Curriculum Partnership Enrichment Scheme for Schools

Commonwealth History Education Network

Dr Robert Guyver FHA, published 6th March 2017

Dialogue between teachers and their students is of course an important part of the teaching and learning process, but when this is multiplied to include not only teachers and students across different nation-states or jurisdictions, but also the different perspectives that they can bring to the same historical unit or theme, all of the factors are in place for a process of curriculum enrichment. The idea behind this scheme is to have enough information to enable schools with similar interests but in separate parts of the Commonwealth to make contact with each other and collaborate over the teaching and learning of agreed areas of history. The UK has strong demographic, political, economic, social, and of course family-related links with many if not all of the 52 Commonwealth nations, and there are significant examples of shared history here. 

When Simon Schama was asked in 2010 to assist in the framing of the next history curriculum it was this diversity (found in most of the UK’s large cities) that drew his attention, and the opportunities afforded by an inquiry approach to this widespread situation. During my stay in Tasmania last November I met a Ghanaian student, and on asking him what was the most significant event in the recent history of Ghana, he replied ‘the Fifth Pan-African Congress, held in Manchester in October 1945’. There were representatives at this from the Caribbean, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and of course Manchester itself. Other examples of this trans-national dimension might be convict history, including transportation, and even the Atlantic slave trade, both of which reflect an enormous global sweep, but will have a starting point (e.g. a court) and a destination (e.g. a place of enforced labour or a convict settlement) in a location that is close to a local school, say in Cornwall, Bristol, Tasmania or Jamaica. The link can sometimes be the histories of individuals or strong connections between two places in different parts of the world. An exchange of locally-based sources can bring these histories to life.

This is an initiative which has grown out of discussions with colleagues at the Faculty of Education in the Newnham (Launceston) Campus of the University of Tasmania. We are very grateful to the Historical Association for agreeing to advertise this among teachers. It is hoped that other history teacher associations around the Commonwealth, including those in Australia, will similarly advertise this to enable a global network to emerge, to fulfil the purpose of the initial registration of interest, and thus to develop the aims of the project. If you are interested in taking part please discuss this within your school to get the necessary permissions, and return the attached form, filled in, to the email address given. It may take a while to find a corresponding teacher and school in the specified Commonwealth jurisdiction but you will be informed of progress. 

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