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England’s school history is in a sorry state. Not only has it become a ‘minority’ subject at GCSE; but even among those who do choose it, too many leave school without a grasp of the sweep of their country’s past. So argue Robert Tombs and his co-authors in Lessons from History: Freedom, Aspiration and the New Curriculum.
The system fails to teach a broad range of British, or for that matter, European, history. The same few topics tend to be repeated over and over again. GCSE history demands too much specialization, with little attention paid to chronology or the context of change over time.
Pupils know little, and understand less, of the background to fundamental concepts. The exam system fails pupils by placing too much emphasis on ‘skills’ over knowledge, and a convoluted and erratic mark scheme often leaves candidates and teachers demoralised.
Magistrates have been at the heart of the justice system for over 600 years, dispensing justice at the local level and binding people to keep the peace. They do their work for free. The arrangement should be seen as a model for a 'big society' and the voluntary service which the Coalition seeks to promote.
Philipp Rother, Ludger Schuknecht and Jürgen Stark
Across the world economies face unprecedented levels of public debt. Moves must be made to balance the books. Most economists agree that fiscal consolidation will, in the long term, be beneficial. It will bring economic growth, helping to restore the fiscal position. But fears remain for the short term on Keynesian grounds: consolidation could prompt an adverse impact on demand and so damage economic recovery.