Pupils should learn about local war heroes

Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has called for Welsh schools to do more to engage with local history by learning about local military heroes.
He made the calls in the Senedd this week after sharing the story of former Towyn resident Willian Donaghy, who was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for leadership while severely wounded in the Second World War.
Darren, who also Chairs the Senedd’s Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces and Cadets, raised the matter with the Welsh Government’s Education Minister, saying:
“One aspect of local history that is often overlooked is our local military history. Local heroes in our communities, and their stories, can really help to enthuse our young people and engage them in history in a way that nothing else can.
“I was struck just this week to learn about William Donaghy of Towyn, near Abergele. He saw active service in north Africa and in Italy during World War Two and was awarded with a distinguished conduct medal for his service and leadership when he was severely injured in the Salerno landings in Italy, having served in north Africa with the Desert Rats.
“There are fascinating stories about local people like William across Wales and I think that this is a really effective way to engage our young people with the whole world of history and the treasure of history on their doorsteps. So, what, specifically, is the Welsh Government doing to promote pupil engagement with military history in our communities?”
Responding, the Education Minister said:
“I think the Member makes an important point. I think that the description that he has given can be an important part of that sense of cynefin, which is one of the founding concepts of the curriculum—that sense of belonging to the history, but also to understand the world through the experiences of figures, including those with military experience, in one's local community.
“I think the example that he gives is one of many, many ways in which schools will want to reflect on local figures, both from history and from the current time. It is about history, but it's about more than that, isn't it? It's about local contexts more broadly—geography, religion, values and so on—and I think that is one of the richnesses of our curriculum. Teachers, I'm sure, in his constituency, as in mine, and elsewhere, will be looking for those opportunities to be able to enrich the learning of our young people.”