British schools shake up history studies

Dec. 27, 2004 at 8:54 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- British students will be required to learn old-fashioned British history dating back to 1066 instead of Tudor Kings and World War II, The Independent said.

The new guidelines were set by the government's exams watchdog agency, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, and emphasize 11-to-14-year-olds must develop a chronological understanding of history.

Teaching styles began to change in the 1970s it was thought pupils would benefit from choosing an era from history that most appealed to them. As a result, most schools opted for Nazi Germany or the Tudor period, the newspaper said.

"Few areas of education are more important for children to gain a good understanding of the past than history," said Ken Boston, chief executive of the QCA. "The dates of key events in history are an important part of learning."

Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Oxford University said there has been no decline in students' intellectual capabilities, but he said compared to students of 20 years ago "they haven't really got the broad picture."

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