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History: Secondary Education

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to encourage the study of history at GCSE and A-level. (253806)

History is a statutory subject for all pupils to the end of key stage 3, normally age 14, and at key stage 4 students are entitled to follow a humanities course (comprising geography and history).

The review of statutory requirements for key stage 3 was completed in 2007 and new programmes of study are being implemented in the current academic year for children in year 7. The range and content of the key stage 3 programme of study set out the aspects of British, European and world history on which teachers should draw when teaching the skills of historical enquiry, use of evidence and communicating about the past. The new programmes of study also allow for joint working on issues such as diversity and ethnicity; and there are strong links between citizenship education and the teaching of history. More detailed information can be found on the QCA website:

History remains popular at KS4 and beyond, with 202,753 pupils entered for GCSE in 2007 and 67 per cent. of pupils achieving grades A* - C. In the same year, 40,542 pupils entered for A-level history; 25 per cent. achieved a grade A and 27 per cent. a grade B.