Why Christopher Columbus is history (and why many would-be teachers know nothing about him)

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Only one out of 20 would-be teachers on a Cambridge University history and education course knew anything about Christopher Columbus, a conference was told yesterday.

The figure was revealed by Kate Pretty, pro-vice chancellor of Homerton College, as evidence of the decline in history in primary and secondary schools. Later this month, a report by Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, will reveal that seven out of ten pupils have ditched the subject by the time they are 14. Only 30 per cent go on to study it to GCSE level.

The report will also reveal that time allocated for history is now being swallowed up by the new compulsory lessons in citizenship - which aim to instil in UK children the concept of "Britishness".

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