2015 Shakespeare Week aims to double participation

Date Posted: 23/09/2014

Following the success of the first ever Shakespeare Week this year, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has unveiled plans for an even bigger celebration in 2015.

Running from 16th to 22nd March, the trust is hoping that around one million five to 11 year-old school children will get involved.

The charity has plans to extend its online provision of free cross-curricular resources for all Primary School children, including dedicated resources for KS1 and a new suite of KS2 resources for the autumn term. 

There will also be a new family area on the Shakespeare Week website and a nationwide programme of activities for schools and families.

Over 3,000 schools took part in the 2014 event

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has estimated that the first Shakespeare Week in March this year gave half a million children the chance to be inspired by the stories, language and creative legacy of Britain’s greatest playwright.

Over 3,000 schools actually took part; 85 per cent reported that it provided pupils with a ‘positive first encounter with Shakespeare’ and 95 per cent said that it had resulted in ‘increased knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare and his world.’ 

More than a third of the participating schools have introduced Shakespeare in classes for the first time as a result of the campaign, and 98 per cent of teachers said that they would recommend Shakespeare Week to a colleague.

Jacqueline Green, head of learning and participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said: “Shakespeare Week has been a massive hit in primary schools. Between April and September a further 1,000 teachers have signed up for Shakespeare Week 2015. 

“Many schools have adopted the national celebration as a whole school activity, and we have seen a marked demand for resources for younger children. 

“As a result we are extending the scope of the campaign for all primary ages and accelerating our plans to give half of the UK’s Primary sSchool children a great first encounter with Shakespeare by 2016, when the world will be celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy.”

Passports to Shakespeare

The trust is inviting schools to sign up early for Shakespeare Week 2015, so that teachers can start downloading resources and planning their Shakespearian adventures now.

Educators can alsoorder Passports to Shakespeare for all their participating classes, so that every child can record their personal Shakespeare Week experiences.

The campaign has been backed by more than 170 of the country’s leading arts and heritage venues, including the British Museum, English Heritage and the National Trust.

The individual venues will once again provide resources and activities to encourage children to explore their cultural heritage both in schools and beyond the classroom.

Maggie Hayward, English co-ordinator at St Andrew’s Primary School, Cobham said, “I am thrilled with how successful the week has been. The staff embraced the idea and the children have responded so positively, I would love to see this as a permanent part of our curriculum.

“At Rochdale Central Library, Shakespeare Week 2014 was marked with a programme of exciting events for children and families,” she continued.

“We received tremendous feedback from families, teachers and students who attended and we would love to build on this success in 2015,” said councillor Neil Emmott, cabinet member for corporate services and neighbourhoods.

For more information visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk.

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