building a modern, inclusive, patriotism than by teaching all British citizens to take pride in this country’s historic achievements.
Which is why the next Conservative government will ensure the curriculum teaches the proper narrative of British History – so that every Briton can take pride in this nation.”
On this at least he is right, although I would take issue with some of the omissions from Gove’s list of “essential items” in the core history curriculum that Paul Waugh got him to provide. I don’t see that any account of Britain’s history can be complete without addressing the British Empire and its legacy, nor any study of the UK in the twentieth century without covering the social revolution brought about by the post-War Attlee Government.