. . and so are Gandhi and Hitler. ONE of Britain's greatest political leaders, Sir Winston Churchill, has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching under a radical new secondary school curriculum published yesterday.

Ministers announced reforms to the national curriculum for 11 to 14-year-olds to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility over what they teach.

But Britain's wartime prime minister - along with Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King - has been dropped from the detailed guidance accompanying the curriculum.

Among the few named figures to remain under the new curriculum are William Wilberforce, who will be studied for lessons on the slave trade.

The history of the development of the European Union has also survived as a specified topic for study.

A spokesman for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) said: "The new secondary curriculum does not prescribe to teachers what they must include.

"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."

Tory MP Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill's grandson, said the move was "madness".

The Government said the reforms would give teachers more freedom over their lessons. The new regime will encourage schools to organise their timetables differently and focus on tailoring teaching to the needs of individual children.

The QCA insisted that the radical cuts in prescribed topics did not mark a return to the "trendy" methods of the 1970s.

The QCA, which was asked to draw up the new curriculum by ministers, insisted that traditional topics would still be covered.

In history, 11 to 14-year-olds would still learn about the British Empire, the two World Wars and the Holocaust when the new curriculum came into force in 2008.

And in English, children will still read Shakespeare, learn grammar and be required to spell properly.

But a range of new topics are also being introduced to modernise education for the 21st century.

Teachers said the new curriculum had the potential to give them more freedom to be creative.

The key points to secondary school lessons

ENGLISH: The new list of recommended authors for 11 to 14-year-olds includes contemporary writers such as Douglas Adams and Alan Bennett, 20th century writers including TS Eliot and George Orwell and earlier writers such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Pupils will also have to study "at least one play by Shakespeare".

HISTORY: Schools will no longer be specifically advised to focus on Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini in their lessons on 20th century history.

Specific periods such as the Wars of the Roses have been cut from the notes accompanying the statutory curriculum. Pupils aged 11 to 14 will, however, study broad topics including the First and Second World Wars, the Holocaust, the British Empire and slave trade.

GEOGRAPHY: Topics which should be covered by 11 to 14-year-olds include climate change and understanding cultural diversity.

MATHS: Children will cover key concepts including algebra, linear equations, proportions and ratios.

SCIENCE: Children should learn about the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise, as well as the effects of drugs.

MODERN LANGUAGES: Pupils will be able to study traditional subjects such as French or German, as well as Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic and Urdu.