Leader comment: A dated approach to history

Once upon a time, history was mostly about dates. It was felt that all school children needed to be able to reel off a list of '˜Important Events' and when they happened. More recently, historians have taken a different view with the emphasis shifting towards trying to teach a greater understanding the past.

Mary Queen of Scots was not 25 when she was executed on Elizabeth I's orders

And that should be welcomed. However, it’s just possible things may have gone a bit too far away from the good/bad old days if the dates are wrong even in exam papers.

Killing off Mary, Queen of Scots – John Knox’s ‘wicked woman’, see above – 20 years too early in 1567 may have been a simple mistake.

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Mary’s reign as Queen came to an end in that year so a quick glance at a biography might lead to it being conflated with her execution 20 years later in England.

It may have simply been a typo, a persistent scourge of good writing that newspapers know only too well.

But surely someone with a good knowledge of Scottish history should have been proof-checking the National 5 exam paper in question?

After all, Mary was just 25 in 1567.

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