April 21, 2015
Magna Carta to Malala: primary schools to receive new ‘freedom’ guide
By Anita Singh, 21 Apr 2015
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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.