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Educational policy and educational content: The teaching of European history in secondary schools in England and Wales, 1945-1975

Syriatou, Athena; (1997) Educational policy and educational content: The teaching of European history in secondary schools in England and Wales, 1945-1975. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the way educational mechanisms and policies in British society influenced what was actually taught in schools, during the thirty years after the Second World War. It centres upon the case of the teaching of European history in secondary schools in England and Wales and how this was intended to influence the ideological formation of future generations. This research begins with a philosophical analysis of the role of education in reproducing both social mechanisms and cultural impetus in societies and more specifically in British society. It investigates the relationship between the intention of the state to intervene in the formation of the curriculum and the limitations on the teachers' liberty to determine content in the classroom. It pays particular attention to the educational trends in history teaching and the role of the subject of history in the classroom. The greater part of this work is devoted to an examination of the content of history syllabuses and history examination questions, as well as to a sample of history textbooks used in secondary schools during the period 1945-1975. It shows that the dominant image encountered in this educational material was that of liberal England contrasted with absolutist and rebellious Europe. North-western Protestant principles, the benefits of colonialism and the moral superiority of great powers over weaker ones, were assessed favourably in these textbooks, giving a version of European history which made Britain stand out as a generator of liberty and progress. These concepts were fostered in a educational system which was tolerant enough to sustain views which were antagonistic to it without being threatened by them.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Educational policy and educational content: The teaching of European history in secondary schools in England and Wales, 1945-1975
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Education; European history
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099744
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