Chris Skidmore MP is the MP for Kingswood
If the purpose of education is not merely to provide us with the skills, knowledge and awareness to progress into whichever career we choose, but to instil also in each pupil a common shared body of knowledge and values which we pass on to each generation, then the study of our national heritage should be paramount in every school.
ConservativeHome has long campaigned for History to be made compulsory in schools beyond 14. After all, there are powerful reasons internationally for doing so: compared to our European neighbours, startlingly we remain the only country apart from Albania that does not make History compulsory beyond 14.
We should nevertheless admit that, as David Cannadine’s new book, The Right Kind Of Historypowerfully demonstrates, the debate about how history should be taught has been an age-old one. Equally, the uptake of history beyond 14 has remained low, with just 36% of pupils being entered for History GCSE in 1997. But this cannot hide the fact that history has witnessed a marked decline recently: last year the proportion of pupils being entered for GCSE History dipped beneath 30%. And a short report that I have published yesterday - History in Schools- A School Report reveals that even this hides the real problem beneath the surface: that in many areas of the country, History is at risk of becoming a dead subject. The report reveals that: