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Interview with Roger Hennessey, 11 November 2009

By Roger Hennessey and Nicola Sheldon


Roger Hennessey was the Staff Inspector (HMI) for History during the period from 1989-90 when the first National Curriculum for history was devised. He played a crucial role as an intermediary between politicians and civil servants from the Department for Education and Science and the History Working Group members, who had been appointed to draw up the new curriculum. Roger discusses the background to the concerns which the National Curriculum for history was designed to address, in particular the lack of consistency of history teaching in primary schools and the frequent repetition of topics in secondary, especially when children moved schools. He then goes on to review his role in the HWG and in particular the controversial issues in which ministers became involved. He also discusses the last-minute decisions to make history optional after age 14 and to exclude events in the previous 20 years from the National Curriculum. In his view, the National Curriculum 'cleared the air' and still remains 'a counsel of perfection'. Interviewed by Nicola Sheldo

Topics: HIS
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