Because I was taught history properly by my prep-school teacher Mr Bradshaw, my head is full of easily accessible dates which I know I’ll never forget. Obviously, I know Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415), but I also know one or two more obscure ones like those of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet. This is because of a cunning acronym Brad taught me — a phone number BROM 4689 — which I dare say I remembered mainly because at the time I lived in Bromsgrove.
According to the new history-teaching orthodoxy, of course, dates are an unwelcome imposition on a child’s creative spirit. What matters now is not whether you can remember why, when or by whom great battles were fought, but how well you can empathise with the misery felt by their participants. Not royal or noble participants, obviously, because they’re insufficiently representative of the common man. This is why every Nu Generation history teacher’s favourite war is the Crimean War: because then you get to bring in Mary Seacole.
How do we stop our kids being bored rigid by this turgid PC drivel? (to read more, click here)