Schools should teach more about Englands medieval past, warns MP

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He believes most students “don’t have the option to study anything pre-1066”. Mr Stafford, who studied medieval times at A-level and specialised in the subject in his degree, said: “Lots of our history teaching revolves around the two Hs – Hitler and Henry VIII – but we need to actually broaden out.

“There is a lot more. Our country is quite old with a lot of formative history.

“It is a situation where students are far more likely to learn about someone like Martin Luther King than they are about Alfred the Great.

“I would say most students haven’t heard of Athelstan, who is the first king of a united England. It is important that we get medieval history – from the fall of the Roman Empire in the West from 476 to the discovery of the New World in 1492 – in the spotlight.”

The MP is to lead an adjournment debate in the Commons today, promoting medieval history as a school subject.

Mr Stafford said there are lessons in the past, not least how the Black Death compared with the Covid-19 pandemic or how the clash between East and West within the Crusades has an “obvious parallel with what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan”.

He said children not being told of medieval history makes it less likely they will take it up at university, adding: “We’re in danger of losing vast chunks of history.”

Mr Stafford claimed the subject could help children develop reasoning and thinking skills.

He said: “It teaches them how to think rather than saying ‘This is the correct answer, this is what happened’.

“We can have a proper discussion about potential options.”

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