Sunday, 1 December 2013

It wasn't an option then.

Published in the Daily Mail...

Micheal Gove has been bitterly criticised by his own advisers for axing a requirement for schools to teach pupils about the First World War – while insisting that history lessons include examples of early Islamic, South American or African civilisations.

The Education Secretary’s new history curriculum for children aged five to 14 will be introduced next year – the centenary of the outbreak of the 1914-18 war. Traditionalists say it demotes studies of both world wars and Winston Churchill to ‘optional’ status.

Historians Chris McGovern and Tony Freeman, who were among a range of experts consulted over the curriculum, have launched a petition calling on Mr Gove to reverse his decision ‘as a mark of respect for the fallen’.

Mr McGovern said: ‘It is a national disgrace, and a betrayal of those who gave their lives for this country. The best way to commemorate the war is to ensure children learn about it in schools.’

In the new curriculum, the world wars and Churchill are listed as ‘non-statutory’ examples of subjects that teachers ‘could’ include in lessons.

But critics claimed that some teachers would downplay the conflicts in favour of topics such as women’s suffrage or the welfare state.

Next year, when the changes will come into effect, marks the 100th anniversary of the conflict and Gove's own experts have recommended he reverse his decision 'as a mark of respect'

My response to Mr Gove would simply be to get his head out of the sand. It is important our children know what happened, why it happened and why it should never happen again.
A broad spectrum of historical education is needed. Including our wars.
We cannot dismiss our past regardless of who it may offend.
We as a free country and people are here today because of the brave actions of the fallen, it is not for a government to decide to erase our past or disrespect the actions of our hero's consigning them to be optional.
More so when they didn't have an option. Imagine for a moment where we would be today if we simply sat back and let tyranny rule.
Our freedoms cost hundreds of lives. Even to this day our soldiers die in the name of freedom and peace.
As for the teachers who would downplay the efforts and sacrifices made in the conflicts, they should seriously ask themselves "Why?" Why should it be ignored?
There may be the few who are out right pacifists and have their own opinion, but to stop future wars it would be prudent to learn and teach what war is and the impact it has on all our lives.