2018 – 018 How the Educational Authorities produced Generation Snowflake


“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”  George Orwell

Indeed one would be forgiven for believing that Winston Smith is the head of the Education Authority history division.

This is known as CulturalMarxism indoctrination.

Cutting the roots of our national identity
Published by the Campaign for an Independent Britain
© 2015
CIB’s new booklet Generations Betrayed—cutting the roots of our
national identity is a well-researched and timely publication which should
appeal to all those who care about Britain’s future as a self-governing
democracy of global importance. It sets out clearly how our children are
being let down by an educational elite who see Britain and its history as
anachronisms in the modern world.
The booklet draws attention to the ignorance among the younger
generation about vital parts of British history which is very worrying
indeed. Their grasp of our history compares badly with that of older people
who were far more knowledgeable about the great events and epochs which
moulded, nurtured and defended our great country through the centuries
enabling it to build a thriving democracy at home and at the same time to
become a world power. It also shows how the educational establishment
believes that the teaching of history is too Anglo-centric and this, no doubt
arises from their desire to promote the idea that nation states are out of date
and that Britain’s future is within the embrace of the European Union and
governance by an unelected oligarchy.
Finally, the booklet provides a clear warning that our children are
being brainwashed and, unfortunately, our politicians are either ignorant of
what is happening or, even worse, are party to it.”
Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Labour MP for Swindon from 1970 to 1983 with a lifelong
commitment to sovereign, democratic, parliamentary government,
Lord Stoddart now sits as Independent Labour.
ISBN 978 1901546 5 5 2
Front cover
Illustration from an edition of Robert Browning’s Pied Piper of Hamelin; with
acknowledgements (and apologies) to Arthur Rackham (1867-1939).
A spectre is haunting classrooms across Europe—the spectre of
ignorance about our continent’s history. A new group, Historians for
Britain, representing leading academics, has warned of school textbooks
across Europe promoting the false notion that the unification of Europe has
been a long-term historical enterprise. This, they point out, is a misuse of
history for Europhile political objectives that flies in the face of historical
Fears that British school children are also being subjected to
influences that promote further European integration are well founded. Such
influences are firmly embedded in the history curricula being taught in
schools across the United Kingdom. Alarmingly, they are much more
subversive than the approach to school history that has been identified in
classrooms across Europe. They go largely undetected because they happen
mostly ‘under the radar’.
The main obstacle to pupils being provided with a fair and balanced
account of the European Union is not, in the main, the proliferation of proEU
material available to schools. The main obstacle is a lack of knowledge
caused by school history curricula in each part of the UK that promote socalled
‘skills’ at the expense of knowledge. In effect, ignorance of the
landmark personalities and events that define our national identity is being
positively promoted.
In England, the new National Curriculum is supposed to address this
problem but in many ways, by promoting a ‘free for all’ regarding choice of
subject content, compounds it. There is no requirement, for example, that
children be taught anything that might allow them to have the knowledge
base to challenge pro-EU bias inside or outside of the classroom; not even
Magna Carta, Nelson, Churchill or the two world wars. However, a single
method of teaching, based on the inculcation of so-called historical ‘skills’, is
prescribed. The effect of this method is to dilute content and knowledge. The
history curricula in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are even more
overtly committed to skills at the expense of knowledge.
The Education Reform Act of 1988 introduced a National Curriculum
for England and Wales. A similar National Curriculum for Northern
Ireland was introduced in 1992. Subsequent revisions have led to a
significant divergence between the document for England compared with
those for Wales and for Northern Ireland. The revised English National
Curriculum (published 2013 for teaching from 2014) claims a greater focus
on knowledge. In contrast, the curricula for Wales and Northern Ireland
overtly downgrade knowledge in favour of skills.
The Welsh Government website sets out the philosophy of the current
Welsh National Curriculum: “The school curriculum is learner focussed,
places an emphasis on skills development and ensures that it is appropriate
for the specific needs of Wales.” In terms of history this translates into a
requirement to teach answers to such questions as: “what impact did people
of this time have on their environment?” Professor Graham Donaldson has
recently completed his review of this Curriculum. Whilst he recognises the
importance of ‘knowledge’, the heart of his recommendations is about crosscurricula
skills and concepts. “The Curriculum 3-16 should be organized
into Areas of Learning and Experience”, he concludes. History is part of a
“Humanities Area of Learning and Experience” that “draws on history,
geography, RE, business and social studies”.
The Northern Ireland Curriculum requires a similar approach. It
states: “At the heart of the curriculum lies an explicit emphasis on the
development of skills and capabilities for lifelong learning and for operating
effectively in society.”
Scotland does not have a National Curriculum but, currently,
provides general teaching guidelines via its Curriculum for Excellence. It
fully embraces the skills-based, cross-curricula approach of Wales and
Northern Ireland.
Unlike in other subjects the History National Curriculum for
England parallels the skills-based approach of Wales, Northern Ireland and
Scotland. Whereas, for example, the new 2013 Geography National
Curriculum for England requires specific content to be taught, the content to
be taught for history is determined by individual schools and teachers.
The remainder of this paper focuses on the History National
Curriculum for England. However, the matters of concern about England
are true in a more concentrated form for Wales, Northern Ireland and
Since its introduction in 1988 there have been several revisions of the
National Curriculum but, with regard to history, the emphasis has
consistently been on children acquiring so-called ‘skills’ rather than
knowledge. These skills are based on the notion that all history is
‘provisional’ and are supposed to equip pupils with the ability to ‘construct’
history for themselves, and to ‘deconstruct’ existing narratives. They focus
heavily on the evaluation of ‘evidence’. If necessary, the teachers are free to
go as far as faking evidence in order to teach the ‘skills’. One of the most
widely used secondary school history textbooks, Minds and Machines
1750-1900 (Longman), reprinted several times and part of a series, makes
this explicit:
“…we have tried to imagine what they would tell us if they were to
come back from the dead.”
In fact, the only thing that is unique about history as a subject is that
it is an account of the past. Everything else related to the subject is crosscurricula
and it is the cross-curricula elements—the ‘skills’—that are,
largely, taught in schools. This goes some way towards explaining the level
of ignorance about our past that is so prevalent amongst many of the
younger generation.
The failure of the History National Curriculum to provide pupils
with the knowledge base that underpins national identity has been
illustrated by a number of surveys, examples of which are set out below.
1. A survey from 2003 (reported in The Sunday Telegraph 16th June)
revealed that 30% of 11-18 year-olds thought that Oliver Cromwell fought
at the Battle of Hastings and a similar number could not name the century
in which the century in which the First World War was fought. Fewer than
half of the 200 children questioned knew that Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar
was the Victory.
2. In August 2004, prior to its “Battlefield Britain Series”, the BBC
issued a press release headed: “Alexander the Great won the Battle of
Hastings… Gandalf defeated the Spanish Armada… the Battle of Britain
was a turning point in the 100 Years War… the Romans never invaded
Britain…” It went on to explain that a survey it had commissioned on
landmark events in British history revealed “the older generation are far
more clued up on their history then the supposedly sharper 16 to 44 age
Amongst 16-34 year-olds a third could not spot the victor in the Battle
of Hastings from these five options: (a) Napoleon (b) Wellington (c)
Alexander the Great (d) William the Conqueror (e) Don’t know
Half of this younger generation did not know that the Battle of
Britain happened during World War 2 and almost half could not connect Sir
Francis Drake to the battle against the Spanish Armanda, naming, instead,
Gandalf, Horatio Hornblower or Christopher Columbus. 71% of over-65s
knew that the famous battle marked every year on 12th July by the
Orangemen in Northern Ireland is the Battle of the Boyne. In contrast, this
was known by only 18% of 16-24 year-olds. 15% of these youngsters
thought the Orangemen were celebrating the victory at Helms Deep, the
fictional battle in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
3. In October 2004, Channel 4 published a poll it had commissioned
to accompany its TV series on the history of the monarchy. It found that
only 10% of 15-24 year-olds could connect King John to Magna Carta. Over
half did not know that ‘Windsor’ is the official name of the royal family. Just
16% knew that James was the name of the first monarch to sit on the
thrones of England and Scotland at the same time. A mere 26% of these
youngsters knew the identity of the king who was executed after the Civil
War. 34% knew that Queen Victoria was our longest serving monarch. The
survey of nearly 2000 people showed that 15-24 year-olds were far less
likely than older people to know the correct answer.
4. A survey published in 2009 showed that a lack of knowledge
extends to able undergraduates. Derek Matthews, Professor of Economic
History at Cardiff University was so concerned about the downgrading of
knowledge in school history lessons that over three years (2006, 2007, 2008)
he tested the basic historical knowledge of his British educated new first
year social-science undergraduates at this Russell Group university. These
students were probably in the top 15 per cent of their age group for
educational attainment. He posed five basic questions relating to landmark
events and personalities of British history. They were: “…the easiest
history questions I could think of, and what I considered any well-educated
(make that any) 18 year old should know.”
The results below show the percentage of correct answers:
1. Who was the general in charge of the British army at the battle of
Waterloo? 16.5%
2. Who was the reigning monarch when the Spanish Armada
attacked Britain? 34.5%
3. What was Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s profession? 40.5%
4. Name one prime minister of Britain in the 19th century. 11.5%
5. In what country was the Boer War of 1899 to 1902 fought? 30.6%
In his report Professor Matthews recounted how students in a typical
tutorial had never heard of the Reformation and did not know what was
meant by the term ‘Protestant’. “This implies that, all things being equal, 85
per cent of my undergraduates’ age group knows even less than they do. In
other words, we are looking at a whole generation that knows almost
nothing about the history of their (or anyone else’s) country.’ He added:
‘This is an outrage and should be intolerable.”
5. On 7th October 2011, The Daily Mail carried this headline: Oh no,
no, no, no, no! Teenage pupils ‘believe Winston Churchill is TV advert dog’.
Its story, widely reported, was based on the experience of Katharine
Birbalsingh, an experienced London deputy head teacher who had
addressed the 2010 Conservative Party Conference.
6. If anything, the decline of historical knowledge amongst young
people has recently worsened. In Spring 2014 Ofsted’s Lead Inspector for
History reported of school history lessons that, “Pupils’ knowledge and
understanding of the topics studied is not as good as it was at the time of
Ofsted’s last subject report [2011], History for all.” (The National
Curriculum for History from September 2014: the view from Ofsted—
published by the Historical Association).
At best, such ignorance makes young people indifferent to the
question of British sovereignty in Europe. At worst, it makes them highly
vulnerable to seductive and one-sided viewpoints.
As Education Secretary, Michael Gove was determined to place
knowledge at the heart of his new History National Curriculum for
England. Confidential initial drafts set out a knowledge-based approach but
were unsound in terms of the accuracy of some of the knowledge they
presented and insufficient in terms of the topics covered. A final draft ironed
-out these problems but provoked overwhelming criticism from teachers and
some historians for being too knowledge-prescriptive and too Anglo-centric.
At this point the Secretary of State appeared to ‘give in’ and asked a small
sub-group, from those he was consulting, to produce a new draft
curriculum. Probably unknown to Mr. Gove, this sub-group included
people who had done much to promote the so-called ‘knowledge-lite’ New
History which has been dominating school history lessons since the 1980s.
The new National Curriculum for History now being taught in
schools is the one produced by that cabal of ‘experts’ who were determined
to maintain ‘skills-based’ history teaching. Mr. Gove told the full group of
those he was consulting, that the evolution of the new history curriculum
had gone through a process of “thesis” and “antithesis” to “synthesis”. This
was disingenuous. The truth is self evident from reading the published
document and paying attention to the detail. It cements in place a status quo
that will ensure pupils remain deprived of the competence to form a
knowledge-based opinion of the British sovereignty and the European
Over twice as many words in the curriculum are devoted to
prescribing how to teach the subject, using the contentious skills-based
approach (so-called “new history’), than is devoted to the content of what
must be taught. Nearly all events and personalities are optional including,
even, such landmarks as the Battle of Hastings, Magna Carta, both World
Wars and Churchill. In terms of historical knowledge the key words, many
times repeated, are: “Examples (non-statutory). This could include…”
In other words teachers are informed in very specific terms that the
teaching of nearly all the landmark events and personalities is not a
requirement. The only requirement is to cover broad periods of history such
F “ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain,
F “challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the
present day”
The “French Revolutionary wars” (1792-1802) are included as a nonstatutory
example of what might be taught but there is no reference to the
Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) or to Nelson and Wellington, even in the nonstatutory
examples. It will be argued that teachers cannot teach, say, the
period 1745-1901 without teaching the Napoleonic Wars but at best, for
many pupils, if it taught at all, this may translate into an empathy exercise
about conditions on board HMS Victory rather than a narrative of the
events and consequences.
Writing landmark events and personalities out of British history,
unless they are ‘nailed down’, is quite a simple process, as a previous
Government demonstrated with regard to Winston Churchill. On the 50th
anniversary of V-E Day, the Department for Education sent a teaching video
about World War 2 to every school in the country. The primary school
version lasted 34 minutes but allocated only 14 seconds of indistinct
coverage near the end to Churchill stating only that, “People thought he
helped the war end in Britain.” The video did emphasise, though, “It was
quite sexist in the war.” Churchill is similarly marginalised in the
secondary school version of the video. He is mentioned by name just once
but only in the context of losing the 1945 General Election. In contrast,
Hitler is mentioned 16 times.
Given that nearly all the content of the new curriculum comes under
the heading of “Examples (non-statutory)” it is significant that the teaching
of a few topic areas is not left to chance. These are examples of prescribed
subject content:
F “the achievements of the earliest civilizations—an overview of
where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth
study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer, The Indus
Valley, Ancient Egypt, The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China”
F “non-European society that provides contrasts with British
history—one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization,
including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c.
AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300”
F “at least one study of a significant society or issue in world
history and its interconnections with other world
developments [for example, Mughal India 1526-1857; China’s
Qing dynasty 1644-1911; Changing Russian empires
c.1800-1989; USA in the 20th century]”
One might legitimately ask why Baghdad or Benin have been placed
on a statutory list whilst World War 1 is specified as “non-statutory” and
the Napoleonic Wars do not get any mention at all.
The new National Curriculum for History defines the subject largely
in terms of cross-curricula concepts (e.g. “continuity and change, cause and
consequence, similarity, difference and significance”) and ‘skills’ that
promote all knowledge as being ‘provisional’. This can lead to a distortion in
the teaching of the subject and to the downgrading of knowledge because
teachers are likely to choose content to illustrate the concepts and skills
rather than for its historical importance, e.g. the disappearance of the
princes in the Tower under King Richard III lends itself well to an exercise
in the ‘skill’ of evidence evaluation but the lesson time taken up will displace
lesson time for teaching the causes, events and consequences of the Wars of
the Roses. When children have to ‘create’ the past for themselves, only
small amounts of the historical narrative can be covered.
The ‘skills’ approach becomes more dangerous and subversive when
the topic being taught is something both contentious and contemporary
such as British Sovereignty and the European Union. The curriculum makes
no specific mention of the EU. The closest that one gets to the subject is
“Britain’s place in the world since 1945” under “Examples (non-statutory)”
that teaching about “challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world
1901 to the present day”, “could include”. The Curriculum document makes
clear how such a topic should be taught. It defines the “Purpose of Study”
as equipping pupils “to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh
evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.” All of
this is commendable, of course, but applied to the classroom it means a
teaching approach that sidelines knowledge in the interes
From the start it sets out to dilute, diminish and change British
national identity. Traditional heroes including Clive of India, General
Wolfe, Admiral Nelson, Florence Nightingale and General Gordon are all
excluded. The Duke of Wellington’s role in history is confined to his
opposition to the Chartists. There is no mention of his role at Waterloo. The
book promotes Peterloo, not Waterloo. Nor do many prime ministers get
much of a look in. Pitt the Elder, Pitt the Younger and Peel are all sidelined.
Palmerston and Gladstone get minor walk-on roles. Instead, new ‘heroes’
appear, including the American Chief Crowfoot, the African Chief
Lobengula, the Fijian Chief Cakobau, the Indian Princess Rani Lakshmi, an
Aborigine teacher named Bessy Cameron and Josephine Butler, a British
campaigner against sexually transmitted diseases.
Landmark events and topics such as the Seven Years’ War, the
American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the Irish
Question are among major topics, which are either dismissed in a few
sentences or totally ignored. Instead, children are provided with a feminist
study of Victorian prostitution, sex, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Pupils are informed that “…the law treated women’s bodies as pieces of
meat”. And, in order to provide appropriate evidence for empathising with
“the rulers and the ruled” of the British Empire the authors of the book
write, “…we have tried to imagine what they would tell us if they were to
come back from the dead.” This fits very well with the current popularity
amongst teenagers of films, TV programmes, book and comics that centre
on zombies, vampires and other variations of the ‘undead’.
We, thus, learn that an ‘undead’ Princess Rani Lakshmi would feel
the need to tell pupils that, “The British punished survivors by firing canon
balls through them at point blank range.” A resurrected Chief Lobengula
would apparently say, “My men bravely stood up to the British who cut
them down with their canons and machine guns. Soon afterwards I died.
My people were conquered and our lands taken.” Cecil Rhodes’ message to
us from beyond the grave rather confirms what a bad lot we Brits are. He is
made to say, “I made a fortune…But that was not enough for me: I wanted
to change history. We British were the best people in the world so I wanted
to control as much of the world as possible.”
The book is more concerned with leading immature youngsters
towards superficial moral judgements than it is in providing them with
knowledge. Many of the chapter headings are dominated by gloom, doom
and despair, suffering and desperation, injustice and exploitation: ‘White
Gold & Black Misery’, ‘Fingers weary and worn’, ‘A perfect wilderness of
foulness’, ‘Pauper places’, ‘Riot and Reform’, ‘A policy of sewage’.
It is in these terms that the authors interpreted the previous National
Curriculum and the new 2015 History National Curriculum requires and
embeds such an approach. It accommodates just about anything in terms of
content but there is no such latitude with the prescribed ‘skills-based’
teaching method. This is ‘nailed down’ and prescribed. More, it is very,
very time-consuming and will eat into the limited time, often only an hour a
week, allocated by schools to history.
As the textbook quoted from above demonstrates, alongside the
promotion of ‘skills’ at the expense of knowledge, history lessons these days
have an important role to play in promoting politically correct ideology.
This development has gone largely, but not completely, unnoticed by
parliament. Back in 2000, for example, Baroness Blatch, made a speech to
the House of Lords in which she recalled a visit, as Schools Minister, to a
school history lesson:
“…I visited a school, which will have to remain nameless, where I
was told that they taught all subjects through prejudice, racism, gender and
conflict. Apart from needing to be held down by my officials when I heard
that, what went through my mind was the denial of the glories of literature
and history denied to those pupils. This is not to say that prejudice, racism,
gender and conflict are not important in themselves, but to teach all subjects
through those themes seemed to be almost a criminal activity on the
children. But there seems to be a return to that.” (House of Lords, Hansard,
Since Baroness Blatch expressed her concerns the stranglehold of
‘political correctness’ in schools has grown rather than diminished. In
November 2014 the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, published
guidance on promoting “British Values” in English schools. Previous
guidance from Michael Gove in 2011 had simply required schools to
“respect these values”. The new requirement is for schools to “actively
promote” them and to “have a clear strategy for embedding these values
and show how their work with pupils has been effective in doing so.” This is
turning into a predictable nightmare. As with so many well-intentioned
initiatives, the educational establishment, ‘The Blob’, has seized control. For
it, ‘British values’ does not mean providing pupils with knowledge of
Magna Carta or of the fight for liberty or of the struggle for democracy.
‘British values’ is seen as another vehicle for promoting politically correct
zealotry and ideology that, in its most recent manifestation at Grindon Hall
Christian School in Sunderland, ten-year-olds were, it seems, interrogated
about their knowledge of lesbian sex and trans-sexuality. Inspectors, also,
allegedly asked primary aged girls if they knew what lesbians “did” and if
they had any friends who felt that they were trapped in the “wrong body”.
The school has made a formal complaint to Ofsted. The interpretation of
“British values” is in danger of being corrupted in much the same manner
as the History National Curriculum.
Perhaps most worrying of all is the encouragement the so-called
“British values” agenda gives to teaching ‘value relativism’ in schools
under the guise of what the DfE defines as the British value of “mutual
respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” Translated
into the classroom, and not exclusively for history lessons, this can readily
mean that the views of the moderate and of the extremist are given equal
weight—different views but equal views. Unwittingly, therefore, schools
are radicalising some young people. That most are doing so for the very best
of intentions makes such ‘value relativism’ doubly dangerous. It has become
such an article of faith for many history teachers that ‘evidence’ is being
invented or ‘doctored’ in order to be ‘fair’ to everyone. Informed and
intelligent debate in schools, based on a depth of knowledge about
controversial topics, including the EU, is becoming less and less possible.
Former Education Secretary, Michael Gove told the 2010
Conservative Party Conference that, “One of the under-appreciated
tragedies of our time has been the sundering of our society from its past.
Children are growing up ignorant of one of the most inspiring stories I
know—the history of our United Kingdom.” He promised to stop schools
from “trashing our past”. He correctly identified the problem and it is a
problem that has direct relevance to allowing an informed debate about
Britain’s national sovereignty and the EU. ‘Ignorance’ will not permit such
debate to be meaningful.
For all that the ‘spin doctors’ would have us believe otherwise,
Michael Gove lost his battle over the history curriculum. It simply will not
do for commentators sympathetic to Gove in the national press to proclaim
that traditional history is back. Nothing is back, not even Churchill. In
some respects matters are worse since even less content is prescribed now
than under previous versions of the history curriculum, e.g. the World
Wars, are now optional.
The one area of the new curriculum where progress does seem to
have been towards restoring some integrity and sense is with regard to
bringing back a chronological framework. Sadly, even in this area, much is
amiss. Younger children, in particular, will suffer from confusion, since the
crucial foundation-building Key Stage 1 curriculum (5-7 year-olds) for
history will produce chronological chaos. It requires teachers to jump
around in time, for example, between Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria,
William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Christopher Columbus and Neil
Armstrong. This totally contradicts what is known about the cognitive
development of this age group and it is this age group that is the most
important of all.
Although it is set within an ostensibly chronological framework an
element of chronological confusion will continue at the other two Key Stages
at which history is a compulsory subject—Key Stage 2 (7 to 11 year-olds)
and at Key Stage 3 (11 to 14 year-olds). Pupils have to jump between early
history and more recent history and vice versa. At Key Stage 2, for example,
they might be studying “Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots”
one week and “the first railways” the next. At Key Stage 3 that might move
from “women’s suffrage” one week to “the Neolithic Revolution” the next.
Lack of knowledge, not least of historical knowledge, poses a
potential threat to the democratic process. A referendum on Britain’s
membership of the EU, for example, needs to be made on the basis of
informed opinion. For some decades the knowledge content of school
history lessons has been in decline. In Spring 2014 Ofsted’s Lead Inspector
for history admitted a new low point. Government claims that the new
National Curriculum for history has secured the restoration of knowledge
are false. Far from rectifying the failings with regard to knowledge of
previous versions of the National Curriculum, it has embedded them.
Further copies of this booklet (or application for membership) contact:
CIB, 78 Carlton Road, Worksop S80 1PH
tel: 07092 857684
President G C West
Chairman Petrina Holdsworth
Secretary E Spalton
Treasurer J Harrison FCA FCCA
Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Lady Vallat
Lord Clifford of Chudleigh
Lord Willoughby de Broke
Lord Stevens of Ludgate
Lord Grantley
Lord Walsingham
Lord Lamont
Lord Kalms
Earl of Wemyss and March
Sir Richard Storey Bt
Sir Richard Shepherd MP
Kate Hoey MP
Sammy Wilson MP
Philip Davies MP
Philip Hollobone MP
Andrew Rosindell MP
Heather Wheeler MP
Stuart Wheeler
Rev’d Dr Peter Mullen

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