Those on the right regularly complain of left-wing bias in the school curriculum. For instance Jago Pearson wrote in the Telegraph
in January: "Michael Gove is right. My time studying History at school and university was dominated by Left-wing thinking."
My son is currently taking his AS History and doesn't see much evidence of this. Indeed he has been shocked by the opinionated support for Margaret Thatcher in the standard Edexcel text
for his course:
On the Falklands, it states "Margaret Thatcher rose magnificently to the challenge... It was vital that aggression be defeated for the sake of British self-respect and the rule of law in the world ... It was a simple case of right and wrong." (p160)
On Northern Ireland: "The Maze was in every respect a model prison, confirming to all aspects of the charter of human rights yet the IRA denounced is as a 'British death camp'. This was total nonsense, but the power of propaganda convinced many of the Catholic community in both the Irish Republic and within the Irish community in the USA that this was the scene of a modern atrocity When Bobby Sands starved himself to death in May 1981, there was outrage, yet Thatcher was rightly unmoved. It was self-inflicted and totally unjustified by any objective criteria, but it took political courage to say so and accept other deaths. Once again there was a display of courage and determination on the prime minister's part but one that was not popular in liberal circles." (p172)
This follows from a section on Thatcher's first government titled "setting the country to rights" (p153) and comes before a section on how the defeat of the miners was "probably necessary to the modernisation of the economy." (p169).
None of this is in quotes or from other sources. It is all presented as fact. Are students expected to talk of Thatcher's "magnificent" response to the Falklands war? If this is the text book to work from, how will those who question her actions be marked?
Now all of the above are valid opinions about Thatcher's government but they are presented as fact. I'm not a History teacher and this is my first experience of A level history text books but I would ask if its appropriate for a text book to be biased in this way. I'd love to know what others think of this.
Source: Edexcel GCE History: British Political History 1945-90: Consensus and Conflict
by Geoff Stewart