When our hearts continue to sink at the sight of so much unteachable content for KS2 pupils, are there any crumbs of comfort you can be offered? There are a few, in fact, and these can be found within the aims. Now, there is much to take exception to with the first 4 aims, mainly their anglo-centricity but the last three are more hopeful. These aren’t conspicuously reinforced in the preamble to the KS2 section, but they are there loud and clear and the start. What , after all, is a curriculum that doesn’t adhere to its aims.
So, many of the heartlands of history in terms of skills , concepts and processes have been written into the new aims.
Aim 5 Pupils should
understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and
consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make
connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and
create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
understand how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern
how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been
The fact that interpretations has be kept is crucial.
gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different
contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and
international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and
social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
The emphasis on social and cultural history should be taken as a strong counter-balance to the military and political history that some of Gove’s followers might have in mind.