Global Learning Programme


Global learning and history

The National Curriculum for history includes, in its aims: ‘How Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world and Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world; the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies.’

This fits neatly with one of the key aims of global learning, which is: ‘Knowledge of developing countries, their economies, histories and human geography’.

This may include knowledge of:

Therefore, much of the history curriculum provides a clear context for the current debate on poverty, globalisation and inter-relationships between the countries of the world, and helps pupils understand these issues. Work on the Industrial Revolution and Victorian poverty can provide parallels with countries such as China, India and Brazil that are growing rapidly economically, and understanding the issues faced by the governments and people of those countries. Many of the topics we study as a matter of course, and which may be part of the study of your local history, can help pupils understand and be involved in global learning.

For example, Cromford Mill in Derbyshire may be studied in many classrooms as the site of the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill, which was built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright. However, the mill is also a historic reminder of Britain’s link with the global trading system during the 18th and 19th centuries – through which raw cotton was imported into Britain from its overseas colonies; enslaved people from Africa were transported and sold to become a labour force to pick the cotton; profits from slavery were invested in mills and transport; and finished cotton goods were exported. In this, and other ways, 18th century Britain increased its wealthy by being at the heart of a global trading system.

Additional resources have been provided to give information and examples of how history can support global learning. These are: