Exam boards drop Israel-Palestine from syllabus as schools fight shy of conflict

In the UK, where Israel and Palestine is offered as a history option only one school out of 170 opted for it, the Council for the Curriculum said. 

 

n 2014 history teacher Michael Davies took a group of his GCSE and A-level students on a field trip to Israel and Palestine. For the first half of the week they immersed themselves in the story of Israel and the tragedy of the Holocaust; for the second they visited the West Bank and played football with boys in a refugee camp. The trip was transformative for the students: “Their minds were wrenched round,” Davies says. “Suddenly they saw that there are two completely different ways of looking at things. That history is constructed and it’s often constructed with a purpose.”

 

For the students of Lancaster Royal Grammar school their study of the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict has been eye-opening and life-changing. But given trends in exam syllabuses, it’s not an experience many others are likely to share, as the subject quietly slips down the agenda of exam boards.

 

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