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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition!

Whether his colleagues are there or not, we can always look to South Wales Central Tory AM, David Melding, for a bit or erudition in the chamber. In concentrating on my own question earlier I had missed the thrust of David's contribution on the order paper. This is a shame as I would have liked to have asked a supplementary. Nevertheless, the Minister handled it admirably:

David Melding: Will the Minister make a statement on the place of the reformation on the history syllabus for secondary schools? OAQ0241(ELL)

Jane Davidson: The national curriculum in Wales requires all pupils in the first three years of secondary education to be taught about the major political and religious changes, including the reformation, which shaped the history of Wales and Britain from 1500 to 1760. It is for schools to determine how that requirement is met.

David Melding: I think that one of the principal reasons why I am a Conservative is that I have never really got over the shock of the reformation after being taught about it at school. [Laughter.] Do you agree that it is essential that all children at some point should be taught about the significance of this event, and that, if this does not happen, it is rather like the children of ancient Greece or Rome not knowing anything about the significance of the battle of Thermopylae?

Jane Davidson: It is true to say that the reformation was a cataclysmic event in early modern Europe. Although Protestantism originally emerged as a critique of medieval Catholicism, for the two centuries subsequent to the beginning of the reformation, it generated a different map of Europe for the future. It is important that people understand that and the pressures that the debate between Catholicism and the range of Protestantism that came forward places on the modern day.

I studied the reformation in detail, both for A-level and my degree. I think it is true to say that what I learned helped to form the basis of my liberalism. It is funny how an event or movement can affect people in different ways.
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