More than 150 comprehensives failed to enter a single pupil in GCSE history exams last year amid fears the subject is becoming limited to private and grammar schools. In Knowsley, a Merseyside local authority, just 11 out of 2,000 pupils took A-levels in the subject, with only four passing their exams. The figures in a report published today suggest that pupils in areas like Knowsley are 46 times less likely to gain A-level history than more affluent places like Cambridge, where 665 out of 6,038 candidates sat the exam, 557 of whom passed. Ministers are increasingly concerned about the pupils\' level of historical knowledge when they leave school, with a recent study showing half of English 18 to 24 year olds do not know Nelson masterminded the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. The report was produced by Chris Skidmore, a Conservative MP on the Commons All-Party Group on History. It shows that fewer than 30 per cent of 16 year old state school pupils took GCSE History exams last year, while the figures in grammar and private schools were 55 and 48 per cent respectively. In more than half of all state secondary schools, fewer than a quarter of eligible pupils take the exam, the report said. Mr Skidmore will argue tomorrow that history should be made compulsory until the age of 16, with pupils no longer having the option of dropping it at the end of Key Stage Three when they are 14. He said: \"These figures reveal that the study of history in schools beyond 14 is at an all-time low. \"Not only is an educational divide opening up between comprehensives and the independent and selective sector, there are now swathes of the country where history is becoming a forgotten subject. \"There has never been a more compelling moment to consider making history a compulsory subject to 16 in order to tackle this.\" It comes as an independent review of the national curriculum publishes evidence of how far standards in England have fallen behind other countries. Ministers are planning an overhaul of educational goals that will place British schools among the most rigorous in the world and establish a new \"gold standard\". This could include children being required to learn their times tables by the age of nine rather than 11, and study the work of Homer, Sophocles and Shakespeare alongside staples like John Steinbeck. The final conclusions of the review had been expected in the new year but were delayed by 12 months to ensure the new curriculum compares with the best in the world.