Freedom and political rights – teaching Magna Carta in Croydon Schools

‘What medieval historian’s heart did not thrill

to yesterday’s news that every primary school in England

will be sent a copy of Magna Carta, together with

interpretative guides which show English history

(indeed apparently global history) over the last

800 years as “a fight for freedom and rights”? 

– Charles West, a senior lecturer in medieval history at Sheffield University

West outlines some interesting lesson plans designed:

  • to teach children that the concept of political representation and election actually pre-dates Magna Carta.
  • to create a new version of a 10thC teaching role-play text, with updated vocations, to discuss the extent to which political liberty requires progressive economic policies to be meaningful.
  • to turn a 12thC text in which a London working man bursts out into criticism of the clergy, into a classroom game by replacing the word ‘clerics’ with more modern career paths, building in some careers advice to prepare students for the modern globalised “world of work”?
  • to using the Declaration of Abroath (Scotland 1320) as a springboard to discuss the representation of the SNP and the European Union in the pre-election English media, and whether ‘liberty’ is a distinctively English historical theme.
  • to use the speech of the radical preacher John Ball, in 1381, in the heat of the Peasants’ Revolt, to think that policies would John Ball put in his manifesto about  if he were standing for election in May.

For full details see West’s posting on  http://www.historymatters.group.shef.ac.uk/magna-carta-classroom-suggestions.

Will these interesting suggestions be taken up in Croydon Schools?

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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