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Martin Sewell: A way in which we can help Michael Gove with the history syllabus

On this morning’s Today programme Michael Gove was in lively form, discussing the National Curriculum. During its course, he highlighted the fact that only two names specifically appear in the History syllabus. William Wilberforce and Olaudah Equianau share that honour. Splendid as each of them are, I confess to having spell checked the latter.

Needing to wake up my own little grey cells, I decided to compile a list of the 10 names which I'd would prescribe were I in the Education Secretary’s position.

I offer my list simply to encourage others to assist Mr Gove in improving a rater lamentable situation.

I decided that I needed to flag up names that would, of necessity, carry any teaching discussion into related areas - so that, inevitably, anyone studying these would encounter other important names, ideas and events. As such, my choices are not intended to be in any sense a league table of merit.

In no particular order I noted the following:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Elizabeth I
  • Oliver Cromwell
  • Thomas Paine
  • William I
  • Robert Owen
  • Horatio Nelson
  • William Wilberforce
  • Henry VIII
  • Alfred The Great

I hope that if you understood these figures, their times, and contributions you'd be proud to be British, either by descent or by chosen association.

I invite ConHome contributors to offer Mr Gove some suggestions about who should make a shortlist.


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