Goodbye, Winston

British secondary schools will drop Winston Churchill from a list of figures to be mentioned in history teaching. Also dropped: Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King. The schools will now be emphasizing “lessons on debt management, the environment and healthy eating.”


Schools are also being told to tear up the timetable of eight lessons a day and introduce classes lasting a few minutes – or several hours – by mixing different subjects together.

Five-minute lessons on spelling, French or German could be “drip-fed” throughout the day.

The architect of the new curriculum, Dr Ken Boston, insisted traditional approaches had been “exhausted”.

Check your calendar. This is not April 1.

Related: The Trivialization of Science Teaching.

(cross-posted at Photon Courier)

17 thoughts on “Goodbye, Winston”

  1. There’s no way this is serious, is there? Whether or not this is real, this is laughably ridiculous.

  2. It appears to be real. More here.
    The revised history curriculum includes both world wars and the Holocaust, the development of political power from the middle ages to the 20th century, the British empire and slavery; but not – automatically – the Wars of the Roses or Elizabeth I.

    But Mr Boston was at pains to emphasise the curriculum’s practical, real-world theme.

    “Are we going to deal with the Battle of the Nile or are we instead going to concentrate on how to take out a mortgage and manage it – and use the school time for that purpose?”

    There are a lot of people in the “education” field who really do not seem to place a very high value on knowledge.

    Regarding the taking out and managing of mortgages: if someone learns a reasonable amount of math, and the very basic principles of economics, and how to read and understand a complex document–then he will be able to select and manage a mortgage intelligently. It is not necessary or possible for schools to offer courses in every possible aspect of life–how to manage a mortgage, how to manage credit cards, how to negotiate salary, how to negotiate non-compete agreements, how to negotiate severance agreements–they should be focusing on general knowledge with broad applicability.

  3. What’s th point of going to school if you’re not going to learn anything of value. My guess is that they dropped real subjects to give more room to socialist propaganda.

  4. Its not April fools day. Assuming this is for real, I guess this is how societies commit collective suicide.

    Despite hearing this sort of stuff lately, I hear things were even worse prior to Thatcher. Is there anyone on here from the U.K. that can confirm if this is true?

  5. Repeat in unison after me:

    Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation as the West commits suicide.

    Remember this phrase. You will be saying it a lot.

  6. The end of the article is worse!

    Lotteries to allocate school places could be extended across the country after an official adjudicator backed a pioneering scheme in Brighton.
    Canon Richard Lindley ruled that ballots were a “reasonable means” of awarding places at over-subscribed schools.
    They could now replace selection by catchment area, which is said to favour middle-class families able to afford homes near good schools.(T)

    Here go property values, families budgets, etc etc.

  7. The schools will now be emphasizing “lessons on debt management, the environment and healthy eating.”

    So what they really want is a docile peasantry.

  8. I hate saying this over and over again but I must. There has been no history teaching worthy of its name in British schools for decades. What is the point of teaching Churchill and WWII if there is no understanding of what led up to it and how the country became what it was through the centuries? All the weeping and wailing has been true for a very long time. Please take it on board and don’t get shocked by some stray headline. We have a far more serious problem than you think on our hands.

  9. Helen…I certainly get the impression from reading things C S Lewis, wrote circa late 1940s and early 1950s, that these problems are by no means entirely new.

    I wish you would expand on your comment, and also go a bit into the organization of the school system–isn’t there considerable differentiation for the college-bound and the non-college-bound?

  10. The differential in British schools is between private and public (though, confusingly, we call many of the private schools public). This will not surprise anyone. However, the private ones (called public or not) are not as independent as people sometimes think as they, too, have to abide by the examination system, which has been dumbed down systematically for years and years. Some of them have started looking round for alternative examinations like the International Baccalaureat or even special schoole exams of their own. If it is a well-known school, they can get away with it. The other way the government can get at them is their charitable status, which means they don’t have to pay certain taxes, which, in turn, means they can keep fees down. (Most independent schools also raise money for scholarships and other suchlike things.) If they don’t do this, that or the other; if they don’t participate in social engineering, they might lose their charitable status. (Actually, that, too, needs serious reforming but that is a separate issue.) The state schools are a real problem. There are a few “colleges” that are more or less independently run but even they are controlled by the local educational authorities who also decide whether a private institution can open a city academy or not. See eg:

    This is far too long for a comment and is developing into a whole posting. I shall do one on the teaching of history very soon.

  11. “So what they really want is a docile peasantry.”

    Well, you need that when you’re headed down the yellow-brick socialist road to the state becoming the single feudal lord. If the serfs start reading philosophy and thinking, they might revolt. Can’t have that. Historically, serf rebellions tend to be ugly.

  12. Robbing an ancient people of their history causes them to be unstable and rootless. It does enable a stealthy cadre, though, to insert other “heroes” more to the state’s purpose. Nelson Mandela Street, for example, which makes the indigenes feel even more rootless. He has his name on streets. There is no Winston Churchill Street or Margaret Thatcher Close.

    The most disconnected children in Britain are indigenous white boys. They have been robbed of their identity and their history. They know nothing of their glorious past, but they see W Indian boys from immigrant families controlling neighbourhoods with knives, guns and drugs.

    This is the intended effect of socialism. If you’re rootless and can’t get a job, the state will help you. If you have several illegimate (a word the state no longer accepts – they control language) children, the state will house you, pay your fuel bills, give you money for finger food eaten lying on the carpet watching the plasma TV on the wall, and give you free medical. State-owned TV will cater to your primitive tastes and keep you involved and unthinking.

    Unlike the United States, which has a streak of independence of thought bred into its backbone, the British were pliant. Frankly, they deserve to lose their country because they gave it away: first to the socialists and then to the EU.

    I don’t know whether Helen would agree with me, but I think the surge began in Edwardian times.

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