Letters 13th June, 2013: Full list of signatories

A full list of signatories to the letter "Gove's history plans contravene Education Acts"


We consider that the Government’s approach to the teaching of history, as outlined both in statements made by the Education Secretary and the Prime Minister, and in the draft history curriculum, runs contrary to the statutory duties set out in the Education Acts of 1996 and 2002.

The 1996 Act, Section 406 states: “The local education authority, governing body and head teacher shall forbid… the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school.” The Act of 2002 at Sections 78 and 79 requires the Secretary of State, local education authorities, governing bodies and head teachers to secure a “balanced and broadly based curriculum”.

In defiance of these legal obligations, the Government’s attitude to the teaching of history is underpinned by an unbalanced promotion of partisan political views. The Education Secretary has gone on record stating that the purpose of the changes which he proposes is to make history teaching “celebrate the distinguished role of these islands in the history of the world” and to portray Britain as “a beacon of liberty for others to emulate”. He spoke in Parliament of history lessons which focused on “British heroes and heroines”. The Prime Minister has referred to the teaching of “our island story in all its glory”.

The draft curriculum document reflects this unbalanced national triumphalism. This is evident in the emphasis which it places on “how Britain influenced the world” (to the exclusion of the reverse) and on the importance of “the concept of nation and of a nation’s history” – second in the list of concepts required to be imparted to five- to seven-year-old infants. It is also evident in more subtle ways such as its handling of slavery, which is not mentioned as part of “the development of a modern economy” and which is listed elsewhere as “the slave trade and the abolition of slavery”, implicitly giving equal weight to the two.

Given that the new history curriculum has been widely criticised for its Anglocentric focus, in its marginalising of the role of women and non-white ethnic groups, and its wholesale failure to reflect the views of those appointed originally to advise the Government, it falls well short of the requirement to be “balanced and broadly based”. The presence in the draft curriculum of the occasional individual such as Mary Seacole, herself a late addition to it, has rightly been described as a “garnishing of tokenism” by an original adviser to the Education Secretary on the history curriculum, Professor Simon Schama.

The Department for Education has not made a serious attempt to refute or to address the charge of political bias and the Education Secretary has given further evidence of his political partisanship by frequently branding his critics “Marxists” and “lefties”, a clear indication of his determination to exclude one end of the political spectrum.

We therefore consider that there are strong grounds for believing that this curriculum, should it be implemented, and any further changes to the teaching of history which seek to impose a political bias or flout the requirement for breadth and balance would be unlawful.

Robert Evans, Regius Professor of History Emeritus, University of Oxford

Jonathan Hart, Head of History, Dinnington Comprehensive School

Guy Halsall, Professor of History, University of York

Stephen Hodkinson, Professor of Ancient History, University of Nottingham

Matt Houlbrook, Tutorial Fellow and Lecturer in Modern British History, Magdalen College, Oxford

Angela Piccini, Dr/Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol

David Priestland, University Lecturer in Modern History, Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford

Eric Rosenthal, Head of History,  Slough Grammar School

Professor Richard Toye, University of Exeter

Alex Woolf, Senior Lecturer in History, University of St Andrews

Zoe Abrahams, Teacher, Godolphin & Latymer School

Hakim Adi, Reader in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora, University of Chichester

Tanya Ahmed, Head of History

Sophie Ambler, Research Associate, King's College London

Esther Arnott, History teacher Lampton School

Jaime Ashworth, Ph.D. Independent writer and researcher

Tessa Bidgood, Head Of History

Coletter Bowie, GTA, University of Glasgow

Elizabeth Boyle, Research Fellow, St Edmund's College, Cambridge

Nikki Brewer, Citizenship Teacher

Samuel Burrowes, History Teacher, George Mitchell School

Ruth Bush, Research Fellow, University of Westminster

Elizabeth Carr, Head of History, Presdales School

Adam Chapman, Editor and Training Coordinator, Victoria County History

John D Clare, retired History teacher and author

Marcus Collins, Senior Lecturer in Cultural History, Loughborough University

Ian Coulson, Teacher and author

Laura Crombie, Lecturer in History, University of York

Gary Davies, Lecturer

Conor Duffy, Head of History, Cardinal Heenan RCHS

Kathryn Dutton, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Manchester

Katherine Edwards, History teacher

Jessica Edwards, Teacher

David Edwards, History teacher, BMET college

Ann-Marie Einhaus, Lecturer, Department of Humanities, Northumbria University

Dan Ellin, PhD Student, University of Warwick

Jayne Ellmes, Teacher of History (Canon Slade School)

Catherine Feely, Teaching Associate in Modern British History, University of Sheffield

Martin Findell, Research Associate, University of Leicester

Catherine Flavelle, Teacher, St. Peter's C of E Aided School, Exeter

Helen Foxhall, Forbes Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Exeter

Ian Goddard, Assistant Headteacher Fitzharrys School

Tehmina Goskar , Heritage Practice, Penzance

Louise Graham, Head of Humanities, Woodrush High School

Faith Guilford Head of History, Greig City Academy

Claire Hall, Head of History at All Saints Catholic College

Sarah Hamilton, Professor of Medieval History, University of Eeter

Leonie Hicks, Senior lecturer in medieval history

Jon Hogg, Lecturer in Modern History, University of Liverpool

Richard Horton, Head of History St Birinus School

Martin Hoyles, History writer and former senior lecturer at the University of East London

Joanna Huntington, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History

Charles Insley, Senior lecturer in History, University of Manchester

Fergus Jackman, History teacher, Putteridge High School

Bernadette Jones, History teacher, Ursuline High, Wimbledon

Robert Jones, Fellow, Royal Historical Society

Richard Kerridge, Head of Humanities: Mildenhall College

Debra Kidd, AST Pedagogy

Hanna Kilpi, PhD candidate and GTA, University of Glasgow

Kathleen Layton-Jones, Associate Lecturer, Open University

Christine Lester, Head of History, Woodlands School, Basildon, Essex

Jayne Mackay, History teacher Helsby High School Cheshire

Caitlin Mackie, Modern studies/history probationer teacher, Scotland

Alan March, Assistant Headteacher, Whitworth Park School

Brian Marren, Historian

Helen Marsh, History teacher, Cotham School

Alison McAusland, Curriculum Area Leader for History, John Taylor High School

Chris Millard, Honorary Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary, University of London

Ken Muller , Former head of history, Islington Green School

Catriona Pennell, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Exeter

Andrew Pidhajeckyj, Head of Humanities Batley Business & Enterprise College

Levi Roach , Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Exeter

Joe Roberts, Head of History, The Morley Academy

Yvonne Roberts-Ablett, Head of History The Cooper School

Annelies Scott, private teacher

Sarah Shepherd, Leap Education: History Supply Teacher

Marika Sherwood, Senior Resarch Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London

Dean Smart, Senior Lecturer in History and Citizenship Education, University of the West of England, Bristol

Monika Smialkowska, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Northumbria University

Paul Smith, Head of Humanities, Up Holland High School

Chris Smith, Teacher of politics & history, Thorpe St Andrew School

Joe Smith, SSAT National Adviser for History, Head of History

Kate Snook, History Teacher, St Paul's Girls' School

Tom Southall, History teacher/assistant head teacher

Martin Spafford, Subject Leader for History, George Mitchell School and SHP Fellow

Ian Startup , AST, King Edward VI School

Andrew Stone, History teacher at St Francis Xavier College and Defend School History co-ordinator

Joe Street, Dr/ Senior Lecturer, Northumbria University

Russel Tarr, Head of History, International School of Toulouse

Emily Thomas, History Teacher

Alison Twells, Principal Lecturer in History,  Sheffield Hallam University

James Underwood, NASUWT President Cambridgeshire Branch and history teacher

Paul Ward, Professor of British History, University of Huddersfield

Leigh Wetherall Dickson, Senior Lecturer, Northumbria University

Nicholas Wharton, History Teacher and Head of Politics, Lawrence Sheriff School, Rugby

Victoria Whitworth, Lecturer, Centre for Nordic Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands

Ann Williams, Former lecturer, Polytechnic of North London

Jonathan Wilson, Researcher and Seminar Tutor/Assistant Lecturer

Alun Withey, Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Chris Wrigley, Emeritus Professor of Modern British History, Nottingham University

Donald Bloxham, Richard Pares Professor of European History, University of Edinburgh

Lottie Clark, Heritage Project Coordinator

Kimm Curran, Independent Historian - IHR

Jack Elliott, Dr/ tutor university of Warwick

Michael Evans, Instructor, Mid Michigan Community College

Keith Fells, Living history interpretor 

Daniel Gerrard, Lecturer in Medieval History - St Peter's College, Oxford

Tom Greenwood, Head of History

Nick Hall, Historian, Independent | Researcher, Wolfson College, University of Oxford

Paul Hyams, Professor, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, USA

Scott Jenkins, PhD student, Swansea University

Alan Kissane, 4th Year PhD Student, University of Nottingham

Mike Mantin, Research Fellow, Swansea University

Kate Moorse, Consultant, Hon. Fellow, SHP

Amanda Morwood, Assistant Head

Diana Paton, Reader in Caribbean History, Newcastle University

Alison Ray, PhD Candidate in Medieval History, University College London

John Shepherd, Professor of Modern British History, University of Huddersfield

Helen Steele, Research Information Advisor for Arts & Humanities, University of Leicester

Louisa Taylor, PhD Candidate Medieval History UCL

Steven Taylor, Historian and Former Secondary History Teacher/University of Leicester

Vanessa Traill, Access Tutor, University of Glasgow

Mike Tyler, Danelaw Centre for Living History

Christopher Uden, Vice-principal, International American School of Warsaw, Poland

Carol Wallbanks, Head of History, Preston. 

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