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Remembrance - why it matters in schools.

One of the main motivations for setting up the 3Rs was the feeling that the subject of History was being reduced to exam gobbits or testing for the sake of it. As Armistice Day approaches, it is really worth thinking about why history is learnt in schools, and what children can get from it.


The first point is that history is not just a pointless collection of facts. It is a moral lesson for all of us today, and has real relevance when looking at the real-world issues we face today. Understanding the Ukraine, the complexities of the Middle East, the reasons for the actions of the USA and so on. Young people need to know these things, and teaching them in a way that is not reduced to a 4-mark answer matters.


Secondly, they cannot understand themselves and the country they live in without a grasp of the history they have. You cannot pick and choose your past. I object to a simplistic dismissal of the British Empire as a force of complete evil, just as I do not accept that the Empire was Britain's finest hour. The truth lies in the centre and needs to be explained.


Finally - it is inspiring, exciting and fun to learn about the past. We live in a world where the easy explanation is to often accepted, and social media can dilute the power of real understanding. The 3 Rs tries to deliver accuracy with nuance. It is one of the key things I value as a historian.


As the 11th hour of the 11th month approaches, think about history more carefully. Try and pass on to the next generation the value of remembrance - and not just at this time of the year. The 3Rs is not just about remembering - but inspiring the next generation too.

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