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British Historian Savages New Gcse History Curriculum

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Don’t sign up to Gove’s insulting curriculum, Schama urges

Simon Schama, the historian who advised the Government on the new national curriculum, has issued a stinging criticism of the final syllabus, urging teachers to reject it.Prof Schama, who visited classes as part of his research, called the finalised document “insulting and offensive”, “pedantic and utopian” and accused Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, of constructing a “ridiculous shopping list” of subjects.

The new curriculum proposes to teach children history in chronological order, and is intended to give them a sense of the triumphs of the British people.

But, speaking at the Telegraph Hay Festival, Prof Schama — who acknowledged his own contribution to the plans — said that the syllabus was like “1066 and All That, but without the jokes”.

“This is a document written by people who have never sat and taught 12-year-olds in a classroom,” he told an audience of teachers. “None of you should sign up to it until we trap Michael Gove in a classroom and tell him to get on with it.

“You want to say to him, 'Let’s go into a class of nine-year-olds and do the kingdom of Mercia with them. I would love to see how you would do that’.”He added the new syllabus would require teaches to “whoosh” through the English, Scottish and Irish civil wars in “something like 45 minutes”, while the French Revolution received “a drive-by 10 minutes”.

“The list of subjects seems to be essentially memories of A-levels circa 1965, embalmed in aspic and sprinkled with tokenism,” he said. “Tokenism of the wrong kind.”

He claimed that the proposals were too focused on white males, with too much emphasis on “how Britain influenced the world” rather than vice versa.

He added that the “insulting, offensive, imperviousness of what it takes to unite together the history of the glorious heritage of Britain” could be demonstrated by the inclusion of Clive of India, who established the supremacy of the East India Company in 18th-century Bengal.

Calling him a “sociopathic, corrupt thug”, who made “our most dodgy bankers look like a combination of Mary Poppins and Jesus Christ”, Prof Schama said the topic would not help ethnic minority children understand their own place in the world.

“History is not about self-congratulation. It’s not really about chasing the pedigree of the wonderfulness of us,” he said. “Nor about chasing the pedigree of the reprehensible awful nature of us.

“History is meant to keep the powerful awake at night and keep them honest.”

Among the omissions from the curriculum he condemned as “astonishing” and “staggering”, Prof Schama named the concept of “puritanism” and the “relationship between religion and secular power”.

He also referred to Mr Gove’s “pedantic, utopian scheme of knowing the names of all the main Chartists” and the “relentless emphasis on moving on to the next thing”.

His speech was roundly applauded by the audience of history teachers, some of whom pledged “anarchy” in the face of reform. One secondary school teacher promised to “circumvent Gove and his National Curriculum until Ofsted [the education watchdog] come in”, while another warned it would leave children feeling “bored and manipulated”.

Saying that he remained sympathetic to the idea of reform, Prof Schama added: “I’m sure Michael Gove did not actually want to give us 1066 and All That without the jokes, but that’s pretty much what we’ve ended up with.”

Pointing out an alleged error in the original proposals, he added: “How much faith you put in a document that seemed to believe Adam Smith was English? It is truly astonishing.” He ended by urging the audience: “Tell Michael Gove what you think of it. Let him know.”


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History and GCSE History were taught badly when I was at school, it would take a mammoth effort to make it worse. I am really beginning to think that the toffs are trying to dumb down the kids so they can get them back on the fields in a generation.

History in this country is always treated with rose tinted spectacles. The Anglo-Saxon extermination of the Native Britons and Romans is not mentioned. Neither is the fact that most people in England thought the Spanish Armada would win - when the English ships returned after the storm had destroyed the Spanish ships Queen Liz 1 decided to have the army lock all the sailors up on their ships and keep them there until they died or agreed to forfeit any pay they had accrued.

It got even worse after 1815. Our teacher jumped straight from the defeat of Napoleon to the Indian Mutiny. Pretty much the only event we learned about that involved Empire and we all knew it was because the British had rewritten history to make the Indians look like monsters. Then it was straight onto 1914 were we learned about the evil Germans and how they were always up to something and thank god Britannia was on watch otherwise we might all have houses full of working appliances and Mercedes in the driveways.

GCSE History was just a massive slagging off of the 'evils' of communism and fascism. Most of it boiled down to famines and lack of democracy. The exact things the British/French/Americans were forcing on their colonial subjects. Then we learnt how Britain single handedly beat Hitler. No mention of how Mein Kampf praises the British Empire, no mention of Hitler being an Anglophile, no mention of the Red Army who took on 80% of every tank/plane/gun produced by Germany. At one point they gloat about their empire containing a quarter of the world, next they say they were alone and dont mention the human shields from their colonies. We're told about Japanese brutality in Burmese POW camps. Ironically there is no mention of the camps that Britain had in Burma for the previous century. You're told about how Germany built railways in Poland for genocide and war, but at the same time Sikhs should be grateful for the railways built in Punjab by the British.

So on and so forth. Half the time the teachers tried rushing through it hoping no one would ask questions and just accept everything being thrown at them.

I hope I am around in 20 years time to see what the first generation to have gone through Gove's system look like. I'm giggling already. Having said that the new history syllabus looks like the kind of stuff our coconuts believe anyway.

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I hope I am around in 20 years time to see what the first generation to have gone through Gove's system look like. I'm giggling already. Having said that the new history syllabus looks like the kind of stuff our coconuts believe anyway.

That's what I was thinking! I think they are tying to subtly resurrect a bltantly white supremacist education under our noses.

That means it becomes even more important that our lot give their own kids a more balanced/ less Eurocentric account of history. But how rubbish are we at this already?

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I think there are two motives that are at play here. The first is aimed at us. Many of the toffs want us to adopt English history pre-1849 as our own - having your own narrative isnt on. Some Goreh love feeling superior and trying to make anything different look out of place. If you do try to emulate them that just fuels their self-righteousness and arrogance and makes them feel their opinions are vindicated and encourages them enough to become even more outlandish and demand more off you. If you dont and try to fight it, you're an outsider/loner/troublemaker/idiot/extremist and have an agenda/want attention/want money/should go home. You cant win either way.

The second is to pull the wool over their own proletariat's eyes. Some Sikhs use their history as a crutch or prostitute it to make them feel good or get acceptance etc. Poor white kids learning this stuff are going to feel less bad and get an inflated sense of selfworth, from supposed past achievements, that is divorced from reality. When someone higher up in the class system tells them to do some menial/rural work when they leave school they can tolerate the hardships better. After all it is how things were done in the past and why change a class system that produced such a wonderful empire and a past they all want to live in? That's what happens when you give your people a fairytale and untruthful history. We might even see the re-emergence of some Victorian-esque workhouses, filled with grinning Anglos happy to work, spend their money on beer and then piss it all away against a wall.

As for our own lot, I cant wait to see what new low depths we will sink to. I can imagine some Sikhs going over this syllabus and breathing a sigh of relief as long as there is mention of Sikhs in the World Wars. Others will thank their lucky stars that the English came to Punjab and colonised it so they could live here today. Hopefully it will be something new, the last two examples arent as funny to see as they used to be.

Edited by HSD1
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We should note how they are exalting Clive of India (who actually wasn't). A man who made his fortune ripping off a Sikh business man (Omnichand).


Edited by dalsingh101
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I would say:

4 points.

1. Take kids to a gurudawara

2. Teach them people are not your enemies, ideas are

3. Show them why someone would want to change this history (maya)

4. Give them full access to the internet and books (sikhawareness, sikhsangat, sikhwiki, books names Idk) and discuss this stuff with them.

Of course, this would require too much of an effort on the side of 'parents' and 'adults' however, don't think of it was raising kids but raising soldiers.

You are planting bandooks in your fields. :D


Edited by GtLoc
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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi. I am new to this forum. I am a Christian, what is called a 'Reader' in the Church of England. I am a retired Secondary School History teacher - happily retired, until 3 years ago when Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for education, announced that he would be revising the Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 History National Curriculum. So, attracted by this thread, I have kind of parachuted in, and would hope to stay.
I read History at Oxford University about 50 years ago, and my special subject was Britain in India 1772 – 1786. The Historian Simon Schama, in the speech that has been quoted above, mentions the approach towards Britain and India as an example of the insensitive ignorance that pervades the proposed Programme of Study. I have now sent three letters via my MP to the Department of Education, initially about the lack of professional consultation (that was 2 years ago), and subsequently, when the Programme of Study was published, about the unbalanced list of topics regarding India.
I would fully agree with the above comments about the motives behind all this nonsense. I myself never realised how bad History teaching was in its stance towards the rest of the world until I had the task of giving a lecture on how Key Stage 3 History (i.e. 11 – 14 year olds) was done in English schools to a group of German teachers. They were appalled by its relentless triumphalism. When I began teaching in the early 1970's, a good deal of World History was being taught alongside British History: this has now all but disappeared, partly because of shrinking curriculum time. Treatment of the outside world has always been poorly thought out, and if Mr Gove's plans go through it will get a whole lot worse.
However, the main point I wish to make is that most History teachers are very much against this new syllabus. The Historical Association is a very well established and fairly conservative group of History teachers. A survey they ran found that 90% of teachers believed the new Programme of Study https://media. education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/h/history%2004-02-13.pdf
Actually, things were getting better with regard to the History of other peoples. For example some excellent new GCSE courses were devised in the 1980's that included topics from World History, such as 'The American West', 'The Arab-Israeli conflict', and another dealing with the conflict in Northern Ireland. (The Schools History Project, which produced these, is intending to produce a book relating to Indian History). All of them were very objective and evidence-based. The methods used to teach these units involved pupils having to come to their own conclusion based on the evidence. When the National Curriculum came in in the late 1980's many of these methods were adopted by History teachers for teaching Key Stage 3, and I believe they strongly influence how History is taught in Primary schools too. Mr Gove hates this approach and pointedly has not consulted the Schools History Council, ignoring the fact that it has been the main engine of innovation in History teaching over the last 30 years.
As a former Head of History, I was 3 minutes into reading the new Programme of Study when I decided it was unteachable in Key Stage 3. It is also the most illiberal and nationalistic document I have ever seen in the world of education.
If there are any concerned parents, School Governors, etc. who want to know more about how awful this syllabus is – and there is a lot more wrong with it than its narrow view of the outside world - I would be very happy to supply details.
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Thanks for your input User1950

I would fully agree with the above comments about the motives behind all this nonsense. I myself never realised how bad History teaching was in its stance towards the rest of the world until I had the task of giving a lecture on how Key Stage 3 History (i.e. 11 – 14 year olds) was done in English schools to a group of German teachers. They were appalled by its relentless triumphalism. When I began teaching in the early 1970's, a good deal of World History was being taught alongside British History: this has now all but disappeared, partly because of shrinking curriculum time. Treatment of the outside world has always been poorly thought out, and if Mr Gove's plans go through it will get a whole lot worse.

As someone who has grown up in England since the 70s, I personally sense a persistent and discreet tendency towards using history as a propaganda tool along racialised lines in this country. The 'triumphalism' you speak of isn't limited to history in my opinion, you also see it in science for instance, where British breakthroughs are starkly highlighted with specific names and dates whilst the backgrounds of others are essentially glossed over, if they are mentioned at all that is. As someone of Sikh extraction, I strongly believe that this very tendency was picked up (consciously or subconsciously) by some Sikh writers during the colonial period and also skewed readings of our past along racial, tribal lines that are in complete contradiction to the Sikh ethos.

This type of business is myopic in my opinion and only serves to give gullible, non-reflective people an elevated sense of their worth, which in turn easily blends into supremacist thinking. At ground level this simply translates into generally ignorant behaviour and violence between different groups. I saw a lot of this in East London when I was younger. I, for one, am acutely aware of the fact that the National Front arose during the tenure of the last Conservative government. Looks like they haven't learned important lessons in that respect.

If there are any concerned parents, School Governors, etc. who want to know more about how awful this syllabus is – and there is a lot more wrong with it than its narrow view of the outside world - I would be very happy to supply details.

As an ex-teacher myself (I was one for a small number of years), who is still quite fascinated with the field of education - I'd love for you too share your opinions on the syllabus.

One thing I've always found highly suspect is the way important paradigms that improve our understanding of the process of historiography are often negated or ignored, by this I have Edward Said's essential Orientalism in mind.

It really is a case of history becoming 'his story' to serve 'his purpose'. One can't help but think that pushing such a syllabus/agenda in 21st century, diverse, multicultural Britain (whatever our feelings about that), is plainly sinister.

Edited by dalsingh101
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Thanks for the invitation to write some more. The sheer number of the Programme of Study's errors and omissions is staggering.
The History 'Programme of Study' can be found via the link I gave above.
The 'Purpose of study' mentions 'our place in the world', something the Programme of Study clearly distorts by its narrow choice of topics which ignores World and European History, except for wars which Britain usually won.
The 'Aims' are reasonable, and actually reflect the progress made in the introduction of the so-called 'New History' over the last 40 years, which Michael Gove has attacked.
'The Attainment Targets' leave the whole nature of assessment open. Assessment methods are crucial to how a syllabus works. If assessment is going to be just about factual knowledge it will undo the progress towards understanding which History has up till now done quite well. If assessment is tied to League Tables it will undermine the formative nature of History teaching in Key Stage 3. ('Formative assessment', for the benefit of non-teachers, is where the assessment is focussed on helping the individual make progress rather than just giving them a mark to compare with other students.)
The Programme of Study itself, however, presents many problems for KS1 teachers. '… concepts such as civilisation, monarchy, parliament, democracy, and war and peace that are essential to understanding history' cannot be meaningfully taught to children of this age. KS2 is far too crowded, and non-specialist teachers will struggle to teach the political History of the Tudors and Stuarts, even if suitable text-books are available and schools can afford to buy them.
Key Stage 3 (ie 11-14 year-olds) is my particular interest. What is presented in the Programme of Study is a list rather than a syllabus. Michael Gove claims that it will enable students to follow History chronologically. But many items are out of order – Wolfe at Quebec (1759) before 'Jacobite rebellion' (1715, 1745) for example. After a heavy chunk of more political History, we have 'the development of a modern economy …' Examples it gives like 'steel' actually take us back to the beginning of the 18th Century, so how is all this to be presented in chronological order? The list gives no hint – just one thing after another, and not necessarily in the right order.
There is a problem with the type of History being taught. Up till now there has been a balance between Political, Economic, Social and Cultural History. The new Programme of Study adds Military and Religious to this. This is OK, until you look at the balance. 37% of topics on the list are Political. 21% are military. Social and Economic are each 19%. Cultural is 14%. There is no Religious History – apparently 'Religion' in this and Key Stage 1 is represented by religious personalities/heroes eg 'Wilberforce'. But Wilberforce was primarily a politician, and one who got far too much credit for the abolition of the slave trade and eventually of slavery. A good religious topic would have been 'Did Methodism prevent Britain undergoing a French-style Revolution?' Religion appears in the KS3 syllabus only when it affects individuals, not when it affects the masses. This also highlights another basic problem of the syllabus, that it is fact-based rather than question-based.
The impact of this imbalance in the type of History that is offered can be seen from the list of topics students will cover in History when they start History in Secondary School. In the first half-term of Year 7 they will cover 'Britain and her Empire, including: Wolfe and the conquest of Canada, Clive of India, competition with France and the Jacobite rebellion, the American Revolution, the Enlightenment in England, including Francis Bacon, John Locke, Christopher Wren, Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, Adam Smith and the impact of European thinkers, the struggle for power in Europe, including the French Revolution and the Rights of Man, the Napoleonic Wars, Nelson, Wellington and Pitt, and the Congress of Vienna.' It is not easy to make History boring for 11 year-olds, but I believe Michael Gove has achieved it here. All of these topics are good, by the way, but not squashed together, and not to the exclusion of Social, Economic, and Religious History, not to mention World and European History.
Three years later, at the end of Year 9, they will be presented with 'economic change and crisis, the end of the post-war consensus, and governments up to and including the election of Margaret Thatcher' ie Politics from 1945 – 1979. This would be a suitable 'A' Level topic, and far too heavy to maintain KS3 students' interest.
Another problem is the sheer number of topics to be covered, far too many to be taught in the time available (between 1 and 2 hours a week) in any depth. This, coupled with the fact this is a prescriptive list means that this is what each child will learn - a list of facts and dates, and pretty much only these facts and dates.
Another problem is the prominence given to individuals as role models. As with chronology, this syllabus approaches a delicate problem with a sledge hammer. Young people need to know about hundreds of individuals in the past, not just a few. They need to know their names and why they are important. By the time students reach KS3 they should be well beyond looking at these people uncritically. The important thing is that as many names as possible should be dropped into the narrative as possible. Why was there a need for a petition before Mary Seacole was hurriedly re-instated in the proposed syllabus? I'm quite sure she was only inserted in the (existing non-prescriptive) syllabus in the first place as a much-needed reminder to schools to be more balanced in their references to individuals and not ignore important individuals from non-white groups.
What is missing from the syllabus is also important. The relative absence of sociological headings is remarkable: the heading 'social conditions' hardly does justice to the massive population movements associated with the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. The peasants only appear when they are revolting in the KS2 section. The entire working class is airbrushed from History, apart from a quaint appearance as Tolpuddle Martyrs and the beginning of Trade Unionism in the mid-1830's. Not just the Indian contribution, but the contribution of the rest of the Empire, is left out of the headings for the 1st and 2nd World Wars.
This is an extract from a letter I wrote to the Department of Education via my MP. Their reply was to talk in generalities, rather ignoring the fact that as far as children and teachers are concerned it will be a matter of detail. My MP, to do him credit, acknowledges the fact I am unhappy about their answer.
"Much depends of course on the assessment arrangements both for pupils and for schools. On the face of it this appears to be a prescriptive syllabus to an unprecedented degree. I therefore have a question about a specific topic – India - in order that I can understand this.
There are three references in the Programmes of Study KS3 to India: Clive of India; the Indian Mutiny and the Great Game; and Independence for India. A rough calculation would suggest that most schools would be able to devote an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, to each to these topics, and that although one would try to present them in some sort of context one would, in effect, be focussing on 1757, 1857 and 1947, all three dates to do with the application or withdrawal of power. This would seem a very distorted presentation of our relationship with the subcontinent. If I were designing my own scheme of work to include the first two events, for example, I would want to refer to a considerable number of additional topics to balance this, perhaps
1. the decline of the Mughal Empire
2. the rise of the East India Company
3. Anglo-French rivalry, the B.E.I.C.'s 'annexation' of Bengal
4. the drain of wealth from India and the later decline of its textile and iron industries
5. the 'nabobs' who returned to England
6. the British India Acts setting out how British India was to be governed
7. military operations up till 1818
8. 'Paramount Power'
9. the suppression of customs such as suttee and thuggee
10. the introduction of English as the language of government in British India
11. the development of infrastructure such as railways and hospitals
12. the rise of the Indian civil service
13. the changing relationship between the British in India and the Indian people.
So if I imagine teaching a Year 7 class about Clive, I would want to include at least items 1 – 6 to provide balance and context. (To be honest, I would rather want to skate over the Clive part as quickly as possible: the famine in Bengal that followed British annexation is not really a suitable topic for Year 7's to try to understand.)
My point is I have already used up most of my hour or so on Clive – there isn't room for the other topics I would want to bring in.
1. My first question is, therefore, what exactly does the Programme of Work mean by 'Clive of India'? Would he be covered, for example, if a teacher taught items 1 -5 above, mentioned Robert Clive twice in a narrative, and included these two references in a summary chronology?
2. Was the Curriculum team aware that the term 'Indian Mutiny' is not used in India, or even, I imagine, by most historians?
(Please feel free if you disagree with my claim that this is 'balanced' and explain how it could be better balanced. Bear in mind that I was born in the colonial era. The grand-uncle of one of my Oxford tutors was Governor-General of India from 1856 – 1862.)
On other websites where this issue has been raised, I have tried to explain the problems with the new History Programme of Study. The disturbing thing for me is how difficult it is sometimes to get people to understand what's wrong with it. It is the 'rose-tinted spectacles' problem that has been mentioned above. I tend to get comments like “Aren't we reading too much into all of this?” Michael Gove has set up what passes for a debate on the subject as the Common Man (himself) fighting the Educational Establishment - a load of extreme Left-Wing History professors and History teachers who are trying to stop progress. This plays quite well to the general public. This is why it is important to emphasise that the Programme of Study is bad because it's terrible history, and a terrible curriculum for young people, not just because it is blatantly tory History.
For example, there are crass errors which one doesn't expect to see in a government document two years in the making. Apart from 'The Indian Mutiny' [sic] what on earth is a 'free slave'? In the context I would assume it means a 'freed slave', clearly an example of a group of people for whom the writers of the syllabus had so little empathy they couldn't be bothered to write their correct name. Also Adam Smith was Scottish, not English. (This, incidentally, underlines a long-standing problem of English historians, that they confuse 'English' and 'British', much to the annoyance of Scots.)
It is, as you say, to do with a definite mindset. (I've added Edward Said to my reading list: thanks.) As I hinted in my previous post, Schools History Project was beginning to make inroads into this mindset, because most kids are quite intrigued when, having worked on some documents, they catch a glimpse of their own prejudices. Michael Gove clearly doesn't like this trend.
I have not mentioned the methods the Secretary of State has used to promote this Programme of Study. Suffice it to say a group of 100 History academics and teachers wrote a letter to Michael Gove earlier this month, copied in 'The Independent' newspaper, pointing out his methods may actually be illegal:
“It really is a case of history becoming 'his story' to serve 'his purpose'. One can't help but think that pushing such a syllabus/agenda in 21st century, diverse, multicultural Britain (whatever our feelings about that), is plainly sinister.”
I agree.
Edited by user1950
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Thanks for that user1950.

There is a lot there. Give me a bit of time to digest and reflect on it before I comment.

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Perhaps it was Simon Schama's speech, or maybe David Cameron gave his colleague a nudge. Anyway, it now looks very much as though Michael Gove is withdrawing this appalling draft syllabus for our children and young people, and producing something rather more civilized. There is still a long way to go, but at least the threat of prejudice being actually written into the History syllabus itself appears to have been lifted.
"Michael Gove redrafts new history curriculum after outcry
More emphasis given to world history and drastic reduction in scope of primary curriculum under revised proposals
Warwick Mansell
The Guardian, Friday 21 June 2013 19.42 BST
Michael Gove is poised to backtrack on major aspects of his controversial new history curriculum for schools in England after sustained opposition from teachers and prominent academics, the Guardian has learned.
"A major rewrite" is likely to see more emphasis given to world history alongside the mainly British focus originally suggested by the Department for Education (DfE). Schools will also be given much more freedom – current mandatory requirements will become suggestions. In addition there will be a drastic reduction in the scope of the primary curriculum.
Winston Churchill is no longer named in the new draft. Five- to seven-year-olds will not have to learn about the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti, as suggested in the current draft, but instead could be told about the more modern figures of LS Lowry, Neil Armstrong, Tim Berners-Lee and Rosa Parks. Charles Darwin may feature in secondary school history lessons, while schools are to be given more scope to teach pupils about immigration and Islamic history.
DfE civil servants met history teachers last week to unveil the changes, in a document seen by the Guardian.
The first draft of the history curriculum, to be taught to five- to 14-year-olds from next year, was published in February. The education secretary was criticised by historians including Simon Schama, Sir Richard Evans and Sir David Cannadine for its alleged over-emphasis on English history and insisting on too much detail. Schama, a former adviser to Gove on the curriculum, told the Hay Festival that it was "offensive and insulting".
The Historical Association carried out an online poll which found only 4% of respondents thought the February draft was a positive change, while 96% of 545 secondary school teachers taking part in a separate survey by the association said the proposed curriculum was too prescriptive.
The new children's laureate, Malorie Blackman, told the Guardian this month that the proposals were "dangerous". She said: "The curriculum needs to appeal to as many children as possible or a number of them could become disenchanted with education because they feel it's not relevant."
The first draft expected seven- to-11-year-olds to be taught British history from the stone age to the union of parliaments in 1707, with 48 bullet points taking schools through historical events and personalities they must teach, while history for 11- to 14-year-olds would cover 1707 to 1989.
But, although some historians – including David Starkey, Antony Beevor and Niall Ferguson – backed the move, the DfE seems to have been chastened by the reaction, with Gove indicating last month to the Commons education select committee that the curriculum would be changed for its next draft.
The draft presented last week sees extra topics from world history included, while primary schools will no longer be expected to teach the whole period until 1707.
Instead, 1066 is being put forward as the new end-point for primaries, though they are also asked to teach one topic from beyond that point, and secondaries one from before it. "It's much more in line with what primaries do now," said a source who was at the meeting. Secondary schools could now teach history up to the present day.
The curriculum's compulsory content has also been drastically stripped back, with detailed bullet points that were previously listed as mandatory now presented as suggestions.
Five- to seven-year-olds will no longer have to grapple with "the concept of the nation", as controversially suggested in the February draft, but instead should be taught about "changes within living memory".
In key stages 2 (for seven- to-11-year-olds), and 3 (ages 11-14), pupils will have to study a world history topic and local history alongside British topics. At KS2, a world history topic is required, including the possibility of studying "early Islam" or the culture of Benin in west Africa, while the crusades could be studied at KS3.
Clive of India, described by Schama last month as a "sociopathic, corrupt thug" featuring in a curriculum which was like "1066 and All That, but without the jokes", appears to have been dropped as even a suggested topic while, more controversially, Churchill is no longer named.
The source said: "There's been a major rewrite since the thing came out in February. I do not know if that is because they ran into a lot more flak than they were expecting, but they have been listening to people's objections.
"There was a meeting last week at the DfE with quite a range of people and groups there and there is pretty much an awareness that this was a lot better and it is workable, both at primary and secondary. It may still change again before the latest draft is published, but I doubt it will change much."
A second source: "I think the DfE was genuinely taken aback by the response they've had on this. They've had to move." Another source said the DfE had had to respond to concerns that the currently-published version of the new curriculum, which must be taught in conventional state-run schools, was overly prescriptive, while the government's favoured academies do not have to teach it at all.
He said: "Because of the academy programme, it is difficult for them to say to one set of schools 'do what you like' and to another 'follow this incredibly detailed programme of study'. They've had to give more flexibility."
The DfE is due to go public on its latest draft in the next few weeks Gove said on Friday that the new draft was with David Cameron and Nick Clegg, awaiting their sign-off.
A DfE spokesperson said: "The consultation on the draft programmes of study has now closed. We will respond in due course."
Ins and outs
Out At key stage 1, Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Christina Rossetti have gone.
In They make way for Christopher Columbus, Neil Armstrong, William Caxton, Tim Berners-Lee, LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison.
Out Five- to seven-year-olds are no longer likely to have to figure out the concepts of "nation, civilisation, monarchy, parliament, democracy, war and peace".
In They will simply learn about historical events and changes, important figures and local history.
Out At key stages 2 and 3 (ages seven-11), far fewer historical figures are specified in the latest draft, with Isaac Newton, Christopher Wren, Adam Smith, the anti-slavery campaigner Olaudah Equiano, William Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee and even Margaret Thatcher no longer featuring. There is also no space for the empire figures General James Wolfe or Clive of India.
In Charles Darwin is one of the few new personalities introduced in the latest version for older children. Topics such as "the development of the British empire", the slave trade and the second world war will cover many of the individuals above.
Out Terms such as "Britain and her empire" and "the Heptarchy".
In Now just "the British empire"; the "Glorious Revolution" is still there, but firmly in quotes."
P.S. Just noticed Christopher Columbus in the 'great hero' section. This is another can of worms, but at least it's just one can.
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Seems like good sense prevailing for a change!

Out Five- to seven-year-olds are no longer likely to have to figure out the concepts of "nation, civilisation, monarchy, parliament, democracy, war and peace".

The above seems akin to political indoctrination as well as robbing the children of their childhood innocence.
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