Speaker helps to flag up new programmes

Parliament welcomed two schools last week as they announced the launch of two digital education initiatives.

Joined by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, the schools road-tested programmes encouraging children to learn about the UK’s democratic heritage.

The Magna Carta School, in Surrey, tested and trialled “Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament”, a programme that takes school children from key stage 3 and up on a journey with key characters to meet, focusing on the development of parliament and its relationship with Magna Carta between 1215 and 1297.

The other initiative, the 2015 Flag Project, introduces the story of Simon de Montfort’s parliament to pupils in key stage 2.

It focuses on the concept of representation and asks young people to design a flag that represents their local area or community to build a child’s-eye view of the UK for 2015.

Pupils from Pells CE try out the 2015 Flag Project on their iPads
Pupils from Pells CE try out the 2015 Flag Project on their iPads

One school from each constituency was invited to submit a flag for the launch of an online exhibition. More than 450 primary schools took part and Pells CE Primary School from East Sussex represented the schools at the Houses of Parliament.

Jonathan Parsons, artistic lead for the project, said: “Our project has demonstrated not just the wonderful creativity and imagination of all the participants, but also affords a genuinely unique child’s-eye view of the entire UK and it’s variety of local identities.

“From highlighting the natural environment of a constituency to drawing on myths, legends and history or showing a local trade or industry, I have been delighted by the creativity and diversity of the submitted flag designs.”

The Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament programme was developed in partnership with the national archives.

Chief executive and keeper of the national archives, Jeff James, said: “This resource will offer students a unique opportunity
to explore our wonderful medieval collection.

“The significance of Magna Carta, both in the 13th century and beyond, lay in the fundamental concept that kings were not above the law, and in so doing it laid
the foundation for the future development of constitutional government and the rule of law around the world.”

John Bercow said: “Access to and engagement with history can open the door to exciting experiences and learning opportunities that can really help young people to grow.

“The Montfort parliament and Magna Carta anniversaries provide the perfect opportunity to remember the beginning of the UK’s democratic journey.”

Main pic: The Speaker, John Bercow, with pupils from Pells CE Primary and The Magna Carta School


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