~from ABC News (Australia) (has the world gone totally insane???)
Britain's World War II prime minister Winston Churchill has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching in English secondary schools, a government agency says.
The radical overhaul of the school curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds is designed to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility in the subjects they teach, the Government said.
But although Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Joseph Stalin and Martin Luther King have also been dropped from the detailed guidance accompanying the curriculum, Sir Winston's exclusion is likely to leave traditionalists aghast.
A spokesman for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said the new curriculum, to be taught from September 2008, does not prescribe to teachers what they must include.
But he added: "Teachers know that they need to mention these pivotal figures. They don't need to be instructed by law to mention them in every history class.
"Of course, good teachers will be teaching the history of Churchill as part of the history of Britain. The two are indivisible."
Sir Winston's grandson Nicholas Soames, also a Conservative Member of Parliament, described the move as "madness."
"It is absurd. I expect he wasn't New Labour enough for them ... this is a Government that is very careless of British history and always has been.
"The teaching of history is incredibly important," he added.
"If you're surprised that people do not seem to care that much about the country in which they live, the reason is that they don't know much about it."
The History Curriculum Association said it was "appalled" by the move, saying the new curriculum would "promote ignorance" and was pandering to a politically-correct agenda.
The Conservatives' schools spokesman Michael Gove added: "Winston Churchill is the towering figure of 20th century British history.
"His fight against fascism was Britain's finest hour. Our national story can't be told without Churchill at the centre."
Schools Secretary Ed Balls defended the move, saying a slimmed-down curriculum was overdue and traditional elements in all subjects had been protected.
Among the few named figures that stay in the new history curriculum are William Wilberforce, the British law maker who was instrumental in efforts to abolish the slave trade.
Sir Winston, who was British prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955, was famous for his defiance to the Nazis, stirring oratory and trademark cigar and "V for victory" sign.
In 2002, a BBC poll with more than one million votes saw him voted the Greatest Briton of all time.