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Churchill and Hitler wiped from history; New curriculum 'about happiness'.

Byline: By Tim Ross

WINSTON Churchill has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching under a radical new secondary school curriculum.

Ministers yesterday announced reforms to the national curriculum for 11 to 14-year-olds to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility in what they teach.

But Britain's wartime prime minister - along with Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King - has been dropped from the detailed guidance accompanying the curriculum.

Among the few named figures to remain are William Wilberforce, who will be studied in lessons on the slave trade.

The history of the development of the European Union has also survived as a specified topic for study.

A spokesman for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said: "The new secondary curriculum does not prescribe to teachers what they must include.

"Teachers know that they need to mention these pivotal figures.

"They don't need to be instructed by law to mention them in every history class."

Tory MP Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill's grandson, said the move was "madness".

"It is absurd. I expect he wasn't New Labour enough for them. This is a Government that is very careless of British history and always has been."

The new curriculum, which will be taught from September 2008, is intended to be far more flexible than the current National Curriculum.

Ministers said the reforms would free about a quarter of the school day by cutting down on duplication, so teachers could concentrate on giving help to pupils who were falling behind.

Chris McGovern, director of the History Curriculum Association and a former Government adviser, condemned the reforms.

He said some classes already taught the Second World War without teaching Churchill, and many schoolchildren were ignorant of key figures, including Hitler. "I'm appalled by all this," he said.

"The curriculum is being used as a vehicle for teaching politically correct concepts.

"This curriculum is about teaching happiness and making children happy with themselves. It will promote ignorance," he said.

Schools Minister Ed Balls insisted he had protected traditional elements in the curriculum while allowing for more flexibility.

The two world wars and the Holocaust, for example, were both still named as topics in the new statutory history curriculum.

"I have protected the classic elements of the curriculum that have stood the test of time, such as Shakespeare, algebra, historic dates and the world wars," he said.

"And I want these to be taught even better - in a lively, exciting way which enthuses and motivates."


OUT: Sir Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King and Adolf Hitler.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2007
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