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April 21, 2015

BBC: Copy of Magna Carta for every UK primary school

The BBC
By Judith Burns, Education reporter
21st April, 2015.
Click here to read the original article.

Every primary school in the UK is to be sent a copy of Magna Carta to help pupils learn how the document forms the basis of many modern freedoms.

The aim is to explain the legacy of Magna Carta, as the 800th anniversary nears of its sealing by King John.

The charter is considered a cornerstone of the British constitution.

This is an “epic narrative that continues to shape our world”, said Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee.

As well as a copy of the document, the schools will receive two young person’s guides to Magna Carta, explaining its significance to current political events.

These are a timeline wall-chart and a tabloid-style newspaper called the Magna Carta Chronicle, which together set out the history of the past 800 years in “the fight for freedom and rights”.

The initiative, led by the Magna Carta Trust and funded by charitable donations to the 800th Anniversary Committee, is part of ongoing celebrations of the document.

Magna Carta was sealed by King John on 15 June 1215, forced by a group of rebellious barons.

It was the first formal document to limit the power of the King, stating that a King had to follow the laws of the land and guaranteeing the rights of individuals.

It laid the foundations of trial by jury and of Parliament.

Sir Robert said the initiative would give young people the chance to learn more about the history and significance of Magna Carta.

“The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK, since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion, to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself,” he said.

“All these, and many other freedoms, are charted in this unique young person’s guide in a highly accessible and visually stunning style which all began when the will of the King was first challenged by 25 barons in the water meadow at Runnymede on 15 June 1215.”

Christopher Lloyd of publishers What on Earth? designed and wrote the guides in collaboration with illustrator Andy Forshaw.

The guides link Magna Carta with modern struggles for freedoms and rights, for example Malala Yousafzai’s campaign for the right of girls across the globe to an education.

Mr Lloyd said the aim had been to connect “the fragment of history of the signing of Magna Carta on a piece of parchment and put it into the context of an 800-year story”.

He said he wanted the timeline to be like the thread of a necklace with historic moments, which saw modern liberties and freedoms gradually developed over 800 years, like beads on the thread.

The pack will be sent out to all the UK’s 21,000 state primary schools later in April.

The publishers have also provided a series of free online lesson plans and activities.

Click here for more information about the Magna Carta Chronicle.

Magna Carta guidebook and timeline donated to 21,000 UK primary schools

Every primary school in Britain is to receive a souvenir copy of Magna Carta along with a time-line wallchart and newspaper chronicle charting 800 years in the fight for freedom and rights.

The bold initiative, funded by charitable donations to the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee, will help teachers and pupils learn about the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta on 15th June 1215 by bad King John.

Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Committee, said this year marks the best opportunity in a century to present young people with an epic narrative that continues to shape our world.

The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story, but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself,” he said.

All these, and many other freedoms, are charted in this unique young person’s guide in a highly accessible and visually stunning style which all began when the will of the King was first challenged by 25 barons in the watermeadow at Runnymede on June 15th, 1215.”

The Magna Carta Chronicle is the official young person’s guide to this year’s 800th anniversary commemorations. Its creator, world history author and educationalist Christopher Lloyd, said the book had been specially designed and illustrated by timeline artist Andy Forshaw to make the 800-year story accessible and exciting for younger people – as well as for teachers, parents and people of all ages.

Few people carry an interconnected narrative of the past around in their heads because history has not been taught in schools this way for several generations. That’s why important stories such as how we have come to enjoy today’s liberties and freedoms can so easily get lost,” he said.

The Magna Carta Chronicle includes more than 45 tabloid newspaper stories so that the events of 800 years read as if they happened yesterday – making them easy and fun for anyone of any age to read.

A two metre long fold-out timeline charts nearly 100 moments from the laws of Hammurabi to the terrible experience of Malala Yousafzai after her attempted assassination by terrorists simply for daring to go to school.

Her story reminds us that the freedom and rights we enjoy to day will still have to be fought for by future generations. We cannot just leave them to the legacy of people in the past. That’s why making these stories accessible to younger people today matters so much,” said Lloyd.

A souvenir facsimile copy of the 1215 edition of Magna Carta, now housed at Salisbury Cathedral, has been reproduced on the back of the Magna Carta Chronicle timeline so that schools can hang up it up on classroom walls. It comes with simple annotations that explain the key clauses in the document that are the foundation stones of liberty and the rule of law throughout many parts of the world today.

A further 50 copies of the Chronicle will be prizes on a social media quiz from 22nd April – follow @magnacarta800th on twitter for more details and to take part.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Copies of the Magna Carta Chronicle will be sent out to the head teachers of all UK primary schools beginning in the last week of April and first week of May, 2015. A selection of curriculum-mapped activities, lesson plans and worksheets that integrate the Magna Carta Chronicle across History, Citizenship, Literacy and Art in Key Stages 2 and 3 are available to download free at www.whatonearthbooks.com/magnacarta.

For press enquiries or for a review copy of the Magna Carta Chronicle please contact Louise Walker on 07882 655416, 01474 815714 or [email protected] . For interview requests, please contact Christopher Lloyd (07760 289589) or Sir Robert Worcester (07974 812723).

About the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee.

The Magna Carta Trust’s 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee is co-ordinating the 800th centenary commemorations of Magna Carta. Its chairman, Sir Robert Worcester, was the founder of MORI (Market & Opinion Research International Ltd). He was Chancellor of the University of Kent from 2007 to 2014. He is also vice president of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, the United Nations Association and is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Kent.

About Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd has written numerous books on world history including the best-selling What on Earth Happened? The Complete Guide to Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day (Bloomsbury 2008) now translated into 15 languages worldwide. In 2010 he established the publishing house What on Earth Publishing, specialists in art of telling stories through timelines, with illustrator Andy Forshaw. They have since created a series of FIVE timeline titles covering Big History, Nature, Sport, Science and Shakespeare in partnership with the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Christopher lectures all over the world in museums, schools and festivals connecting the curriculum together to create a more holistic view of knowledge.

For more details visit www.whatonearthbooks.com or contact [email protected]

Magna Carta makes history with free copy for every primary

The Times Educational Supplement
21st April 2015,
By Helen Ward.
Click here to read the original article.

Primary schools across the UK are to be sent a copy of Magna Carta to help teach pupils about the legacy of the famous historic document during its 800th anniversary year.

Magna Carta, meaning the Great Charter, was a treaty agreed by King John in 1215 in a bid to make peace with a group of rebel barons. It set out the principle that nobody, even the king, was above the law and gave all free men the right to justice and a fair trial. It has been described as a cornerstone of the British constitution.

The Magna Carta Chronicle that will be sent to schools combines a souvenir copy of the charter, a fold-out timeline and more than 45 newspaper stories to allow pupils to read about the events of 800 years ago as if they happened yesterday.

The initiative, led by the Magna Carta Trust, is part of ongoing commemorations. Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the committee, said the initiative was an opportunity for young people to learn about an “epic narrative that continues to shape our world”.

He said: “The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story, but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion, to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself.

“All these, and many other freedoms, are charted in this unique young person’s guide in a highly accessible and visually stunning style which all began when the will of the king was first challenged by 25 barons in the water meadow at Runnymede on 15 June 1215.”

Four copies of the original 1215 charter still exist. Two are held by the British Library, one by Lincoln Cathedral and one in Salisbury Cathedral.

Earlier this year, a 1300 copy of the charter was discovered in the Kent County Council’s archives in Maidstone. It is thought to be worth up to £10 million.

In 2011, former education secretary Michael Gove announced that a copy of the King James Bible would be sent to all schools to mark its 400th anniversary. The scheme was privately funded and the bibles were sent out in 2012.

Click here for more information about The Magna Carta Chronicle.

Magna Carta to Malala: primary schools to receive new ‘freedom’ guide

The Telegraph
By Anita Singh, 21 Apr 2015
Click here to read the original article.

Pupils are to learn how sealing of Magna Carta in 1215 continues to shape the world we live in.

Every primary school in Britain is to receive a souvenir copy of Magna Carta and a guide explaining the links between the historic document and such modern freedoms as the end of apartheid, legalisation of same-sex marriage and the Scottish referendum.

The guide, billed as “a young person’s guide to 800 years in the fight for freedom”, is written in the style of a tabloid newspaper in order to make the history lesson easily accessible.
It explains the legacy of Magna Carta, taking in the US declaration of independence, the abolition of slavery, suffragettes and the Civil Rights movement.

More recent events include the Leveson Inquiry, the Arab Spring, St Andrew’s golf club voting to accept women and Malala Yousef winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Edward Snowden’s leak of classified US intelligence documents will be taught alongside news of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the Church of England’s vote ro ordain women as priests.
The project is being funded through charitable donations to the Magna Carta Trust, which counts the Queen as patron.

The 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta takes place on June 15. The Queen and Duke of Cambridge will attend a commemoration event at the site in Runnymede, Surrey, where the document was sealed.

Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Trust’s 800th Anniversary Committee, said this year represents the best opportunity to explain the events of 1215 to primary school children.

He said: “The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story, but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself.

“Freedoms are being eroded faster than they can be won. That’s why it is vital to take the time to step back and look with wonder at what has been achieved over the last 800 years.”

The copy of Magna Carta is a facsimile of the document kept at Salisbury Cathedral, one of only four original copies.

The guide, called the Magna Carta Chronicle, has been written by Christopher Lloyd, who said: “Few people carry an interconnected narrative of the past around in their heads because history has not been taught in schools this way for several generations.

“That’s why important stories such as how we have come to enjoy today’s liberties and freedoms can so easily get lost.”

The Magna Carta Chronicle is published by What On Earth? priced £8.99. To order your copy call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk

Click here for more information about the Magna Carta Chronicle.

The Magna Carta explained

By Telegraph Reporters and PA
21 Apr 2015
Click here to read the original article.

Every primary school in Britain is to receive a souvenir copy of Magna Carta. Here is a Q&A about the document.

The Magna Carta was granted 800 years ago. So what is it, how did it come about, and what does it do today?

• What is Magna Carta?
Magna Carta is an 800-year-old document containing the idea that no-one is above the law, and it still forms the foundation of many modern ideas and documents today.

• What does Magna Carta mean?
It means “Great Charter” in Latin. In fact the whole document is in Latin.

• When and where was Magna Carta granted?
Magna Carta was first drawn up in 1215, granted by King John on June 15 at Runnymede near the River Thames in Surrey. A different version (the one we draw from today) was reissued by John’s son, Henry III, 10 years later in 1225. Magna Carta was finally enrolled on the statute book (meaning it became part of English law) by Edward I in 1297.

• How many of the original Magna Carta documents survive?
King John sent copies of the first Magna Carta across his kingdom – though we are not certain about the actual number. Today only four survive: one in Lincoln Cathedral, one in Salisbury Cathedral, and two in the British Library.

• Why was Magna Carta first written and granted?
Despite what it stands for today, Magna Carta was not written with lofty ideas of justice and liberty in mind. It was originally meant as a peace treaty between King John (of Robin Hood fame) and his barons, with whom he was at war. The barons had captured London and John found himself in a political mess – he needed a quick get-out solution.

• Did Magna Carta achieve its short-term aims of creating peace?
Not at all – in fact it failed spectacularly. Although John agreed to Magna Carta at first, he quickly became bitter when its terms were forced upon him. He wrote to the Pope to get it annulled. The Pope actually happened to agree with John (for once), saying Magna Carta was “illegal, unjust, harmful to royal rights and shameful to the English people”. He then declared the charter “null and void of all validity for ever”.

Full-scale civil war then broke out between John and his barons. It only ended after John’s death from illness in 1216.

• Is it true that King John never “signed” Magna Carta?
Yes, at least not in the way we think of signing. Back in the Middle Ages kings never signed their name on documents to pass them into law. Instead John used his Great Seal to authenticate the document. This subtlety has confused many people over the years. Most recently the Royal Mint has been criticised for the design on its commemorative 800th anniversary £2 coin, which shows John brandishing the document and a quill.

• Why did John’s son reissue Magna Carta?
Henry III came to the throne aged just nine. A few days into his reign, important men around the young king issued a new version of Magna Carta to try to regain the barons’ support. When Henry reached 18 years old he reissued a greatly-revised version in his own name. This 1225 document was granted explicitly in return for a tax payment by the whole kingdom.

• How much of Magna Carta is relevant today?
The original Magna Carta had 63 clauses. A third of this text was either cut or rewritten for the 1225 version. Today, only three of the original 63 clauses remain on the statute books. Of these three survivors one defends the liberties and rights of the English Church, another confirms the liberties and customs of London and other towns, and the third gives all English subjects the right to justice and a fair trial.

There are some very good reasons the other 60 clauses have been dropped. Many are very specific to the Middle Ages – dealing with property ownership, the workings of the justice system, and taxes with no modern equivalent (“scutage” and “socage” anyone?)

Other clauses that we have dispensed with include a law banning fish weirs on rivers, the dismissal of specific individual royal servants, and the standardisation of weights and measures we do not use any more.

• How important is that clause about justice and a fair trial?
It is incredibly important today, but it was buried deep in the original document and made very little splash in 1215. Part of its success is its adaptability to all sorts of situations throughout the centuries.

If you were wondering what the actual text was, here it is (translated into modern English of course):

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell, to no-one deny or delay right or justice.”

That basically means the law belongs to everyone, not just the powerful. It is the bedrock of our society today.

• When has Magna Carta been used throughout the centuries?
In 1265 – just 40 years after Henry III’s final reissuing of Magna Carta – the relationship between the promises made by the king and the granting of taxation paved the way for the first English Parliament.

In the next century, Parliament interpreted Magna Carta as a right to a fair trial for all subjects.
During the Stuart period, and particularly in the English Civil War, Magna Carta was used to restrain the power of monarchs (at a time when monarchs on the continent were supremely powerful).
There are strong influences from Magna Carta in the American Bill of Rights (written in 1791). To this day there is a 1297 copy in the National Archives in Washington DC.

Even more recently, we can see the basic principles of Magna Carta very clearly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – penned in 1948 just after the Second World War.

When King John stuck his seal on that parchment eight centuries ago, he could not possibly have known the magnitude of what he was doing.

April 18, 2015

Why Magna Carta Matters

By Christopher Lloyd
In the Weekend Telegraph, Saturday 18th April 2015

The story of our 800-year struggle for freedom is more important today than ever.

IT WAS ONLY in August last year that the slightly gruff voice of an elderly American gentleman caught me unprepared on the end of my mobile phone.

I was on my way back from giving a lecture at a school in Northamptonshire. My hands-free was playing up. I could hardly make out the words from the crackles, but I got this gist: “It’s Sir Robert Worcester here – I hear you’re the guy who does timelines…..”

So began what has turned into what feels like the most exhilarating, high-speed partnership in the history of publishing.

In just four months, we have conceived, designed, created, written, illustrated and printed the Magna Carta Chronicle – a Young Person’s Guide to 800 years in the Fight for Freedom. The book is published officially on Tuesday this week.

I vaguely remembered Bob, founder of opinion poll company Mori (now IPSUS Mori), from my days at The Sunday Times as Technology Correspondent. That was 25 years ago – now Bob, 82, still behaves as if he is not yet past his peak. Not by a long shot. I have yet to meet anyone half his age with even half his energy, commitment and attention to detail.

So it was with good cause that last year George Osborne appointed Bob to be chairman of a committee charged with donating £1m of public money to causes to help celebrate this year’s 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta by bad King John.

Like me, you may be wondering how and why such generosity can be justified in times of stringent national austerity?

Having immersed myself in the Magna Carta Chronicle project over the last few months, I am convinced that the answer lies in the power and significance of this narrative for young people. The focus of the 800^th anniversary celebrations should be especially important to anyone teaching school children at KS 2 and 3 and for all parents with kids aged between 6 and 15.

For a good part of the 800 years since King John was surrounded by those rebellious barons at Runnymede, Britain’s national identity has been forged by a roller-coaster story concerning the evolution of what we now call freedom and rights.

It is a heart-wrenching tale that involves the forces of mother nature and chance just as much as the heroes, heroines and villains of traditional history.

The saga hits home hardest when you design a timeline. Soon after John’s humiliation, the broad narrative sweep takes in the appalling desolation of the Black Death, quickly followed by the resulting sumptuary laws designed to keep those pesky peasants who survived in check. Then comes Caxton’s subversive printing press, the Reformation, settlements in the New World, the American Declaration of Independence, the French revolution and tempestuous Simon Bolivar liberating the colonies of South America.

Fast on the heels of his horses comes the abolition of slavery, the Chartists, the opening of primary schools and universal suffrage. Finally, following two devastating world wars, the UN issues its declaration of universal human rights – a ‘Magna Carta for the modern age’, homosexuality is decriminalised, the Berlin Wall falls, woman become priests – no, I mean bishops…

As you can see, it’s a story that affects us all from cradle to grave.

The problem is it’s rarely, if ever, told – at least not as an interconnected narrative like this – to children in British primary schools today.

Ever since the time of Henry VIII us British have been brilliant at preaching our idea of liberties and freedom to other nations and cultures. Exporting our views around the world has become a national speciality, be it on the Mayflower, via the Empire or through the play-by-the-rules mentality of our great global sporting contributions: football, rugby and cricket.

But in our rush to preach, we seem to have forgotten – to the drastic cost of the present younger generation – how to tell the story to ourselves. We are still so used to projecting our narrative onto a global stage that the idea of telling it to our children is ironically alien to us.

We shouldn’t be so surprised that most young people in our multi-cultural society have little idea of the narrative of British values, the very essence of what Theresa May harks on about as being critical to the future cohesion of British society.

Freedom of expression, tolerance of alternative opinions, a lack of discrimination, equal opportunities and respect for diversity – all of these are core to the evolved psyche of our nation formed over 800 years. But they are under extreme threat, not least because we have lost the ability to tell the story of how they were fought and won over generations to young people today.

The fault falls mostly to an education system that has been so chopped up and fragmented by educational experts and politicians that telling any giant sweeping cross-curricular narrative over time has become almost impossible.

The snag is that the evolution of our national story cuts across ALL subject areas – from literature (JS Mill) to politics (The Great Reform Bill) and religion (the Reformation) to Technology (Edward Snowden) and Biology (The Black Death) – at the same time history, drama, debating and reading through non-fiction (literacy) course through it all.

Timetables, bells, different teachers for different subjects – they are all anathema to the big interconnected, cross-curricular picture – with the result that pitching to a young mind the fight for freedoms and liberties over the last 800 years is not especially easy or intuitive for many teachers (and parents). As a result our story of the emergence of our values has become lost.

So the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta celebrations may possibly be the best chance we will have to do this for a generation, if not longer.

When King John sealed that parchment in the summer of 1215 no-one could possibly know what history might make of the event. Now, 800 years later, we do. But how are we to tell the story in an engaging way in an age where young people are everything from reluctant readers to conscientious objectors when it comes to the study of history? And most schools are still in a mindset that’s obsessed with fragmenting knowledge into bite size chunks…

I have three suggestions – all of which we have incorporated in to the new official young person’s guide to Magna Carta – The Magna Carta Chronicle – which is published this Tuesday.

The first is to make the story irresistibly and stunningly visual. Wallbook artist Andy Forshaw has created the most beautiful giant fold-out timeline of about 100 key moments from 1215 to 2015. Let’s stick it on every bedroom and classroom wall!

Second, there is something extraordinarily powerful about telling stories from the past in the style of newspaper reportage, as if they happened yesterday. This makes reading non-fiction fun, engaging and relevant. News is the heartbeat of most young people’s online information fix. When seen in print, stories told in this style have more power than ever.

Finally, we must appeal to the innate sense of curiosity in a young person’s mind. A 50-question multiple-choice quiz is designed to unlock conversation between pupils and teachers, children and parents. The idea is that young people challenge adults, even if only to prove how much more they know than their supposedly wiser elders. All the correct answers are hidden somewhere inside the book, of course. There is joy in the discovery of the right answer. A little shot of dopamine goes a long way to creating a lifelong love of learning.

On Tuesday evening this week we will celebrate – at a launch party in central London – the launch of the Magna Carta Chronicle, made possible thanks to the support of the Magna Carta 800th committee.

Its aim will be to help revive the telling of our national story – one that has helped form our modern identify as a tolerant, multi-cultural nation, respective of diversity. It’s as a result of this narrative that we are a people who reasonably expect others who choose to come and live here to abide by our values, above all else expunging intolerance, discrimination and extremism.

That’s why I can’t think of a more important story that needs to be told to our young people today – the 800 years in the fight for freedom from 1215 to 2015.

And to think that if Bob hadn’t made that crackly telephone call just a few months ago, I may never have realised myself quite how much celebrating Magna Carta matters.

Click here for more information about the Magna Carta Chronicle

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