History teaching has been controversial in recent years - whether children should be taught a chronological outline, whether national history should predominate, whether sources and skills are more significant, and several other questions, have divided opinion both amongst teachers and in the wider public. We found this was not a new phenomenon - in fact, politicians, educators and the public had been voicing a variety of opinions, and lamenting the state of children's historical knowledge throughout the twentieth century. History has never been a dull topic of discussion, even if some of our survey respondents thought it was dull in the classroom!
Besides gathering documentary evidence and oral testimony, it was important to reflect on the controversial issues in the teaching of history in the light of the research. Jenny and Nicola prepared a series of presentations for various conferences and also background papers, data on exams and syllabuses and a series of draft chronological 'chapters' to contribute to the writing of the book by Professor Cannadine.