East Lancashire critics hit back after Michael Gove’s claim of ‘unpatriotic’ teaching

Lancashire Telegraph: Michael Gove Michael Gove

CALLS have been made to teach the First World War ‘warts and all’ during Accrington Pals’ commemorations.

Critics in East Lancashire hit out after Education Secretary Michael Gove described academics’ criticism of leadership during the conflict as ‘unpatriotic’.

The minister launched an attack over the way the war is taught as a ‘misbegotten shambles’. He also criticised television programmes such as Blackadder for their portrayal of officers.

However, Accrington Pals historian Walter Holmes said it was important to include as much as possible in the curriculum, such as the Accrington Pals’ ‘slaughter’ at the Somme.

He said: “One reason behind the slaughter was the mistaken belief the German front lines were decimated. The Pals were ordered not to charge, but walk across. It resulted in so many deaths and the men who survived spent days burying the dead and bringing in the wounded. Their bravery was astonishing.”

This July marks 100 years since the start of the Great War and Paul Trickett, head of Rhyddings High School in Oswaldtwistle, said pupils were taught about the soldiers’ bravery through facts. He said: “It’s important children understand that a lot of brave people made a great sacrifice.

“However, the important thing is the facts. You have to allow children to discover the details and make their own decisions about right and wrong.”

History teacher at Darwen Aldridge Academy, Adam Turner said: “It doesn’t dishonour the war dead to use Blackadder as a version of events and as a starting point to study the war.

“Michael Gove’s comments are useful as part of a discussion about the war and its remembrance but are no more correct than anyone else’s. History can’t be owned by the Secretary of State for Education.”

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said he felt this year’s commemorations in Accrington were an opportunity to learn from the past.

He said: “Subjects like this need to be taught, warts and all.”

Comments (6)

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2:08pm Thu 9 Jan 14

makaveli96 says...

The Swiss must've been pretty confident in their chances of victory if they included a corkscrew in their army knife.
The Swiss must've been pretty confident in their chances of victory if they included a corkscrew in their army knife. makaveli96

2:10pm Thu 9 Jan 14

shytalk says...

Mr Gove. Here is a simple arithmetic test for you to try. Stick your head in a bucket of water three times, and take it out twice.
Mr Gove. Here is a simple arithmetic test for you to try. Stick your head in a bucket of water three times, and take it out twice. shytalk

4:32pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Noiticer says...

WW1 was an imperialist folly for which millions of ordinary people suffered in all the countries involved. This year's remembrance must be as much about reconciliation with former enemies as anything else. God forbid we have further imperialist wars but the rise of China and the decline of the USA could provoke this. The latter country has a track record of imperialist trangressions.
WW1 was an imperialist folly for which millions of ordinary people suffered in all the countries involved. This year's remembrance must be as much about reconciliation with former enemies as anything else. God forbid we have further imperialist wars but the rise of China and the decline of the USA could provoke this. The latter country has a track record of imperialist trangressions. Noiticer

5:05pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Interocitor says...

Michael Gove is a danger to education because he places his grubby ideology above all else.
Michael Gove is a danger to education because he places his grubby ideology above all else. Interocitor

9:13pm Thu 9 Jan 14

happycyclist says...

A face you want to punch. REALLY hard.
A face you want to punch. REALLY hard. happycyclist

9:15pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Excluded again says...

The causes of the First World War and the ineptness of commanders on all sides ('it will all be over by Christmas') was being taught in schools when I was a lad in the 1970s. Millions of people (especially young men) died for a war caused by the jockeying for power and prestige of several empires and run by generals and politicians who had no idea what they were getting into. Nothing much seems to have changed in that assessment.

Mr Gove is apparently upset that this year we will be reflecting on an out of touch elite incompetently ruining the lives of millions of ordinary people for no very good reason. I wonder why he is so touchy about this?
The causes of the First World War and the ineptness of commanders on all sides ('it will all be over by Christmas') was being taught in schools when I was a lad in the 1970s. Millions of people (especially young men) died for a war caused by the jockeying for power and prestige of several empires and run by generals and politicians who had no idea what they were getting into. Nothing much seems to have changed in that assessment. Mr Gove is apparently upset that this year we will be reflecting on an out of touch elite incompetently ruining the lives of millions of ordinary people for no very good reason. I wonder why he is so touchy about this? Excluded again

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