Amidst the brouhaha that accompanied leaks of Gove’s eagerly anticipated-for which read ‘dreaded’-announcement of the new draft plan for the National Curriculum history came some ill-informed debate on whether Mary Seacole should be included. She appeared in the list of possible famous people to be studied by KS1. A large number of schools have never taught about her and none, as far as I know, have been locked up in the Tower. In other words, whatever Gove says schools will find ways of teaching what they think best-despite his political agenda. So I thought we ought to have a look at the content of the leaked drafts of Key Stage 3.
I think you will find some old favourites and will be surprised to find that you apparently aren’t teaching them! Rather than just give a few sound bites, I thought I’d list the lot so you can make up your own mind. The source is the Daily Mail-‘nuff said.
Proposed Key Stage 3 content
1. Church ,state and society in the medieval period ( including the Norman Conquest, the feudal system and the growth of towns
Henry II and Becket
King John, the Barons, Magna Carta and the development of parliament
Edward I and wars with Wales and Scotland
Hundred Years War
Wars of the Roses
2. The Renaissance and Reformation in Britain
Henry VIII, Wolsey, More and the Break from Rome
The English Civil Wars
Trial and execution of Charles I
The Acts of Union
3. The Emergence of Britain as a global power ( including industrial growth)
The early British Empire in America and the Caribbean, expansion of Empire in Asia, Africa and Australia
The abolition of slavery
4. Foreign events
The French Revolution and Republic
The American War of Independence
Napoleonic France( including nelson and Wellington)
5. 20the century: developments in democracy, suffragettes and early liberal reforms
The First World War. The armistice, the impact of war on British society
The Rise of the Dictators, Mussolini and Stalin
Second World War including Churchill and the Holocaust
Post-war creation of the Welfare State, immigration, the change from Empire to Commonwealth
Emergence of the EU
Already questions will be ringing in your head. Here are 5 of mine to add to your own,
a. How much depth is expected for each of these topics? Are they all meant to be equally weighted?
b. What happens if we don’t quite complete the ‘syllabus’? I can quite see many of us not getting round to teaching the emergence of the EU, especially on a 2-year KS3 programme.
c. What on earth will GCSE look like if some of the key topics have been firmly planted in the KS3 garden( or should I say wilderness)? Take OCR Modern World for example. All the core British unit 1890-1914 could potentially be covered in KS3!
d. Does this all need to be taught in chronological order. Is this the death knell of themed approaches to KS3?
e. What will the new curriculum have to say about historical concepts and processes? What will happen to interpretations- the original jewel in the crown?
Won’t be long know before we see Gove’s hand for real.