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    28 January, 2005

    Teaching history to 16 -back to the 80s?

    The Tories are right for once that history should be taught to the age of 16. However, I suspect the history they want taught would be more narrow than I would like to see. The model Tim Collins is outlining today is based on proposals from the right-wing historian Andrew Roberts. Now, he does sometimes write sense, as I have said before.

    However, once you get into teaching the history of heroes, you get into problems. You would have to have national and possibly regional variants within the UK. If history teaching was based on heroes in Wales, we would probably get a bit too much Owain Glyndwr and not enough John Frost. Nothing wrong with teaching Owain Glyndwr, by the way, before Cambria magazine has another go at me. But history is contested, and the teaching of history potentially even more so.

    In the 1980s, at the time of the National Curriculum's introduction, if I remember rightly, there was a big row about the teaching of history with some right-of-centre teachers warning dire things. The excellent History Workshop responded sensibly, not by attacking the teaching of national histories but by looking at what an inclusive national history might be, in the book Patriotism.

    There is a very interesting website on the teaching of history which is updated weekly . It has a short guide to resources for Welsh history, including the Rhondda.

    Of course, as Eric Hobsbawm has pointed out, there are certain things that actually happened in history, and while we can contest the analysis, the desire to teach interpretations should not blind us to the facts. And that, as I have pointed out before, applies to the history of Wales as well.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

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