Towards inclusion: A study of significant figures and disability within the national curriculum

Primary History article

By Bev Forrest, published 19th November 2013

A study of significant figures and disability within the national curriculum

Since the early days of the National Curriculum, considerable progress has been made to introduce children to an inclusive view of history. The research of the late Hilary Claire (1996) served as a major impetus and now primary teachers strive to ensure that no groups or individuals are marginalised, particularly in relation to gender, race and class.

Disability Invisibility

However one group in society still appears to be underrepresented in primary history teaching - people with disabilities. Think carefully about where if at all they appear in your current teaching? And if they do are you portraying a positive image? Perhaps it's in your work on the Victorians and the deserving sick and feeble in the workhouse? Our pupils are also presented with negative images of people with a disability via popular media where they are often portrayed as the victims in society and sometimes as sinister characters. A Children's Society study 2008 looked at where disability featured in teaching the National Curriculum. As expected PSHCE and citizenship were favoured areas, and PE, Science and English were also popular choices. Sadly few schools used history as a vehicle for teaching about disability. Students at Leeds Trinity University felt history could and should play a major role in portraying a positive image and redressing the balance...

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