Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Imperial ideas and ideologies of empire: British imperial history in educational books for KS3 History

Collins, Jane-Marie; Abadia, Lilia


Lilia Abadia


Karel Van Nieuwenhuyse

Joaquim Pires Valentim


The National Curriculum for England has been the subject of endless governmental debate and scrutiny and subject to a frequent policy changes in the past decade. In the case of teaching History at secondary school level, the most recent change to national curriculum was in September 2013. Thus, capturing the changes as well as the impact and influence of such changes is a complex process. Moreover, while the KS3 Programme of Study includes six statutory areas covering major phases in British history, apart from the Holocaust there are no specific historical events that are compulsory. Instead, the requirement of the National Curriculum is to cover broad themes within periods which produce a “coherent and chronological narrative” about British history and British life through an understanding of historical themes and concepts. Presently, then, the British Empire is taught in the National Curriculum for KS3 both directly and indirectly; directly through the statutory study of British Industry and Empire, and indirectly through the study of Church, state and society in Elizabethan England and then Britain, Europe and the Wider world in the twentieth century. With the broad remit in mind, there are, therefore, no set textbooks that are mandatory for use in English secondary schools. Using commercially available textbooks and student study guides, it is possible to establish which topics are most commonly taught at KS3 and the ways in which ideas about ‘empire’ are examined. This study then proposes to examine the main providers of teaching materials for KS3 History under the most recent revisions to the National Curriculum of England (2013), and consider the ways in which representational practices of empire (British and other imperial powers) are ideologically significant through their privileging of specific perspectives about the role(s) of imperial powers and politics in the formation of ideas about nationhood and nationalisms.

Acceptance Date Mar 10, 2016
Online Publication Date Aug 31, 2018
Publication Date May 31, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 6, 2018
Pages 51-70
Series Title International Review of History Education
Series Number 9
Book Title The Colonial Past in History Textbooks: Historical and Social Psychological Perspective
Chapter Number 4
ISBN 978-1-64113-193-3
Keywords Imperialism, British, Colonialism, History, KS3
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Co-authored with Lilia Abadia