As part of its drive towards the lowest common denominator in education, Labour has allowed the teaching of history to vanish from the curriculum at many state schools. Thousands of pupils drop the subject at 13, and only three in 10 fifth-formers take it at GCSE.
The thinking behind this classroom vandalism is that history, along with pure sciences and foreign languages, is a “hard” subject, much more likely to be failed than less academic courses, such as leisure and tourism.
Under a regime that focuses on quotas rather than quality, little Johnny at the bog-standard comprehensive is encouraged to play the soft-option system. He gains a fistful of qualifications, but ends up knowing nothing of the past and can barely write a note to the milkman.
This is a shame. History has much to teach us in today’s financial crisis, not least that we have been here before in one form or another. The economy is in a mess, government spending is out of control, and our currency is being devalued. Desperate ministers, fearing disaster at the polls, seek to denigrate opponents by labelling them “toffs”.
Put another way: “Our finances have been brought into grave disorder. No British Government in peace time has ever had the power or spent the money in the vast extent and reckless manner of our current rulers… no community living in a world of competing nations can possibly afford such frantic extravagances… the evils which we suffer today are the inevitable progeny of that wanton way of living.” Read in full in the Daily Telegraph.