The Student Room Group

Which history topics should be compulsory to learn in school?

This thread is part of the Curriculum Conversations project aiming to explore your thoughts and opinions regarding the subjects we learn at school.

Throughout our schooling, we are taught about various periods in history, with the events of WWII, the Holocaust and Civil Relations in America featuring prominently.

What other events and historical periods have you learnt about at school?
Are there any that you think are more important to learn about, or should become compulsory teaching?
Does learning about history add any value to our lives now?

Post your thoughts below!

Personally, history is my favourite subject and I thoroughly enjoy learning about any period, but there's a special place in my heart for ancient civilisations. Sadly, I can only remember being taught briefly about the Ancient Greeks once in year 5, and so I'd love for ancient history to become more integrated into the history curriculum, especially in keystages 3 and 4.

More curriculum conversations like this

Definitely more world history :smile:
Topics with reference to national history must not missed:

- Period in which England became a naval supremacy
- The pre- and industrial period of time.
- British-French colonial conflict.
- The imperialism.
- The Victorian Era.

and for the world history:

- Renaissance
- French Revolution
- Napoleonic Wars
- American Revolutionary War
- World War I
- World War II
- Cold War
Ancient history for sure! more focus on eastern stuff rather than just western as well. Cold War is another very important topic. Imperialism along with focusing on the negatives of it as well because we barely learn about the effects of it. History of how religions developed is also a good topic to consider.
(edited 1 year ago)
I'm not mentioning anything specific, but I definitely think we should be (generally) learning about the major events of different countries, so people are aware of how various nations / nationalities came to be as they are now.

I'm older than most of you here, but when I was at school, we were only taught about British history in school (e.g. Tudor Kings & Queens etc.) and black or ethnic history wasn't covered at all. This led a lot of myths, and there was a large gap between African and Caribbean people. Thankfully, it's a lot better now amongst younger black people, and they're much more united, but if you look at older generations, these mutual prejudices still exist to an extent.

My point is it would be useful for a better understanding of how / why things are the way they are now. For instance, I still don't get why Indian's and Pakistanis hate each other so much (I know it's something to do with Kashmir, but that's it).

P.S. Something must be up, when even today many people automatically assume that someone who isn't white is an immigrant :lol:
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 5
What other events and historical periods have you learnt about at school?

Ones I studied that haven't been mentioned yet in this thread: the Liberal reforms in the early 20th century (for GCSE) and the Russian Revolutions (for GCSE and A-level).

The 1917 Russian Revolutions are obviously a seminal event in 20th century history, and has been my favourite historical topic to read about since A-level. However, I was recently reading about Maoism where it was noted that in about a year's time, "communist" China will have outlasted the USSR and therefore it could be the 1949 revolution that comes to be seen as the key event of the 20th century. But it doesn't seem to be studied anywhere near as widely in UK schools. If history is studied in order to understand where we are today, then modern Chinese history probably deserves a bit more emphasis.

I studied in great detail the history of civil rights in the USA at A-level - of women, black people, indigenous people and of trade unions & labour. It was certainly very interesting and I'm glad to have studied it, but my knowledge of UK civil rights history is pretty pitiful in comparison.
With this debate there are always two problems.

Firstly that there will never be enough time to deliver all of the topics which may be considered valuable.

Second, that at some point you need to make a judgement call between knowledge and skills. Learning and rehearsing the tools of debate and source analysis and critical thinking takes lesson time. And for that there needs to be a sacrifice in the amount of narrative history that can be taught.

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