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A step too far?

(51 Posts)
Missfoodlove Mon 22-Feb-21 13:27:35

This article is headlining in our local paper today.
I am appalled.
It is brainwashing.
Opinions please.

www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjhmtPQy_3uAhWLiVwKHbpTDc4QxfQBMAJ6BAgHEAg&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hulldailymail.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fhull-east-yorkshire-news%2Fhowden-school-ditches-raleigh-drake-5030711&usg=AOvVaw16zjX2282ID8YJJ4AKCi-U

TerriBull Mon 22-Feb-21 18:22:48

Janeainsworth I think you have made some very good points in your post, I remember being in what would now be year 6, top juniors, and our class being taken to Portsmouth to go on HMS Victory and getting a real sense of what those men went through. I remember feeling it must have been quite claustrophobic having to live on such a vessel.

Having said that, I can see why someone such as Marcus Rashford will resonate with school children, he is an admirable young man.

As you quite rightly say it's a question of balance.

BlueBelle Mon 22-Feb-21 18:23:22

I was NEVER taught any of the negative sides of any of our ancient ‘heroes’ I ve only leant along the way in my adult life Were you ?

eazybee Mon 22-Feb-21 18:39:35

If the pupils know nothing of Ralegh, Drake and Nelson that is the fault of the school.
All three are admirable role models, having 'got things done ' in their day, and all displaying immense courage in adversity; Nelson in particular, having risen from a humble background entirely by his own efforts, and overcome what nowadays would be classed as disabilities.

NellG Mon 22-Feb-21 18:47:44

Teach the kids about all of these people, ancient and modern. Name the school houses after local landmarks or areas, or trees, or any flipping thing that doesn't muddy the waters and cause controversy.

There, fixed it. wink

Maggiemaybe Mon 22-Feb-21 19:06:27

As others have said, singling out young people such as Rashford and Yousafzai in this way is handing them a poisoned chalice they might not be happy to accept. Give the media a couple of years and they'll be sniffing out reasons to knock them off the pedestals they're now being placed upon, just because. This is way too much pressure for any young person, imho, and in fact it'd be hard to find a role model of any generation who is wholly beyond reproach.

Yes, perhaps the school should stick to naming their houses after rivers....

Hetty58 Mon 22-Feb-21 19:17:23

Missfoodlove, I think it's much better to have relevant, modern house names - rather than those associated with slave trading - so I really can't see what you object to.

welbeck Mon 22-Feb-21 19:29:06

Redhead56, that's an argumentum ad absurdum.
no need to pull down buildings. how about simply rename them, as in Bristol with the concert hall.
i first heard about that a few years ago on a review programme on radio, as some performers were refusing to appear there, to have their name on the same fly sheet as the venue's then name.
i think it's good it now has an acceptable wholesome name.

welbeck Mon 22-Feb-21 19:33:48

houses are not necessary at all in non-boarding schools.
and agree with ?Bluebelle, who said that we were never taught anything negative about empire-builders of the past.
so all these movements recently have been quite educational.

janeainsworth Mon 22-Feb-21 19:47:56

Thanks Terribull.
I sometimes wonder if teachers realise quite what an impact they have on young minds and how they can broaden horizons.

The primary school I went to was in a very ordinary part of Stockport. When I was 8, our teacher Miss Crossley took a group of us, on two public service buses, to the Palace Theatre in Manchester to see the Nutcracker.
It was something my parents would never have done and I was entranced. It opened my eyes not only to ballet but classical music as well.

Ilovecheese Mon 22-Feb-21 20:32:48

eazybee

If the pupils know nothing of Ralegh, Drake and Nelson that is the fault of the school.
All three are admirable role models, having 'got things done ' in their day, and all displaying immense courage in adversity; Nelson in particular, having risen from a humble background entirely by his own efforts, and overcome what nowadays would be classed as disabilities.

It's not really the fault of the school though, they have to teach whatever is in the national curriculum. besides that there would never be time in the whole of a child's education to teach a potted biography of every single notable figure in the history of out Nations.
History teaching is about more than stories, interesting as they are. it is about learning about the past and from the past, to hopefully improve the future.

Not sure about Raleigh as an admirable role model.

Doodledog Mon 22-Feb-21 21:02:25

Is this about pulling down statues or rewriting history, though?

Naming school houses after young people who are admired is not the same at all.

There is nothing to stop them having a new vote every few years - are any flats or roads named after Nelson Mandela or Lech Walesa nowadays?

rubysong Mon 22-Feb-21 21:46:50

I was in Wilberforce house at school. He lived a long time ago but seems more relevant than ever now. (Also I recently found I have Wilberforce family in my ancestors.)

GagaJo Mon 22-Feb-21 21:53:27

There is a lot more to history than just the dead, white men version, that I learned at school.

suziewoozie Mon 22-Feb-21 23:43:38

eazybee

If the pupils know nothing of Ralegh, Drake and Nelson that is the fault of the school.
All three are admirable role models, having 'got things done ' in their day, and all displaying immense courage in adversity; Nelson in particular, having risen from a humble background entirely by his own efforts, and overcome what nowadays would be classed as disabilities.

That’s the problem with ‘history’. I wouldn’t detract from Nelson’s achievements but he was born into a moderately prosperous family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, a high ranking naval officer according to my sources. History is probably one of the most contentious subjects to teach and certainly was taught very uncritically for decades.

suziewoozie Mon 22-Feb-21 23:44:04

GagaJo

There is a lot more to history than just the dead, white men version, that I learned at school.

Quite

CanadianGran Tue 23-Feb-21 03:08:51

We have a lot of calls for name changing here, often to Indigenous/First Nations names. When cities were growing in late 19th and early 20th centuries, streets, buildings and physical landmarks were often named after colonial heroes of the day. There is an emphasis now on 'decolonizing' place names now. Some are understandable, others some find harder. For instance, what was once named in 1787 as Queen Charlotte Islands was re-named to Haida Gwaii in 2010.

I searched "Raleigh' in Canada place names and got 17 hits. These are rivers, glaciers mountains etc, and do not include buildings, schools or streets. He never even set foot on North America!

Not everything needs to be static, and it does us all good to have a re-look at some history to see the good and bad. I do feel badly when some statues are pulled down, though. Perhaps an information plaque erected, so people can make up their minds on a past that was acceptable at the time, but not when people were enlightened.

nanna8 Tue 23-Feb-21 03:54:37

I agree with the information plaques, too. I am sure in the future someone will dig up some dirt about our modern day heroes. No one is perfect and these people did things we would regard as horrific now but they probably didn't give a second thought to. Different times, different values. Churchill was no saint, many here detest him because of the first world war. Not sure about Thatcher, either.

Kalu Tue 23-Feb-21 08:27:43

Our school house names were named after Glens/Lochs. Easy to relate to.

Doodledog. Glasgow was the first to offer Mandela the Freedom of the City in 1981 and in 1986 changed a street name in the city centre to Nelson Mandela Place.

suziewoozie Tue 23-Feb-21 09:38:24

I find it hard to believe that everyone on here really believes that statues and other memorials should never be removed, taken down or changed as our knowledge grows. Perhaps the best known recent example before Colston in the UK was Jimmy Savile. A statue was taken down, as was his headstone and memorial plaques. Streets, a foot path, buildings were all renamed.

As for Colston, the full context is rarely reported. The statue was erected in 1895, 170 years after his death and almost a century after the first legislative attempts to abolish slavery. When his statue went up, slavery was fully illegal and the source of his wealth well known. Concern really grew from the 1990s and there was eventually the possibility of rewording the plaque on the statue. However this did not happen.

If we go outside the UK, I’m sure we all remember the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein amidst massive celebrations,

Further back in the 1950s, Destalinisation meant statues and monuments disappeared overnight and place and building names changed

More recently has been the controversy over Franco and the eventual moving of his body from the Valley of the Fallen

Finally, in 2018 I visited the Baltic States that had suffered so cruelly under both Nazi and Soviet occupation until recently. It was common to see statues of. their former oppressors had been moved and lumped together in a field - in one case near the many graves of some of their victims to make a point. Obviously street names, buildings etc had all been renamed.

So I’m just making the point that our past and the people in it are constantly revisited and how we mark them is reevaluated. There really is no absolutist position that says for example all statues ( and other memorials) should go or should stay is there? Like just about everything to do with history, it’s complicated

Peasblossom Tue 23-Feb-21 09:50:19

When I lived in Bedford all the Primary schools were called after famous people. Raleigh, Drake, Shackleton, Amy Johnson, irritatingly Edith Cavell pronounced wrongly.

The one that got my goat was Margaret Beaufort. 😡

I think some of them have been renamed. Anybody from Bedford here?

suziewoozie Tue 23-Feb-21 09:55:04

I read today tbat a Welsh council has ( very sensibly imo) said it will no longer names streets etc after people.

Alegrias1 Tue 23-Feb-21 10:40:56

Our school houses were named for local families who had contributed to the civic life of the town - donated public buildings etc. Many years after leaving school I discovered through my family history research that one of the houses had been named after someone my ancestor had worked for, as a housemaid. He'd taken advantage of her and she had a child out of wedlock and died of alcoholism.

Sorry, that took a dark turn smile. Anyway, you never know....

Doodledog Tue 23-Feb-21 11:25:22

Kalu

Our school house names were named after Glens/Lochs. Easy to relate to.

Doodledog. Glasgow was the first to offer Mandela the Freedom of the City in 1981 and in 1986 changed a street name in the city centre to Nelson Mandela Place.

Well yes. But it is not likely that in 2021 streets would be named after him. Which is my point.

Actually, it's not a particularly good example, as it would be difficult to argue against NM being a hero. But what I meant was that people are often in the news for relatively short periods (eg Lech Walesa, who was on every news broadcast at one time) and many see them as heroes, but they don't have the longevity of, say, Shakespeare.

We could argue about why some people are seen as heroes in perpetuity, and others aren't (is it intrinsic heroism or just that history syllabuses teach about some and not others?) but as regards the school, surely the fact that the children are voting, so learning about and considering what makes a hero is a good thing?

And I still don't know what any of this has to do with erasing history or tearing down statues.

NellG Tue 23-Feb-21 11:35:59

suziewoozie

I find it hard to believe that everyone on here really believes that statues and other memorials should never be removed, taken down or changed as our knowledge grows. Perhaps the best known recent example before Colston in the UK was Jimmy Savile. A statue was taken down, as was his headstone and memorial plaques. Streets, a foot path, buildings were all renamed.

As for Colston, the full context is rarely reported. The statue was erected in 1895, 170 years after his death and almost a century after the first legislative attempts to abolish slavery. When his statue went up, slavery was fully illegal and the source of his wealth well known. Concern really grew from the 1990s and there was eventually the possibility of rewording the plaque on the statue. However this did not happen.

If we go outside the UK, I’m sure we all remember the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein amidst massive celebrations,

Further back in the 1950s, Destalinisation meant statues and monuments disappeared overnight and place and building names changed

More recently has been the controversy over Franco and the eventual moving of his body from the Valley of the Fallen

Finally, in 2018 I visited the Baltic States that had suffered so cruelly under both Nazi and Soviet occupation until recently. It was common to see statues of. their former oppressors had been moved and lumped together in a field - in one case near the many graves of some of their victims to make a point. Obviously street names, buildings etc had all been renamed.

So I’m just making the point that our past and the people in it are constantly revisited and how we mark them is reevaluated. There really is no absolutist position that says for example all statues ( and other memorials) should go or should stay is there? Like just about everything to do with history, it’s complicated

I want to say that I totally agree, because I do - but I also don't want you to faint. wink

suziewoozie Tue 23-Feb-21 13:20:57

Nell I’m not surprised you agreed with me as I don’t see you as someone who would disagree with a poster on the basis of past disagreements in particular areas. Re this thread and the general issue of ‘history’ I think the level of public discourse everywhere on this as been very much of a poorly informed unthought through nature . I think what Oliver Dowden is proposing is frankly chilling