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Brighton College makes history study compulsory

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 06, 2014

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History and international politics are to be made compulsory for sixth-formers at one of Britain's leading independent schools.

Richard Cairns, headmaster of Brighton College in East Sussex, said it was a "disgrace" that pupils could drop studying history at the age of 14.

The school is believed to be the first in Britain to make sixth-formers study an hour of history and international politics a week alongside their A levels.

In the lower sixth form, lessons will span Britain from the Romans to the 19th century, including a focus on the impact of the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.

Lessons will also focus on the significance of 1066, England's relations with Europe during the Middle Ages, the Magna Carta, Agincourt and the Spanish Armada.

Mr Cairns said that in the upper sixth form, lessons will look at Russia, China, the UK and the United States, and how recent history has shaped modern foreign policy.

He said he was making the subjects compulsory "because I think that 17 and 18-year-olds have a right to know their nation's history".

He said: "They also need to understand that modern foreign policy can only be understood by reference to a nation's history.

"Education should also be about providing young people with a cultural hinterland.

"They should be able to recognise Roman influences on our language and architecture, they should be able to distinguish different forms of architecture, understand the impact of immigration on England over centuries not decades.

"We owe it to young people to find time in the curriculum to explain major issues of global politics."

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