English Heritage are starting a free school bus scheme. They’ll provide up to £4 per pupil towards travel to many of their properties. It’s a great idea. However, from our point of view there’s one drawback – the list of eligible sites includes only about half a dozen prehistoric ones. Sadly, that’s consistent with how things are on the National curriculum and exactly nine years ago our colleague Tombo made a compelling plea for change in his article Reclaiming Prehistory.
He pointed out that at least three million years of ‘prehistory’ is skimmed over in only a handful of pages at the beginning of our history books and the space on any school timetable devoted to the study of pre-literate times is as nothing when compared to that spent teaching the written history of the Common Era. As Tristram Hunt has just asked in the Guardian – “How much information about Anne Boleyn can modern Britain really cope with?”
Here’s a small suggestion. Maybe EH could still help with travel costs to medieval priories and stately homes but make the subsidy conditional upon brief stops at one or two little-known prehistoric sites on the way?