We Ain't Got No...
They aren’t the first. I was educated under Labour and they failed my generation too.
I have spent this entire recess between work and cracking the whip over my daughter's revision.
Yesterday was history. Her course outline is the American West, medicine and public health through time, history around us and South Africa.
I was educated in a secondary modern which became a comprehensive whilst I was in situ.
We knew this because workmen knocked in a bright new sign at the bottom of the school drive.
They also put a sign outside the Headmaster's office which read, ‘CSE - the key to the future’.
I stared at this sign. I thought about how I would like a future and how I obviously needed this key.
I was actively discouraged from taking O’levels in the subjects I loved, English and history and encouraged to take a CSE which would guarantee my success. I refused and stuck to my O’level guns.
Looking back I realise that what was happening was a process to reduce us all to the lowest common denominator.
And it’s still happening. Labour ideology turns its face away from academic inspiration or achievement; and embraces mediocrity.
As a girl, I sat in the school library and secretly poured over history books.
Here I am going to make a few suggestions as to the subjects I think I should have been helping my daughter to revise yesterday in preparation for her history GCSE.
All of which are either about or had a major impact on British history.
I would of course be assuming that at primary school she would have already covered the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.
The below would commence at Year seven and then work up to GCSE.
Ancient Britons, Roman Occupation/ Constantine/ Religion.
Dark Ages/ Anglo Saxon settlement.
Establishment of the Celtic and Latin Church.
Viking Invasion/ Dane law.
Establishment of the English Nation.
Alfred the Great/ Norman Invasion.
Middle Ages/ lineage of kingship.
Wars with France ( Or re-name military victories)
Development of Parliamentary democracy/Magna Carta.
Simon De Montfort.
Age of Enlightenment.
Establishment of the Church of England.
Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Reformation/ split with Rome.
Establishment of maritime supremacy.
Empire/ America/ Stuarts/ Civil War/Cromwell.
Rise of Parliament.
Loss of America.
War of Austrian succession.
Defeat of Louis XIV.
The Napoleonic Wars.
Gain of India/ Republicanism.
Industrial Revolution/Agrarian Revolution.
Colonisation of Africa the World and everything
Wilberforce - Slavery abolished.
The Crimean War.
American Civil war – starvation is Lancashire (no cotton for t’ mills)
The Treaty of Versailles.
The Great Depression.
The Second World War.
The NHS & the welfare state.
But no, not a bit of it. Not one moment of GCSE history revision will be spent revelling in the amazing history of our great country. Today will be spent on the American Wild West.
The standard of history taught in our schools has greater consequences than just letting a generation of children down. It is an opportunity missed in helping those who are settling into our country to understand the culture they wish to be part of, and we wish them to be loyal to.
And if anyone is thinking that the above list is too comprehensive for children in five years, I would reply that is the defeatist attitude which got us into yesterday's Observer headline.
If solid history were taught in schools, we wouldn’t need citizenship lessons!
Whilst this particular secondary modern product has been typing this, she has been listening to Debussy’s Claire de Lune - something else they aren’t taught in schools today.
Maybe I should simply be grateful that the holiday and revision is almost over.
I spent yesterday as all mothers do, trying to get their children to revise.
I requested, asked, insisted, begged, got cross and then began screaming like a hysterical madwoman, threatening to feed the hamster to the dog if she didn’t sit down and revise.
With the hamster tucked safely in her fleece pocket, my daughter had finally had enough “Will you get off my back for goodness sake?” she said, "You are like a stuck ipod.”
"Stuck iPod?" Where did that come from? What happened to broken record?