Tudors out, Middle East in as sixth-form history curriculum is set to change

Sixth-form history students will be taught more about the Middle East as part of a national overhaul of the A-level curriculum, a leading exam body has announced.

OCR, one of the country’s biggest exam’s boards, revealed on Monday that its history courses will soon switch focus from recent British history to a broader range of international topics – spanning at least 200 years.

Pupils will learn about the rise of Islam between 550 and 750AD, as well as developments in the Middle East over the last century leading up to the Arab Spring. This will give less time to studying more traditional history subjects such as the Second World War and t he Tudors.

Mike Goddard, OCR head of history, said: “School history has been criticised, sometimes unfairly, for being too repetitive and for having a 20th century, Western focus. Hitler and the Henrys can dominate.

“Universities tell us they want incoming students to have greater breadth of knowledge.

“It’s vital that schools and colleges have an opportunity to deliver, for example, the history of pre-colonial, non-western civilisations, alongside British history.”

The changes will come into effect in 2015, as part of the government’s wider reforms to national education.

From then, all A-levels will be examined at the end of a two-year period, with most subjects following newly devised curricula in accordance with university guidelines.

Last updated: 11:09pm, May 19 2014