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The position of history education in Scottish schools

Hillis, Peter (2010) The position of history education in Scottish schools. Curriculum Journal, 21 (2). pp. 141-160.

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Abstract

The teaching of history has attracted more controversy and media attention than any other subject in the ongoing reform of the curriculum in Scottish primary and secondary schools, A curriculum for excellence. This gives head teachers increased powers to decide on the curriculum as long as it satisfies four general capacities rather than subjects. History must, therefore, continually justify its essential contribution to the education of Scotland's young people. Conversely, A curriculum for excellence provides an opportunity to review the teaching of history at all levels from primary through to upper secondary, with a further driver of change being an increased emphasis on Scottish history. Debates over history's 'place in the sun' and course content have taken place against a backdrop of significant changes to the teaching and learning of history with the greater use of sources, independent study and authentic learning, many of which draw on developments beyond Scotland, notably the 'rich tasks' employed in Queensland, Australia. One of the few certainties for history is that its capacity to spark controversy will be matched in discussions over course content and its place in the curriculum.