Less Time for Great Britain’s History in UK Schools

In Great Britain, students will now learn a new curriculum that has been expanded to include the relevance of African and Asian history. This comes as a new history program sweeps the country that was created to go beyond “beyond Hitler and the Henrys,” according to an article by Laura Clark in The Daily Mail.

History classes being taught from 2015 on will center on history such as the creation of societies in the Middle East from the early 20th century to the Arab Spring. Courses will also go over the expansion of Islam between 550-750 A.D., the kingdom of Genghis Khan, China and its emperors since 1839 and pre-British African kingdoms.

The idea goes with the implementation of Coalition A-level reforms that mandate students to learn a wider range of history over at least 200 years instead of merely focusing on the last 100 or so, all in Great Britain. Many subjects, such as the Tudors and the World War II, are frequently gone over more than once throughout secondary education.

Conservatives have denounced the shift away from British history, claiming that a good base in Britain’s “island story” should stay the central point of history in the country. But President of the Royal Historical Society Professor Peter Mandler stated that it was essential to “broaden the curriculum”.

“History tells us not so much about who we are as about who we have been and what we might yet be,” he said. “We welcome efforts by the examination boards to bring recent academic research on hitherto under-explored histories within reach of school pupils.

After 2015, all courses in England will be transformed, with tests “taken at the end of the two-year qualification and coursework scrapped from the majority of subjects.” Testing boards have also been given the job of creating new coursework in conjunction with the nation’s universities.

The new curriculum, which must be formally accepted by the testing watchdog Ofqual before being implemented into schools, is said to range over almost 1,700 years.

Only one-third of the history classes center on British history from King Alfred and the creation of England up to the 21st century. Topics range from the War of the Roses, the Tudors, the Civil War, to the Georgians, and also include the subject of Winston Churchill’s contribution.

However, two-thirds of the history program centers on non-British history, specifically subjects from beyond Europe, writers Judith Burns for BBC News.

Also, the courses now include Genghis Khan and his legacy from 1167-1405, Japan from 1853-1937, African kingdoms from 1400-1800, the rise and fall of the Mughal Empire in India from 1526-1739 and 150 years of the transformation of China, which includes the Communist Revolution.

“Universities tell us they want incoming students to have greater breadth of knowledge. It’s vital that schools and colleges have an opportunity to deliver, for example, the history of pre-colonial, non-western civilisations, alongside British history.”