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History education in comprehensive schools: using school level data to interpret national patterns

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  • Lb Theory And Practice Of Education
  • Economics
  • Education


This paper reports the findings from two large-scale national online surveys carried out in 2009 and 2010, which explored the state of history teaching in English secondary schools. Large variation in provision was identified within comprehensive schools in response to national policy decisions and initiatives. Using the data from the surveys and school-level data that are publicly available, this study examines situated factors, particularly the nature of the school intake, the numbers of pupils with special educational needs and the socio-economic status of the area surrounding the school, and the impact these have on the provision of history education. The findings show that there is a growing divide between those students that have access to the ‘powerful knowledge’ provided by subjects like history, and those that do not.

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