A Student of History

April 18, 2007

An update on UK schools

Filed under: The Academy — John Maass @ 11:51 am

In a previous post, I mentioned that the U.K. schools were getting rid of the Holocaust as a matter for instruction to pupils, due in part to the sensitivities of certain groups.

As it turns out, this is not quite true, although if one reads the wording of the directive that gave rise to the story in the first place, you can see why.  Recently a spokesman for England’s Department for Education and Skills stated: “Teaching of the Holocaust is already compulsory in schools at Key Stage 3 [ages 11 to 14]. It will remain so in the new KS3 curriculum from September 2008.”  Thus, teaching the Holocaust is thus not banned, as many understood it to be.

Nevertheless, read (from the BBC) a brief snip of what the original guidelines say so that you can see why there was this misunderstanding:

The report that may have given rise to the alarm was commissioned by England’s Department for Education and Skills from the Historical Association, which promotes the study and teaching of history.

It said: “Teachers and schools avoid emotive and controversial history for a variety of reasons, some of which are well-intentioned.

“Staff may wish to avoid causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their classes.

“In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship.”

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