April 2013


"I understand that your opinions and advice were sought in drafting the 2014 curriculum proposals for history. (I found your name on a list entitled "Individuals who were involved in discussion of history" published on the Department for Education web site).

For 20 + years I worked in primary schools in East Sussex and I have retained a strong interest in history. I have a number of reservations about the 2014 proposals and I would very much like to read more about the advice given to the DfE prior to their publication.  I am keen to make an informed response within the consultation period but there appears to be very little background information to enable me to do so.
I would therefore be very grateful if you are able to answer any of the following questions:

1) How much thought was given to appropriate teaching methodology in Key Stage 1 to ensure that  "concepts such as civilisation, monarchy, parliament, democracy and war and peace that are essential to understanding history" are understood by our five to seven year olds?

2) Why have non-European ancient civilisations been dropped from the curriculum? Was it considered unimportant to examine the contributions made by ancient civilisations beyond Greece and Rome? Why have the contributions made by many other ancient civilisations to the development of our multi-cultural society been ignored?

3) In the light of the decision to delay the introduction of the study of electricity in the science curriculum until Key Stage 2, what should children in Key Stage 1 be taught in relation to Michael Faraday? (example of significant individuals who have contributed to the nation's achievements).
4) The proposals require "a high quality history education that equips children to think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement" (page 3). What proportion of the time given to the study of William Harvey by five year olds (another suggested example of a significant contributor to the nation's achievements) should be spent on investigating his numerous dissection experiments with live animals in the quest to discover the workings of the circulatory system?

5) The proposals suggest that we should aim to ensure all pupils " gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history." Why therefore is there so little emphasis on social history in the programmes of study across Key Stages 1- 3?

6) Did anyone suggest it would be prudent to run trials of the new programmes of study prior to imposing them on state schools across the nation? Since free schools and academies are exempt from the history curriculum proposals, they could have been ideal testing grounds."


Information not held


This request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOI Act (section 1) gives you the right to know whether we hold the information you want and to have it communicated to you, subject to any exemptions which may apply.

We can confirm that The National Archives does not hold any information that falls within the scope of the six questions asked in your request.  We can confirm that Mr Payne in his capacity as Head of Education for The National Archives did contribute advice to the History panel, but was not involved in the writing of the final proposals.

The information is likely to be held by the Department for Education.  We will not be forwarding your request but suggest that you contact the department directly at:
Department for Education
Castle View House
East Lane

Or via their contact form on the Department for Education website: