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Responding to today's headlines about leaks of the report of the Rose Review, the weariness in Jim Knight's voice was obvious:

Responding to today's headlines about leaks of the report of the Rose Review, the weariness in Jim Knight's voice was obvious:

"Sir Jim Rose's report has not been completed let alone published yet - but we are already getting stories about dropping this or removing that from the curriculum.

Of course pupils in primary school will learn about major periods including the Romans, the Tudors and the Victorians and will be taught to understand a broad chronology of major events in this country and the wider world."

I know how he feels.

As far as we can tell, history is to remain compulsory but schools will have more scope to choose between particular periods to teach. Learning about new communications technologies, such as Twitter, may also be compulsory.

Predictably, the media have so far chosen to interpret this as a gain for technology and a loss for history in the simple zero-sum game that is space on the curriculum.

Is this fair? Well, Jim Knight clearly thinks not, if only because the review isn't finished yet. We ought to be cautious about defending a report that isn't out yet and that we haven't read.

However, education debates have a long history of ignoring the reality of classrooms in the rush to having a good row. So it is perhaps worth making to simple point before we rush to judgement.

The review seems to have quite a traditional emphasis on mental arithmetic at the expense of calculators, and on primary age children having a strong sense of historical chronology rather than more specific and isolated modules of history.

The second is that making the pretty reasonable point that teaching primary age children how to thrive in their world in part through helping them understand spell checkers, online social networking etc. does not necessarily have much bearing on the content of what is taught.

Opening Minds schools are evidence that technology use can be a part of the way children learn through their everyday use in the classroom, but there still needs to be engaging and challenging subject content (like History). Teachers are not going to be leading children through the intricacies of Twitter week after week. Rather, this is encouragement to schools to ensure children will be using the internet for communications in the classroom day by day as a part of the way they work in class with their teacher, peers and parents.

I am a history graduate and I can think of about thirty reasons why children should be exposed to high quality history teaching, whether as part of a broad programme of study or in separate hour long sessions. As someone who cares about the subject, what isn't clear to me is what is being lost to history. Meanwhile the gains of using technology everyday seem clear.

The danger is clear that the debate about this report will be cast as progressives vs. traditionalists. Rose's only crime may in fact to conform to neither mould particularly, and be attacked by all. Let's hope for more considered coverage in future.


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