At this time every year there is a conversation in the media about grade inflation and “hard” V “soft” subjects. In truth it is a more complex topic than some would have us believe. However one fact shines through – the number of students undertaking GCSE History continues to decline. There is a very good account of the reality that 70% of students drop the subject at fourteen in England from the Channel Four News website here (for the record about 70% of you opt to study the subject at Little Heath).
What makes this version of the story more interesting to me is that they bother to interview Paula Kitching from the Historical Association. She focuses on the subject’s worth rather than it’s difficultly. She argues “History widens the mind and for that reason alone it is valuable. It gives young people a sense of why a country is what it is, how a society is what it is and helps them interpret the world we have today.” One could argue that this its strongest defence, and perhaps makes the subject more important now than ever. Perhaps also it is just another version of my context point (see the earlier post on historians and the riots).