British prep school will put history on the map to end ‘shame’ over Britain’s past

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Lessons in the “story of our land” will replace history, geography and religious education at a leading independent school.

Richard Cairns, the Headmaster of Brighton College, told a conference there that he wanted to inspire children and teach how Britain influenced the world. He likened the current teaching of history to a car journey that stopped on only three occasions — 19th-century women, the First World War and Nazi Germany — and said that there was too much focus on other cultures. “We should stop being ashamed of being British,” he said. “We should be less embarrassed about our past.” His focus is at odds with the state sector’s national curriculum, which has been seen as dominated by a social agenda.

Michael Gove, the Shadow Schools Secretary, told the conference that current practices had “dethroned” the teacher, and subjects of passing relevance were taught instead of a permanent body of knowledge. “It’s an approach that’s been called progressive but is anything but. It denies children the knowledge they should have in order to make the most of their talents.”

The “story of our land” course will be taught six times a week to pupils aged 11 to 14. After that they will take GCSEs in geography, history and religious education.

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