Scots studies 'not brainwashing', says SNP minister

pupil writing class Ministers want to include Scottish history in a number of subject areas

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The SNP schools minister has dismissed claims the government is trying to brainwash children with a new Scottish studies course.

Alasdair Allan, who has raised concern Scots history is being neglected in schools, said the plans were supported by parents and teachers.

Labour, which previously expressed strong concern over the move, has given it a cautious welcome.

But the Tories questioned whether such a course was needed.

Ministers have been taking views from a range of experts on Scottish studies, an SNP election manifesto pledge, which would focus on Scotland's historical, literary, linguistic and cultural heritage.

The government is keen to look at Scots history in particular, but would also like to see more Scottish literature taught in schools, as well as Scots and Gaelic languages.

Ministers have insisted pupils would not be required to take up a course like Scottish studies, but they want to ensure that Scots history gets woven into a range of subject areas.

Start Quote

I thought it was very plain to most observers that Scottish studies in their widest sense were already very embedded in the Scottish curriculum ”

End Quote Liz Smith Tory education spokeswoman

During a debate at Holyrood, Mr Allan responded to previous comments by Labour education spokesman Ken Macintosh, who told the BBC: "My suspicion is that this is just the SNP trying to brainwash children into their political view."

The schools minister said: "All young people deserve the opportunity to learn about their own country - and nowhere else but here would this be questioned.

"Those who still do may perhaps wish to consider taking a deep breath, turning away from their own constitutional obsessions for one moment and seeing that Scottish studies is healthy, normal, supported by people across the political spectrum and across the world of education.

"And it is also supported by parents."

Labour's Claire Baker said, "maybe we've all made unfortunate comments in the lead-up to this debate".

But she added that Mr Allan had wrongly claimed Scots teachers were failing to offer basic information about their own country.

She said of the proposal: "I feel it needs to move from being an attractive, even emotive hearts-and-minds policy in a party political manifesto to a fully-developed, robust addition to the curriculum which would give value to the school experience and advantage to people if it is to succeed."

Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith said she was "confused" over the Scottish studies plan.

She added: "I thought it was very plain to most observers that Scottish studies in their widest sense were already very embedded in the Scottish curriculum and that they will be very much enhanced by the curriculum for excellence in all schools.

"Within all the research that I can find, there seems to be a wealth of evidence which tells us there is already considerable and good-quality coverage for Scottish literature, language, politics, culture and history."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    I would like to see History whether Scottish or otherwise, including more local detail & viewed through the eyes of "ordinary folk" rather than just concentrating on major events all the time. It may not be as dramatic but could be a lot more interesting. I don't know how possible this would be as it is probably more folklore than written history. How much do you know about your towns history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    I don't see the fuss. The Scotland Government has suggested the Scottish Education system might include an optional subject dealing with Scottish History. General History will still be taught as a mandatory subject and will still be available as an option from 3rd year forward as an exam subject. As I've already said - why the fuss.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Scottish studies a great idea but it should not just be the usual narrow topic of history I t should include topics on the geography,people and economy of our country.We must prepare young people to look towards the future , and be able to make decisions about Scotland's future.You would think politicians should realise this more than anyone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    I enjoyed A History Of Scotland presented by Neil Oliver & learned a lot about the history of the country in which I was born. He didn't glamorise it in any way, in fact quite the opposite revealing a pretty bloody & often treacherous past. This was probably not uncommon in these times in most countries.

    Good idea as long as they keep it real.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Great idea. One of the best ways to understand your cultural identity is to learn about the history of your own country. At school we were lucky enough to study some Scottish history as well as ancient history. A Scot who doesn't know about Culloden, Bannockburn, the Jacobites etc is as historically bereft as an Englishman who doesn't know about Trafalgar, Agincourt, or Cromwell.


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