Whose History curriculum is it anyway?

After months of secrecy – for no clear reason – at the DfE, I got surprising response to my FOI request this month. I had expected to be told that the names of the people whose advice was sought about the re-drafting of the curriculum would be withheld, so it was quite a shock to see them set out before me.

Since the list was published, others have taken a great interest in it, and our enquiries are now greatly supported by the efforts of Marina Robb (@MarinaRobb) who has taken the time to try to find out some brief details about each of the panel members. The work below is all hers (save for the formatting):


1. Scott Baker:  Head of History at the Robert Clack School in Dagenham and History rep Academic Steering Group of The Prince’s Teaching Institute(Secondary Education)
2. Lord Bew: Professor of Irish Politics (Higher Education) [Politics/Stance:NeoCon Henry Jackson Society]
3. Professor Jeremy Black:  Professor of History at the University of Exeter (Higher Education) [Politics/Stance: Conservative]
4. Professor Arthur Burns: Professor of History at KCL and  Vice President of Royal Historical Society – specialist in the History of the Church of England (Higher Education/History Advocacy)
5. Jamie Byrom: Schools History Project (Schools Consultant/History Advocacy)[Politics/Stance: Thematic Enquiry Based Learning]
6. Daisy Christoudolou: Briefly an English Teacher now an Education consultant (Secondary Background: English) [Politics/Stance: Traditional Knowledge Curriculum]
7. Christine Counsell: Senior Lecturer PGCE History Cambridge, former Secondary School teacher (Higher Education/Secondary Education)
8. Jackie Eales: Professor of early modern history at Canterbury Christ Church University and president of the Historical Association (Higher Education/History Advocacy)
9. Rebecca Fraser (?): Author “A People’s History of Britain” (History Author/Writer) [Politics/Stance: Conservative]
10. Dr. David Green (?): Head of Civitas [Politics/Stance: Right of Centre)
11. Elizabeth Hutchinson: Former head of history, Parkstone Grammar School, Poole Contracted by DofE to draw up GCSE History subject content (Secondary Background)
12. Matthew Inniss: Subject Leader for History and an Economics Teacher at Paddington Academy in Westminster. (Secondary Education)
13. Dr Seán Lang: Senior Lecturer in History, specialising in the history of the British Empire, Chair of the Better History Group (Higher Education/History Advocacy) [Politics/Stance: Traditional Knowledge Curriculum]
14: Jennifer Livesey (?): Primary Teach First (Primary Education)
15: Chris McGovern: Campaign for Real Education, former History teacher, Prep School Head (Secondary Background/Education Advocacy)  [Politics/Stance: Traditional Knowledge Curriculum]
16: Dr Michael Maddison: Ofsted Lead Inspector for History (Schools Consultant/History Advocacy)
17. Andrew Payne:  Head of Education & Outreach at The National Archives
18: Robert Peal: Former Secondary School History Teacher (2 years), then Research Fellow at right=of-centre Civitas (Secondary Background/Education Consultant) [Politics/Stance: Traditional Knowledge Curriculum]
19: Katherine Rowley Conwy: Head of Sixth Form Highbury Fields School (Secondary Education) [Politics/Stance: Seems to be British History focus]
20: Rebecca Sullivan: Chief Executive at The Historical Association previously Senior Humanities Publisher at Pearson Education (History Advocacy/Education Consultancy)
21: Professor Robert Tombs: History fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge and Politeia (Higher Education/Political Think Tank) [Politics/Stance: Right of Centre]
22. Jonny Walker: Teach First Primary
23: Dr Nick Winterbotham: Chairman, Group for Education in Museums (GEM) and runs Winterbotham and Associates Leadership advice, marketing and entrepreneurship, etc. (Education
Consultant) (Education Consultant)

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2 thoughts on “Whose History curriculum is it anyway?

  1. Michael Fordham 29 October 2014 at 11:24 pm Reply

    I think the labels here demonstrate very clearly just how difficult it is to pigeon hole people, which is of course what people want to do when they see such a list to work out if it is ‘balanced’ or ‘fair’. For example, the description of Jamie Byrom here is really very simplistic – he was one of the early critics of dumbed-down source-based activities (he wrote on this in the 1990s), something that would put him very much in the same court as a Rob Peal, and yet he is also a fellow of the SHP, which Peal would hate.

    As someone pretty immersed in the history education community (and knowing well over half of this list quite well either by their work or personally), I would suggest that this is an exceptionally well-balanced panel. I do not mean here so much that it ticks every single possible box imaginable (primary/secondary, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, etc.), but rather that, if you take the major debates in the field of history education, then representatives from across those spectra are all here represented.

    The major debates fall along the lines of things like British history vs non British history, use of sources vs not use of sources, teaching overview or teaching depth, local history vs national history and so on. This panel was well placed to debate all of these issues.

    Generally speaking, the final draft curriculum that came out was very well supported across the profession and had widespread support from organisations such as the SHP, HA and RHS. No system is ever going to be perfect, but in terms of (a) the panel selected for the process and (b) the outcome they produced, this really could have been much much worse. Hats off to the DfE as far as I’m concerned.

  2. […] The History National Curriculum was devised in consultation with 23 educationalists with a variety of views and experiences. Meanwhile, in the RE Council’s construction of the […]

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