Schools have to teach the Core Curriculum
That curriculum sets out the basic subjects the powers that be think all children should learn, including English, Maths and Science. Schools may teach other subjects if they can find the time and resources to do so. I agree that those core subjects are essential. I find it hard to imagine any school not teaching them. It is good that schools have the ability to choose to add other subjects.
Does it matter that History is not on the core curriculum?
It wouldn’t matter if schools had the necessary resources, as I think most would include History as one of their additional subjects. However, with the pressure on resources, many schools have been dropping everything that is not on the core curriculum. Music, Art, Drama have been badly hit. Foreign languages are also disappearing. Perhaps people think we won’t need them once we leave the EU?
Why should History be on the curriculum?
Simon Schama said that the past is all we have: the future’s not here yet and the present doesn’t last long – by the time you’ve read this it will be in the past. So studying our past should be essential.
I have written about myths and the harm they can sometimes do. I am also aware that fake news is not new. The answer to these lies, half-truths and misconceptions is simple: tell the truth! That’s what historians, history teachers and even historical novelists try to do. Putting history on the curriculum would be a start.
Is the problem with the curriculum?
Not entirely. The lack of resources is the real issue. And while I have a particular interest in History, I also lament the dropping of so many other subjects. I don’t think a narrow education is better than a broad one. I also recognise that some children – and some adults – are better at some subjects than others. Failure can be demoralising. Doing well in Music or whatever can be life-saving. Besides, don’t we want every child to reach his or her potential, wherever it lies?