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Michael Gove: Pupils will learn our island story

By Paul Goodman

GOVE MICHAEL RED TIE Nothing to date today to match yesterday's Child Benefit drama, or the big centre-piece of George Osborne's speech.

But two announcements - from Andrew Lansley in this morning's Health debate, and from Michael Gove in the Education debate that followed.

Lansley told the conference that £70 billion will be spent on "re-enablement packages" - help designed to help people settle back in to their homes after leaving hospital.

Gove said that no pupil will leave school without learning "our island story" - narrative British history.

He will instruct the National Curriculum review to ensure that narrative British history is "put back at the heart of the school curriculum".  Simon Schama, the historian, has agreed to advise the review.

Gove said -

“One of the under-appreciated tragedies of our time has been the sundering of our society from its past. Children are growing up ignorant of one of the most inspiring stories I know – the history of our United Kingdom. Our history has moments of pride, and shame, but unless we fully understand the struggles of the past we will not properly value the liberties of the present.

“The current approach we have to history denies children the opportunity to hear our island story. Children are given a mix of topics at primary, a cursory run through Henry the Eighth and Hitler at secondary and many give up the subject at 14, without knowing how the vivid episodes of our past become a connected narrative. This trashing of our past has to stop.

“We are delighted to announce today that Professor Simon Schama has agreed to advise us on how we can put British history at the heart of a revived national curriculum.”

Tim originally floated this idea in his Shoestring Manifesto over a year ago, writing -  "We should commit to transform the teaching of history in Britain's schools.  Perhaps Ministers are looking at the rest of it.

Memorable speeches from the teachers and educationalists in the Education debate, by the way.  Coal-face descriptions of Labour's culture of low expectations.  Now on to Iain Duncan Smith this afternoon.


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