education Secretary Michael Gove’s history syllabus for English schools has been strongly criticised by historians and teachers for several reasons. One of these is its focus on Britain, when understanding of the rest of the world will be crucial. The hope is that the approach will strengthen a sense of national – ie, “British” – identity, across a variety of ethnic and cultural groups.
However, the syllabus is largely confined to English history. There is very little about Scotland before 1603 and not much about it even after the Union of the Parliaments.
There is reference to the “English Enlightenment” but not to the Scottish one, although that had far wider international ramifications.
Supposedly, knowing much about Adam Smith, David Hume and many other erudite Scots is not thought necessary to an understanding of British history and a sense of national identity.
That the advocate of this curriculum is a distinguished alumnus of a prestigious Scottish school is astounding. Its followers may well come to assume that England and Britain are the same thing.
Scottish Nationalists can use the matter to argue that it shows the English don’t care about Scotland.