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History Curriculum Association

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

The History Curriculum Association was formed by a group of eminent historians and launched on 18 March 1990. Its aim was to preserve the integrity of history as a knowledge-based subject within what was to be the first the National Curriculum. It expressed "profound disquiet" at current trends in history teaching.[1]

Historians on the advisory council included three influential Conservative peers: Lord Beloff, the first principal of Buckingham University, Lord Blake, the historian of the Conservative Party, and Lord Thomas of Swynnerton, an advisor to the government at that time.[2]

The launch of the Association came ahead of a report from the National Curriculum History Working Group that formed the consultation document for the first National Curriculum that was published later in 1990.[3]

The Association published a launch document entitled: "GCSE HISTORY: AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH" which listed the membership as: Professor Lord Beloff, Lord Bullock, Professor Ralph Davis, Professor Sir Geoffrey Elton, Professor Robert Skidelsky, Professor Norman Stone, Lord Thomas of Swinnerton, Professor John Vincent and the History Department of Lewes Priory School. This document can be viewed online at:

Professor Skidelsky said that the principal argument of the Association was with the guidelines laid down by the Task Group on Assessment and Testing.[4] These guidelines required National Curriculum subjects to have levels of progression and were incorporated into the National Curriculum but, as result of the Dearing Review (1994), were not applied to Key Stage 4 GCSE assessment.[5] The levels were eventually dropped altogether following a Department for Education report in December 2011 [6]

In his report on the launch of Association for The Daily Telegraph, its education editor, John Clare, wrote: "The group is understood to reflect the views of Mrs Thatcher [Prime Minister at the time], whose close interest in national curriculum history has led to accusations of "constitutional impropriety".[7]


  1. The Daily Telegraph 19/03/1990 under headline "History may be thing of past experts fear"
  2. 'The Independent' 19/03/1990 under the headline, " History curriculum 'should emphasise need to learn facts' "
  3. 'The Times" 19/03/1990 under the headline "History battle joined by peers"
  4. "Teachers' Weekly Thursday 22 March 1990 No 104 under headline, 'Academic enter history row'
  5. 'Dictionary of British Education', Peter Gordon and Denis Lawton,
  7. Daily Telegraph 19/03/1990 as cited above

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