It was quite possibly the greatest archaeological discovery ever found as the remains of Richard III were discovered underneath a car park in Leicester. Now the incredible story gets the Hollywood treatment with producers revealing that "The Lost King" will hit UK cinemas this October.
The film tells the remarkable true story of how one 'ordinary' woman overcame every obstacle to track down the final resting place of Richard III and give him an honourable burial. The Lost King is the life-affirming true story of a woman who refused to be ignored by the experts and took on the countries most eminent historians, forcing them to think again about one the most controversial kings in English history.
Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winning actress Sally Hawkins, stars as Philippa Langley whose obsession to discover Richard III led her and her team to discover the remains of the fallen King following his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth to Henry Tudor in 1485. Steve Coogan will star alongside Hawkins as her husband John Langley with Harry Lloyd portraying Richard III.
The creative team behind Philomena reunite to bring The Lost King to life as Stephen Frears (Director) and reunites with Coogan and Jeff Pope (Writers).
Actor, Writer and Producer Steve Coogan said: "It's been wonderful to reunite with Stephen and Jeff to bring this extraordinary story to cinemas. Philippa Langley's passion, hard work and determination literally changed history, and we all felt it was important that her and Richard III's story was told".
MAJOR 10-YEAR RESTORATION PROJECT/NEW IMPORTANT HERITAGE DESTINATION/VIBRANT CENTRE FOR LEARNING/FAMILY ACTIVITIES
On Friday 27th May, Hay Castle will open its doors to the public for the first time in its 900-year history, following a major 10-year restoration and regeneration project. Situated in the small town of Hay-on-Wye in Powys, best known for its leading annual literature and arts festival, Hay Castle is one of the great medieval defence structures on the border of England and Wales still standing. Thanks to over £5million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and £2m match funding from various trusts and individual donors, Wales now has an important heritage destination, a vibrant new centre for learning and the arts, and a space for the community to come together.
Following the restoration works, Hay Castle now boasts a stunning new atrium, designed to complement the existing stonework, as a striking venue for exhibitions of all kinds. The castle buildings and the grounds are perfectly suited for musical and dramatic performances, workshops, performing arts, and cultural events.
From 27th May to 31st August 2022, the castle will host the inaugural Portraits of Writers exhibition in its specially-developed gallery space on the second floor. Developed in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, Portraits of Writers forms part of the National Skills Sharing Partnership Programme, a collaborative project which sees the National Portrait Gallery partner with colleagues across the UK to share its Collection while it undergoes its own major transformation. The display, selected from the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery by guest curator, author and journalist Dylan Jones OBE, brings together a range of fourteen portraits of celebrated British individuals who identify as writers. It includes pictures of Tracey Emin, Riz Ahmed, Bernardine Evaristo and Salman Rushdie, and is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund.
Andrew White, Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales, said: “Hay Castle has a rich 900-year history, during which time it has been burnt down; rebuilt and attacked by Owain Glyndŵr. Now, thanks to National Lottery players these extensive renovations have taken place and now the future of Hay Castle has been secured for generations and potentially centuries to come.”
The opening coincides with the first weekend of this year’s Hay Festival and a new collaboration between the castle, the festival and Shakespeare’s Globe brings nine performances of Julius Caesar to a specially commissioned open-air theatre in the grounds. The travelling company of actors, will bring to life Shakespeare’s political thriller with a stripped back production made fresh for our world today. Attendees can enjoy a delicious picnic box from the Hay Castle Café, supplied by local Herefordshire firm Epicure Events, whilst watching the performance.
Visitors will now be able discover the many chapters of this iconic building, and can hear stories about the castle’s history using a smart phone or by scanning a QR code. There will also be tables with iPads where families can see historic images of the castle, watch animation and engage with tales from the past. The Clore Learning Space on the first floor will provide an important educational venue for visitors of all ages: a place for inspiring adult workshops and also for school visits where pupils can interact with a wide range of activities including designing a shield, building blocks to construct Hay Castle and a treasure trail. There will also be ten medieval costumes - thirty items of clothing sewn by local volunteers - for kids to dress up in. On the landing outside, a working 150-year-old Columbian letterpress will be on display, with volunteers on hand to help visitors have a go.
Executive Director of Hay Castle, Tom True, said: “Our aim is to reinvent the idea of what a castle should be in the 21st Century. Once a symbol of control and destruction inhabited by few, Hay Castle is now a beacon of openness and creativity for everyone. At the heart of the town, surrounded by our beautiful countryside, we will celebrate all that makes Hay special, whether that is storytelling, independent-thinking, or the heritage of our rural borderlands.”
In the Tower Cellar, visitors will be able to see a long-forgotten Medieval arch, or gateway, that was only revealed during excavation in 2018. There they will also be a chance to view a 3-minute animated history of the castle projected onto the tower wall.
The Richard Booth Collection - established as a tribute to former owner of the castle, and self-declared King of Hay, Richard Booth - can be found in the second floor Reading Room and Archive and will display his crown, sceptre and robe, the original flag of independence, his desk and chair from his study, bookshelves and books from his home, and a stained glass of Richard as King.
At the top of the castle, from the Tower Viewing Platform, visitors will be treated to stunning views of the Wye Valley and border landscapes, and will be greeted by a stunning Wales-England sign cut from bronze sheet, plus a large bronze resin relief sculpture in the shape of an unfolded map.
In the Dining Room, freshly made and locally sourced food and drinks will be available in the Hay Castle Café, whilst an eclectic collection of books, cards and gifts will be on sale in the King of Hay Bookshop. On exiting the castle, families will be able to visit the Hay Castle Shops along the Castle Cobbles, and browse for hidden gems under the watchful gaze of a bronze sculpture of Richard Booth - created by local artist Penny Chantler - in the Honesty Bookshop.
Guided tours will take place throughout the day and a lift will allow access to all. Entrance will be free but a small charge will be made for access to the main exhibitions, and Hay Castle will rely on donations from members of the public for its upkeep and maintenance.
You can find out more information about the castle on the newly-launched website www.haycastletrust.org and follow all the news on Twitter @HayCastle, on Instagram @HayCastleTrust and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/haycastle
Historians from around the world are banding together in solidarity to raise funds for Ukraine with a unique 24-hour livestream event – History For Ukraine.
A host of famous faces will be speaking during the event, including Prof. Suzannah Lipscomb, Dr Fern Riddell, Prof. Kate Williams, Dr Janina Ramirez, and Earl Charles Spencer. They will be joined by professional historians and genealogists from around the world to stage a programme of informative talks and discussions on a huge variety of topics.
The event is supported by the National Archives, the Royal Historical Society, the Family History Federation, and the Society of Genealogists, along with over 200 volunteers and local history groups.
History For Ukraine was the idea of genealogist Natalie Pithers, who describes the event as “a combination of Live Aid and Red Nose Day, but for history”. Natalie added: “The people of Ukraine can't afford for us to wait! They need this help right now, and this unique event provides the history community with an opportunity to come together and help in the best way they can”.
Attendees will be asked to make donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal via a special JustGiving page.
The event will take place on Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th March 2022.
The livestream will be broadcast online via social media platforms. More information about the event is available at https://historyforukraine.co/ and on Twitter @History4Ukraine.
The largest celebration of history in the UK is set to return this summer! The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival will run from 20-26th June 2022
Regarded as an important part of the summer festivals calendar, The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is set to return from 20-26 th June this summer and promises to be more exciting and interactive than ever before. After a slightly shortened version in 2021, this year it will be back to seven days, packed full of historical entertainment, inspiring discussions, fun for all the family and featuring the very best historians in the land. Also back for 2022 is the Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools, which will run for two days and will offer a curriculum-based programme of events designed to encourage pupils to learn about history through a series of immersive activities and engaging talks.
Taking place at its stunning venue in Broad Chalke, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, this year’s festival will build on some of the hugely popular open-air events introduced last summer. Visitors will be able to listen to world-class speakers, and to watch eye- catching demonstrations given by knowledgeable living historians, whilst sitting on the surrounding hills savouring delicious historic fast food. Household names like acclaimed travel writer Colin Thubron will take to the stage in one of the big speaker
tents, whilst children experience the thrill of driving the 1930s dodgems or riding on the big wheel at the vintage fairground.
A new Speaker’s Corner tent, where visitors of all ages can listen to shorter but highly informative talks in a more informal atmosphere, is being introduced for the first time this festival. Much-loved BBC broadcaster Justin Webb and former Home Secretary Alan Johnson will be discussing their experience of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, while festival favourite David Owen will return to give a topical talk about two hundred years of British-Russian relations. There will be more living activities than ever before, highlights including a spectacular Restoration Pageant on both the Saturday and Sunday, traditional crafts, farming and the role of women
during the Second World War.
Festival Chair, James Holland, said: “There really is going to be an incredible range of history on offer this year. Our talks and discussions have traditionally been the backbone of the festival and, once again, we have among the very best historians around coming to speak. But more than ever we are offering a much wider programme that includes lots of live music, a reconstructed Iron Age round-house, vintage funfair and some truly stunning and original living history displays, from Restoration-era horse racing to a forensic reconstruction of how Richard III lost his life at Bosworth. There will be so much on offer for children and families visiting
together and I really do think this is our very best programme ever.”
The amazing line-up of speakers already confirmed at this year’s Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival includes Helena Merriman sharing the incredible story of Tunnel 29, a true story of an extraordinary escape beneath the Berlin Wall in 1962, the bestselling historian Andrew Roberts presenting his most recent book about George III, the BBC World Service’s Lipika Pelham discussing an alternative history of identity from the Middle Ages to the present day, Simon Jenkins on Europe’s 100 best cathedrals, and Sarah Churchwell talking about the history and legacy of the epic novel Gone with the Wind.
The full programme, and more detailed information about what’s in store this year, will be unveiled in due course. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 3rd May.
80 fascinating talks, given by incredible historians and entitled #ChalkeTalk, can now be heard on the Chalke Valley History Festival podcast. These talks have been taken from over ten years of festival appearances.
The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival will take place at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DP. For more details about the Festival, please visit www.cvhf.org.uk Follow all the news on Twitter at
@CVHISTORYFEST and on Facebook and Instagram.
Poster Exhibition 8 March - 9 May 2022
AntikBar, the original vintage poster specialist, will be holding an exhibition focusing on the role of women during World War Two featuring posters issued by both Allied and Axis powers, in particular the UK, USA, USSR and some Nazi-occupied countries. Fighting On All Fronts: Women At War will be held at their gallery in Chelsea from International Women’s Day to Victory Day (8 March to 9 May).
Labour shortages on the home front during WWII led to dramatic changes to the role of women in society. Jobs in factories, agriculture, nursing and other vital military and civilian industries that were previously seen as occupations mainly for men were now opened up to women. Posters played a big part in the publicity campaigns, using patriotic appeal to encourage women to help win the war and secure victory by joining the workforce.
This exhibition will show how poster design and visual messaging varied in the different countries depending on the impact of war on the population and the roles of women in the conflict. Although they replaced men in the war production in all countries, women’s day-to-day realities were very different.
One of the first countries to declare war on Nazi Germany, Britain suffered extensive bombing during the Blitz, as well as food shortages and rationing. The duties of women concentrated on providing support to the troops, handling war logistics and health and safety measures. The imagery of British posters emphasises practical efforts rather than damage and destruction; the presence of the enemy is felt but not witnessed. In contrast, the Soviet Union was partially occupied by Nazi troops and its population experienced war and violence first-hand. Women were engaged in battle, abused by the occupants, and subjected to bombing and severe food shortages. Reflecting this reality, the poster messaging is explicit, often violent and brutal, and women are depicted directly fighting the enemy. In
America daily life during the war was mostly affected by the rationing of food, gasoline, tyre and nylon stockings. The poster designs are often stylish and glamorous, elevating participation in the war effort.
The exhibition is free and will be open to the public during the gallery opening hours.
AntikBar, 404 King’s Road, London SW10 0LJ
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 11am-5pm;
Sunday and Bank Holidays by appointment only
A find of 131 gold coins along with four other gold objects dating to 1,400 years ago stands to be the largest find to date of gold coins from the Anglo-Saxon period in England.
Currently, HM Coroner for Norfolk is holding an inquest to determine whether an important find of gold coins and other objects from West Norfolk constitutes Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act (1996). To qualify as Treasure, any two or more coins which contain more than 10% of precious metal and which are more than 300 years old are defined as Treasure and are property of the Crown. Typically, the Crown only claims the find if an accredited museum wishes to acquire the find, and is in a position to pay a reward equivalent to the full market value of the find.
Buried shortly after AD 600, the West Norfolk hoard contains a total of 131 gold coins, most of which are Frankish tremisses, as these coins were not yet produced in East Anglia at this date. The hoard contains nine gold solidi, a larger coin from the Byzantine empire worth three tremisses. The hoard also contains four other gold objects, including a gold bracteate (a type of stamped pendant), a small gold bar, and two other pieces of gold which were probably parts of larger items of jewellery. The presence of these items in the hoard suggests that the coins should be seen as bullion, valued by weight rather than face value.
At the point when the hoard was buried, England was not yet unified, but was divided into several smaller Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Of these, the kingdom of the East Angles, including modern Norfolk and Suffolk, was one of the most important. This region is also one of the most productive in terms of finds of archaeological material through metal detecting, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the largest find to date of gold coins from the Anglo-Saxon period was discovered in Norfolk by metal detectorists.
Most Treasure cases are relatively straightforward, but this is an unusual case in a number of ways. The majority of the objects were found between 2014 and 2020 by a single detectorist, who prefers to remain anonymous. The landowner has also requested anonymity, and for this reason the find is currently described only as coming from ‘West Norfolk’. This finder has reported all of his finds to the appropriate authorities. However, ten of the coins were found by a second detectorist, David Cockle, who had permission from the landowner to detect in the same field. Mr Cockle, who at the time was a serving policeman, failed to report his discovery and instead attempted to sell his coins, pretending that they were single finds from a number of different sites. Mr Cockle’s deception was uncovered, and in 2017 he was found guilty of theft and sentenced to 16 months in prison, as well as being dismissed from the police.
All of the objects were found in a single field, where a single gold coin was found as long ago as 1990; this was a single find before the introduction of the Treasure Act which means that this coin does not form part of the group being considered by the Coroner. Despite this quirk, it seems almost certain that this was part of the same hoard. The Treasure case includes both those finds from 2014 onwards which were properly reported and those concealed by Mr Cockle, two of which could not be recovered as they had already been sold and had disappeared into the antiquities trade.
The previous largest hoard of coins of this period was a purse containing 101 coins discovered at Crondall in Hampshire in 1828. It had been disturbed before discovery and may originally have included more coins. Buried around AD 640, the hoard contained a mixture of Anglo-Saxon, Frankish and Frisian coins, along with a single coin of the Byzantine Empire, minted in Constantinople.
The decades on either side of AD 600 were quite literally a golden age for Anglo-Saxon England. The largest find of gold metalwork from the period was the Staffordshire hoard, discovered in 2009 by Terry Herbert, and dating from the mid-7th century This contained over 5.1kg of gold and 1.4kg of silver. Though the Staffordshire hoard is currently the largest find of precious metal from the period, it contained no coins.
The most famous discovery from this period was the ship burial from Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, recently dramatized in the Netflix movie The Dig, and dating somewhere between AD 610 and 640. The Sutton Hoo burial included a purse of 37 gold coins, three blank gold discs of the same size as the coins and two small gold ingots, as well as many other gold items. The Sutton Hoo purse contained only Frankish coins, reflecting the fact that although imported coins were already used in East Anglia by this time, coins were not yet being minted in the area by the time of the burial. Another important grave was discovered in 2003 at Prittlewell in Essex, probably buried a few years before the Sutton Hoo ship and containing two gold coins and other gold objects.
Norwich Castle Museum hopes to acquire the hoard, with the full support of the British Museum.
Tim Pestell, Senior curator of Archaeology at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery said: “This internationally-significant find reflects the wealth and Continental connections enjoyed by the early Kingdom of East Anglia. Study of the hoard and its findspot has the potential to unlock our understanding of early trade and exchange systems and the importance of west Norfolk to East Anglia’s ruling kings in the seventh century.”
Helen Geake, Finds Liaison Officer for Norfolk said: “The West Norfolk hoard is a really remarkable find, which will provide a fascinating counterpart to Sutton Hoo at the other end of the kingdom of East Anglia. It underlines the value of metal-detected evidence in helping reconstruct the earliest history of England, but also shows how vulnerable these objects are to irresponsible collectors and the antiquities trade.”
Gareth Williams, Curator of Early Medieval Coins at the British Museum said: “This is a hugely important find. It is close in date to the famous ship burial from Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, and although it doesn’t contain as much gold as the whole of the Sutton Hoo burial, it contains many more coins. In fact, it is the largest coin hoard of the period known to date. It must be seen alongside other recent finds from East Anglia and elsewhere, and will help to transform our understanding of the economy of early Anglo-Saxon England.”
Findmypast has revealed a sneak peek of the digitisation process of the 1921 Census of England and Wales, which will be officially published online by Findmypast on 6 January 2022.
Taken on 19 June 1921, the census paints a vivid picture of the population as it was on that one night one hundred years ago.
For two and a half years and counting, a team of hundreds of Findmypast conservators, technicians and transcribers have undertaken the invaluable task of conserving, transcribing and digitising the 1921 Census in association with The National Archives and with the help and support of the Office for National Statistics.
It is the largest project ever completed by The National Archives and Findmypast, consisting of more than 30,000 bound volumes of original documents stored on 1.6 linear kilometres of shelving.
Everyone will be able to search and explore the census online, only at Findmypast, from 6 January 2022, allowing them to access the previously unseen archival material from the comfort of their homes. Users can discover more about their family’s past and learn what life was like in England and Wales a century ago.
This highly anticipated launch is likely to be the last significant census release for England and Wales in many people’s lifetime. Taken once a decade, the census remains secret for 100 years before being opened to the public. However, as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire at the Office for Works in 1942, and the 1941 Census was never captured owing to the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1921 Census will fill a huge gap for historians.
Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast says:
“It has been a great honour for Findmypast to work alongside The National Archives as its commercial partner to reveal the extraordinary stories captured by 1921 Census of England & Wales. Taken between two world wars, following a global flu pandemic, during a period of economic turmoil and migration from the UK, and with social change at home as women won the right to vote, the 1921 Census documents a moment in time that will resonate with people living today.
I am incredibly proud of our Findmypast team who have worked with passion and dedication for thousands of hours to conserve, scan, and transcribe 38 million historical records from 30,000 volumes of delicate original documents. As a result of their diligent work, when the Census is opened for the very first-time next year, family historians around the world will be able to meaningfully search the Census to reveal where and how their ancestors lived and worked 100 years ago.
The 1921 Census offers more detail than any previous one taken. For the first time, individuals were asked not only about their occupations but also their place of work, employer, and were given ‘Divorced’ as an option for marital status. As well as searching for individuals, users will also have the ability to search the census by address to uncover the history of their local area or home and the stories of former occupants.
Taken between two world wars, during a period of economic turmoil and at a time when women had just won the right to vote, the 1921 Census will reveal some incredible findings about society and how it has evolved over the past 100 years.
Neil Curtis, Chief Operating Officer at The National Archives, says: “Census releases are keenly anticipated and create a period of collective curiosity about the past, generating a national moment of reflection.
“The 1921 Census will offer us a glimpse into the lives of individuals and communities between the wars, recovering from a great influenza pandemic, and embarking on a new era where everyday rights and roles were changing.
“What makes the 1921 Census even more vital is that it will be the last census release for England and Wales for 30 years, with the 1931 Census lost in a fire and the 1941 Census never taken.
“As home to more than 1,000 years of history, The National Archives is delighted to be working with Findmypast to open up this unique collection to the world.”
★★★★★ – The Times
Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens (8 October 2021 – 20 February 2022) is the first major exhibition to consider Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots together, putting them both centre stage and giving them equal billing. The exhibition takes a fresh and revealing look at the infamous story of two powerful queens bound together by their shared Tudor heritage, whose turbulent relationship dominated English and Scottish politics for thirty years.
From amicable beginnings to distrust and betrayal, the exhibition explores the complex relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots through their own words. Despite their fates being intertwined, the queens never met and their relationship was played out at a distance, much of it by letter. This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see their original correspondence.
Drawing on the British Library’s outstanding collection of early modern manuscripts and printed books, Elizabeth and Mary’s autograph letters will be displayed alongside 16th-century state papers, speeches and cipher documents, as well as beautiful maps, drawings and woodcut engravings to illustrate key moments and events. There will also be paintings, jewels, textiles, maps, drawings and objects borrowed from private and public collections in the UK and Spain.
Dr Andrea Clarke, lead curator of Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens at the British Library, said:
‘Almost 500 years on, the story of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots continues to fascinate and enthral. It is a story of two women whose lives were inextricably connected, for not only were they fellow sovereign queens but also, as Mary reminded Elizabeth in countless letters to her, ‘both of one blood, of one country and in one island’. It is remarkable that many of the themes woven through the exhibition narrative, such as Anglo-Scottish relations, international diplomacy and Europe, state surveillance and espionage, still have a deep resonance today.’
Revealing a dangerous world of plots, espionage and treachery, Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens will explore how the drama unfolded against the backdrop of an England and Scotland deeply divided between Protestants and Catholics and a Europe torn apart by religious conflicts and civil wars.
The exhibition is sponsored by The Sir John Ritblat Family Foundation, with thanks to the John S Cohen Foundation and all supporters who wish to remain anonymous. The exhibition catalogue is supported by The Strathmartine Trust.
When: Fri 8 Oct 2021 - Sun 20 Feb 2022
Opening times and visitor information
Full Price: £16.00
Registered Unemployed: £7.00
National Art Pass Senior: £8.00
Child (0-11) : £0.00
Child (12-17): £3.50
National Art Pass: £9.00
Senior (60+): £8.00
Young Person (18-25): £7.00
Based on incredible true events, Six Minutes to Midnight is a tense World War II spy thriller starring Emmy Award® winner Eddie Izzard (Valkyrie), Carla Juri (Blade Runner 2049), James D’Arcy (Dunkirk) and Academy Award® winners Judi Dench (Skyfall) and Jim Broadbent (The Iron Lady).
Summer 1939. Britian is on the eve of war and yet peace remains in the picturesque seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea where influential families in Nazi Germany have sent their daughters to a prestigious finishing school to learn the language and be ambassadors for a future looking National Socialist party.
When new teacher, and undercover agent of the British Secret Service, Thomas Miller (Eddie Izzard) joins the school he discovers a plot to remove the girls from the country before the outbreak of war. With the innocent young women now being used as expendable politcal pawns by the Nazi elite, Miller attempts to raise the alarm. But when his superior officer and the only man aware of his true identity is murdered before his eyes, the British authorities believe Miller himself to be the culprit. Now the chase is on, will the secret agent be captured before he has a chance to reveal the truth and save the girls?
Directed by Andy Goddard (Set Fire to the Stars), Six Minutes To Midnight is a thrilling tale of WWII espionage based on the incredible true events of the Augusta-Victoria college, a British finishing school for the Nazi high-command. Written by the film’s stars Eddie Izzard and Celyn Jones (Mr. Jones), Six Minutes to Midnight features a cast of award-winning British talent including screen legends Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent.
PEARSON & THE BLACK CURRICULUM JOIN FORCES TO CHAMPION BLACK BRITISH HISTORY TOPICS ON THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM
A new partnership is seeking to ensure more Black British history has its rightful place in the school curriculum and teachers are getting the high-quality support and resources they need to deliver new topics with confidence.
As part of their shared commitment to ending racial inequality in the classroom, learning company Pearson and education social enterprise The Black Curriculum are working together to help increase Black British history being taught in schools.
The partnership, which will draw on The Black Curriculum’s extensive expertise in supporting schools to deliver accessible Black British history curricula, will involve the creation of guidance, resources and training to empower teachers to teach new and existing topics confidently and effectively, as well as a review of Pearson’s current history qualifications and materials. The Black Curriculum and Pearson will also continue collaborating on the new Pearson Edexcel History GCSE Migration topic, which will see inspiring Black activists like Dr Harold Moody and Claudia Jones, and significant events like Notting Hill Carnival and the Bristol Bus Boycott being taught in history classrooms across the country from this September.
Speaking about their ambitions for the partnership, Sharon Hague, Senior Vice-President for Pearson School Qualifications, said: “We are committed to championing inclusion in education and creating learning environments and content that reflect the world and its people. Ensuring there is more Black British history in the qualifications and resources we offer is a key part of this, so, we are delighted to be partnering with The Black Curriculum as a step to help us make this a reality.
“More culturally diverse history is more accurate history and together we will be striving to make sure teachers have the support and the materials they need to bring overlooked British people and moments in history to life in classrooms across the country. We are excited to continue this journey and work with more teachers, learners and experts on steps to help build a more racially and culturally inclusive school system.”
Reflecting on the significance and impact of embedding more Black British history into the fabric of education, Lavinya Stennett, founder and CEO of The Black Curriculum, said: “Black British history belongs in the National Curriculum. All our stories and contributions have made a truly positive impact on British culture and society. And that needs to be formally acknowledged. It is enormously gratifying to partner with Pearson and present these materials. In the current socio-political climate, it is critical young people understand the concepts of topics such as migration. And it's even more important that teachers and education professionals are guided and supported in presenting these more inclusive materials from a respected source such as Pearson. The Black Curriculum believes learning about Black British history will increase the sense of belonging and identity among all students and welcome Pearson's commitment to that".
While the partnership is initially focusing on being more inclusive around the history taught in schools, activity will also extend to other subject areas within Pearson, helping to promote change across the wider curriculum and support the profession’s widespread desire for more inclusion and representation. In Pearson research released earlier this year, four in five UK teachers felt more could be done to celebrate diverse cultures, people and experiences in education and in another recent survey Pearson commissioned, six in 10 teachers said that they reviewed their curriculum in terms of Black and ethnic minority representation in the past year.
Ensuring teachers and educators have the understanding, skills and support to deliver Black British history will be fundamental to the partnership work between Pearson and The Black Curriculum. This follows feedback from schools that many teachers lack confidence when it comes to teaching history they may be unfamiliar with, or particularly sensitive topics.
Sharing her school’s experience, Samantha Slater, Subject Leader of History at a school in the South East, said: "We've been on a journey to transform the history we teach in our academy to better reflect our students and the world around them - from exploring African Kingdoms to Indian Independence and the Biafran Civil War. So far the changes we've made have been loved by students, teachers and parents alike. However, a lot of the topics we explore are very emotional and we have to really think about the language and resources that we use. More training, resources and CPD for teachers to help us with what phrases and content to use, as well as to help increase our subject knowledge would be invaluable, so it's fantastic to hear that Pearson and The Black Curriculum are working together to support this."
Free guidance and professional development ranging from advice on teaching Black British history in schools to CPD on racial literacy in action and a guide to understanding the new Notting Hill historic environment will be made available to schools as part of the partnership over the new academic year.
As part of Pearson’s company-wide commitment to championing greater inclusion in education, it has also set up a Global Task Force dedicated to identifying concrete actions to ensure its products, content and services build a more inclusive society. It is also working with respected partners to undertake wide-scale reviews across its qualifications, supporting sector-wide campaigns promoting change and launching first-of-their-kind editorial guidelines to ensure equitable representation of race, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+ and disability in its content.
To find out more about Pearson and The Black Curriculum’s partnership, as well as the Pearson Edexcel History GCSE Migration Topic starting this September, please visit: https://www.pearson.com/uk/news-and-policy/news/2021/07/pearson-and-the-black-curriculum-join-forces.html
For more information on Pearson’s company-wide commitment to championing diversity and inclusion in education, please visit: https://www.pearson.com/uk/educators/schools/issues/diversity-and-inclusion.html
For more information on The Black Curriculum, please visit: www.theblackcurriculum.com