YEP Says, September 7: Is history being consigned to, well, history?

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JUST WHAT are children being taught in school history lessons? Not only do a worrying number of pupils seem to be ignorant of iconic events in this country’s more recent history, like the Battle of Britain and D-Day landings, but only half knew that the Queen is head of the Commonwealth.

In a landmark week which will see the Queen become the UK’s longest reigning Monarch on Wednesday, it is remiss that more schools have not taken the opportunity to explore the importance of the Commonwealth and the historic changes that have taken place since the Queen acceded to the throne.

In an inter-connected world, why can’t schemes embrace the ‘pen pal’ schemes of the past that enabled young people to correspond with their counterparts in countries like India and Canada? In many respects, the advent of new communications technology, like email, makes this even easier.

Yet this does require a commitment on the part of schools to teach British history which begs this question: Who is responsible for the subject’s apparent diminution? Headteachers – or meddling Ministers in London? Either way, today’s survey is another reminder that history is important to helping pupils improve their understanding of the present – and to prepare for the future. As such, these lessons should not be sacrificed to make way for the latest whims of education’s politically-correct do-gooders who seem embarrassed about this country’s important role in the world.

Huge boost to donor campaign

more than 13,000 people have signed up to the organ donor register following the launch of Leeds Teaching Hospitals ‘Be a Hero’ campaign in July - 2,236 of them from Leeds. This is fabulous, truly humbling news. Last year, just over 100 people in Yorkshire donated an organ after their death. These amazing individuals provided 294 lifesaving transplants - but there are still nearly 800 people in Yorkshire waiting for the surgery. Three a day will die waiting. If you haven’t already signed up people of Leeds, be a hero today.

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