Education Secretary Michael Gove (pictured) announced his revised national curriculum earlier this week which includes a module on early Islam.
It also features a module on ancient China and gives history teachers more flexibility. Climate change has also been added to the curriculum.
The Education Secretary made the changes after an early draft of the new curriculum in February was subjected to widespread criticism by teachers.
That earlier draft was also harshly criticized by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which said it is âdeeply disappointedâ that it made no reference to Muslims and Islam. The MBC, which claims to represent more than 500 Islamic organisations, called at that time for "everyone who cares about the education of British hoolchildren" to lobby the Department for Education .
The changes have been made. David Cameron described the changes as a ârevolution in educationâ, but school leaders warned that the new curriculum, to be introduced next year, may still not be fit for the 21st century.
Mr Gove said that officials in his department had spent years examining the curriculums used in places such as Hong Kong, Massachusetts and Singapore while developing the present cirriculum.
Chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques has welcomed the introduction of the history of Islam to UK public schools.
Salim Mulla said it was great' that Education Secretary Michael Gove's new curriculum included the optional module.
Mr Mulla said: âWe need to get a better understanding of all faiths. Now, Muslims are the second biggest minority in this country, so we welcome this change.
âThere is already a good understanding of Christianity taught in schools.Muslims believe in Jesus Christ. They have to in order to be a Muslim.
âBut I don't think a lot of Christians really understand what the Muslim faith is about.â
A spokesman for the Blackburn Diocese Board of Education (DBE) said: âThe Blackburn DBE endorses a National Curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experience of later life, particularly, in a fast changing globalised world.
âAs is well known, the early Islamic civilisations gave much to the world - and we would certainly support the teaching of such an important part of world history.â
The new curriculum will be introduced in 2014, but not at free schools and academies, which set their own curriculums.
Dan Clough, "Lancashire mosque leader welcomes teaching of Islamic history in schools" Lancashire Telegraph July 10, 2013
Rhoda Buchanan, "Gove makes room for Islam and climate change in curriculum" The Times UK July 9, 2013
"Muslim Council attacks Gove's proposed history curriculum" The Guardian UK April 14, 2013
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today