HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 cc1061-2W
Mr. Hurst

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to promote the(a) teaching of history and (b) testing of historical knowledge in primary schools. [173331]

Mr. Charles Clarke

History is a statutory subject in the National Curriculum for all primary age pupils, which requires that pupils are taught knowledge, skills and understanding through various areas of study. At Key Stage 2 these include studies of local, British, European and world history. Within that framework, schools have considerable flexibility over the detailed content of their history courses as long as the statutory requirements are met. The full Programmes of Study for History can be viewed at www.nc.uk.net.

All primary schools have received copies of the DfES/Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) scheme of work for primary history. This was specifically developed to help teachers plan courses aimed at developing children's historical knowledge and skills in a coherent and rigorous way. This is widely used and Ofsted has found that it is having a positive impact on standards in many primary schools. The Department is also funding the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to produce an "Innovating with History" website which will provide further support for primary and secondary history teachers encouraging them to explore more innovative and creative approaches to planning in history.

Assessment of historical knowledge is carried out through teacher assessment. Teacher assessment is carried out as part of teaching and learning in the classroom and forms an integral part of the assessment and reporting procedures.

The National Assembly for Wales is responsible for the curriculum and the teaching of history in schools in Wales.