Letter: Already history

ALAS, DR MORELAND (Letters, 1 August) is far too late to protest against the decision of exam boards to phase out pre-modern history. The boards are not denying any student the right to study medieval history. They are simply responding to the fact that students are not entering for these exams. Academics tend to think that, because exam boards offer syllabuses, students must therefore be studying them. This is not the case. Medieval history has already reached the point of no return, social and economic history is in decline, Tudors and Stuarts are strong only in the private sector, and even Napoleonic and 19th-century British history are under pressure as numbers drop.

At the moment academics are bewailing the fact that students wonder who Alfred the Great was. Unless current trends are combated, students will soon be wondering who Napoleon, Bismarck, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Queen Victoria were.