Skip to content

Shakespeare and primary schools

  • by

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was the charity behind Shakespeare Week’s success (18-24 March 2019). It has now established a network for Shakespeare Hub Schools throughout England. They use Shakespeare to enrich the arts experiences of children.
Six hubs were established across the country. The first to benefit from them were 40 primary schools in London, Merseyside (North East), Nottingham, Birmingham and Birmingham. Each hub of 6-8 schools is working with creative practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines to provide children with KS2 Shakespeare workshops. There are Bollywood dance performances of Romeo and Juliet as well as clay sculptures depicting characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust offers the program free of charge to schools and Arts Council England supports it. The scheme will have 12 hubs throughout the country by 2021. It will offer opportunities for over 20,000 kids to create original work inspired Shakespeare. It also offers platforms for children to exchange their experiences with others, Continuing Professional Development for teachers (CPD) sessions, specialist training led and supported by artists, as well as support in working closely with arts organisations and the awarding of Arts Awards.

Jacqueline Green (head of learning and participatory at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust) stated, “Children’s ability to relate Shakespeare’s stories and dilemmas into their world and live experiences can be an effective learning tool. It is vital that young people participate in the arts to develop their imagination, creativity, social skills, and creativity. We strongly believe Shakespeare is for everyone, not just those who are privileged. Through our collaboration with creative practitioners, children can discover new and interesting ways to explore the works, stories, heritage, and legacy of the greatest playwrights in the world.

Many of these hub schools will exhibit their work during Shakespeare Week (18-24 Mar), and this year’s national celebrations will celebrate the theme of literacy and language.

There is increasing evidence* that young kids have a deficit in vocabulary. This is hindering their learning and having a long-term impact on their communication, creative, critical thinking skills and their confidence. Shakespeare’s plays can help children to identify their words and build vital language skills.

Jacqueline also stated, “More needs be done in order to address the word gap at primary schools. Our vocabulary is shrinking, but our language is changing. This year, we encourage children who participate in Shakespeare Week or our Shakespeare Hub Schools programmes as ‘Will’s Word Warriors’. Shakespeare’s innovative and imaginative language is an ideal way to inspire young minds.

Nick Gibb (Minister for School Standards) stated, “Shakespeare Week gives primary school children the chance to explore the great works by Britain’s most celebrated writer.” These creative hubs will help bring William Shakespeare’s story to life for a whole new generation of students, which is something I am delighted about.

“Being capable of reading Shakespeare’s works opens up a world of imagination and discovery. Focusing on reading comprehension and phonics in primary schools helps more children discover the joys in the written word. It will also help ensure that as many children as possible can enjoy reading Shakespeare in the secondary curriculum as well as in their future lives.

Shakespeare’s Birthday

Shakespeare Week will see more than 2,000,000 primary school children celebrate Shakespeare’s stories, language, and characters from March 18-24. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust provides a free program for primary-school children and their families.

Over 6.5 Million children have participated in Shakespeare Week since 2014 when it began. Teachers and home educators are provided with free tools and opportunities to incorporate Shakespeare into their classrooms.

The following are highlights of this year’s celebration:

Will’s Word Warriors – A series of fun activities, challenges, and activities developed by leading linguist Professor David Crystal. It explores some of Shakespeare’s Forgotten Words. Words from Shakespeare’s lifetime that aren’t in common usage today.
Walker Books and National Literacy Trust supported The Big Shakespeare Book Hunt in the 154 communities of the country
William Shakespaw (Golden Retriever), age 2, will visit select schools to help kids find Shakespeare’s Forgotten Words
Children’s Zone offers online challenges that children can take on at home or school, such as writing poetry, drawing comic strips and enjoying retellings Shakespeare’s plays.
Storytelling in libraries across the UK. Plus craft activities in selected Waterstones locations
There is a whole range of fun activities for the family at Shakespeare Houses in Stratford-upon-Avon. Get involved in activities such as weaving a web with Will’s words, creating a carnival masque to wear at Romeo-and-Juliet’s Ball, and participating in the Tudor dancing workshops.
More than 150 resources are available to teachers, parents and home educators. Teachers also have new resources that will help them develop their debating skills.