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Title: The emergence of history as a subject within the primary curriculum during the twentieth century and its implementation in schools in the late 1990s.
Author: Harnett, Penelope Anne Marshall.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2424 3718
Awarding Body: University of the West of England at Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2001
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The EInergence of History as a Subject within the PriInary Curricuhun during the Twentieth Century and its ImpleInentation in Schools in the late 1990s. The central concern of this thesis is that of curriculum change in relation to history as a subject within the primary school curriculum. The thesis documents changes which have occurred in the history curriculum during the last hundred years, and explores issues of curriculum control and teacher autonomy: who selects curriculum knowledge and on what basis is this selection made? Goodson's (1994) view that subjects are not' monolithic entities', is explored and changes and continuities within the primary history curriculum during the twentieth century are investigated. The thesis analyses official documents relating to the primary history discourse and situates them within prevailing educational ideologies and developments in historiography. U sing methodologies developed from the work of policy sociologists (Ozga: 1987, Ball: 1990, 1994), the thesis studies three contexts of policy creation and implementation relating to the history National Curriculum (Bowe & Ball: 1992). a) Within the context of influence, the thesis analyses the primary history discourse prior to the National Curriculum contextualising it within the political and educational debates relating to curriculum construction. A framework for the analysis of policy texts is developed which is used to trace the development of history as a curriculum subject throughout the twentieth century. The thesis explores Goodson' s (1994) claims that curriculum subjects have their origins in utilitarian concerns, which then move onto pedagogic and more academic justifications. Rationales for teaching history are analysed and located within different educational ideologies. The impact of changing rationales on the 'knowledge drift' of the content of the history curriculum and the developing pedagogy for history are also investigated. b) The context of text production evaluates the debates relating to the creation of the history National Curriculum and subsequent versions. The structure of the National Curriculum and its implications for primary school curriculum organisation is considered. The work of the History Working Group and its recommendations for primary school history are discussed. The History Final Report is analysed in detail as a source of evidence of official views on the history curriculum and also in terms of the earlier traditions of history education, identified in the preceding chapters. Modifications to the history National Curriculum are considered, alongside interpretations from different agencies which reveal the dynamic relationship between policy construction and implementation. The roles of agencies such as the National Curriculum Council (NCC), Schools Examination and Assessment Council (SEAC), Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) and Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) are considered and their influenceon the National Curriculum analysed, alongside the roles played by commercial publishers and the Historical Association. In addition, the production of history texts is also investigated within broader educational contexts such as the Report of the Three Wise Men (Alexander, Rose & Woodhead: 1992), the curriculum review led by Lord Dearing (DFE: 1995) and the development of the Labour party's educational policies following their election victory in 1997 (DfEE: 1997a). c) Within the context of practice the thesis investigates the ways in which primary school teachers interpret the history National Curriculum within their own beliefs and values, and the impact of their different interpretations within the classroom. Interview data provide evidence of the variety of experiences which influence teachers' views of history. Different emphases which individual teachers place on various aspects of history are analysed within Evans' (1994) model of history teachers, which categorises teachers as storytellers, scientists and relativist reformers. Primary teachers' management of history as a subject within the primary curriculum is also explored and considered alongside the range of competing interests present in primary schools. The thesis combines documentary data with accounts by teachers of their beliefs and practices. In this way, links between the macro and micro spheres of policy making are identified. Thus the thesis provides insights into the extent to which central policy can be imposed on compliant teachers and the extent to which primary teachers mediate change, becoming 'policy makers in practice' (Croll: 1996). This study of curriculum history provides illuminative insights into contemporary educational concerns as they are contextualised through a broader timespan. It also contributes one example of the continuing evolution of a school subject within the primary curriculum and provides an interesting case study which might be used to analyse developments in other subject areas.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training Education History