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Queen’s jubilee book for schools to cost £12m

The book will be sent to every primary school pupil next year

The book will be sent to every primary school pupil next year

A free book celebrating “our great nation” that will be sent to every primary school pupil, to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, will cost the government up to £12 million to produce.

As first revealed by Schools Week, the Department for Education wants youngsters to have a free copy of the commemorative book to mark the Queen’s 70th anniversary as monarch next June.

It aims to be a commemorative piece that children will take home and treasure

Announcing more details at the weekend, the department said the books will also teach primary school children about “recent and historical events, inspirational people, landmark innovations and inventions and a selection of our best art, design and culture”.

The book will also look at the Monarch’s role and what the jubilee represents “so primary school children across the country can understand and engage with the celebrations next year, while broadening their education”.

The DfE – which will commission the book – has been quiet on how much it would cost. But a tender published today says a maximum of £12 million has been budgeted.

That is the same amount DfE invested in a scheme to help protect vulnerable children who were at risk of neglect, violence or exploitation during the pandemic.

It is understood more than 4 million books will be produced. The government wants them to be “inclusive” and “patriotic”, plugging into the “spirit” of the London 2012 Olympics.

The tender says the department is “seeking to appoint a suitably experienced single contractor” to produce the book.

It aims to be a “unique commemorative piece that children will take home and treasure” and “focus, not only on the Queen herself, but also on events of the last 70 years throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth”.

The scheme will be funded by the DfE.

A similar scheme by former education secretary Michael Gove to send bibles into schools in 2012 was funded by philanthropists. But its cost was dramatically less, at £370,000.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said of the new project: “For 70 years Her Majesty The Queen has played an instrumental role in the events, people and places that have helped shape the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

“From the hundreds of charities and organisations of which she is patron, to the 14 Prime Ministers who have served during her reign – thousands of children will be able to read about our great nation, its history and future.”

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8 Comments

  1. Peter Endersby

    This is a grotesque waste of public money, children already learn about the monarchy through British values. Schools could and probably will organise a special week leading up to the jubilee celebrating the queen and the values she espouses. This book, which will probably be of poor quality, just cheapens the whole event. Money can be found for schools when it suits.

  2. What a stupid idea during a time when the very children they will give these books to may not have heating or enough food to eat. I suggest they can rip it up and burn it for heat. Why does this country come up with the most stupid wasteful ideas? Kids are not interested in the royal family and after Andrew, they should not be promoted. The Queen has had 70 years of free money isn’t that enough?

  3. Gisela Duncan

    This nationalistic and far right government is only interested in blowing its own trumpet. Probably trying to white wash history and influencing our young with the government’s ideas of our future. When at the same time cost of living is going up, more and more families need to go to food banks. I’m happy to celebrate the queen’s achievements and wish. this government would take out a leaf of her book of honesty, integrity and a good standard in public life!

  4. Michael Valentine

    Sorry could you elaborate on “For 70 years Her Majesty The Queen has played an instrumental role in the events, people and places that have helped shape the United Kingdom and Commonwealth”. I personally haven’t seen her comment on anything or actuallydo anything that can be attributed to monetary or wellbeing of the uk, even the pandemic they couldn’t muster anything (probably because their staff still had to work)

  5. This is absolutely disgusting! I work in a school full of vulnerable children. Many of whom would benefit from better equipment, new uniform, healthier meal options, etc, which their families can’t provide. To think that the DfE is spending money on a brainwashing tool to essentially remind some of the worst off children from the poorest backgrounds that, “Well, you may have lost the lottery of life, but here’s what you could have won: Castles, chefs, estates, jewellery, servents, cars, planes, and millions of pounds in taxpayers money which can be used to protect your paedophile relatives from prison!”

    At least the Tory government is consistent with the way it treats poor and vulnerable people! Nothing but contempt and apathy!

  6. Layla

    I just looked at my son’s copy and notice it was printed in Italy by Lego. So, nice to see the DfE money wasted on this book and patriotic nonsense has not even supported UK industry…Good old Tories!