☰ 800 Years of The Magna Carta and why it is still relevant today…

800 Years of The Magna Carta and why it is still relevant today…

Posted on: June 19th 2015

I have been anticipating with some excitement the 800th anniversary of The Magna Carta, as the Form 6 children and I had been exploring its significance in our General Studies lessons earlier in the year. On the anniversary, this Monday 15th June 2015, we joined thousands of other pupils across the country and the world to watch a live link assembly charting the history and influence of the Magna Carta and how it has evolved and formed some of our most important historical and current philosophy, charters and legislation today. 

Its overwhelming significance in underpinning the rights, freedoms and liberties of our lives and societies today was emphasised through its particularly ‘recent’ historic influence in forming the American Constitution, the abolition of British involvement in slavery, described as ‘A Magna Carta for Africa’ in 1807, as well as during the suffragette movement in the late 19th Century and early 20th, and by Mohandes Gandhi who campaigned for the 1914 Indian Relief Act. Post WWII, it formed the basis of Eleanor Roosevelt’s UN Charter for Human Rights in 1948, as well as Martin Luther King’s campaign for Civil Rights, and translated into its most modern response, about the rights of all to education, by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. 

I even did a simpler more interactive assembly with our younger children about King John and how the Magna Carta came about - we had lots of fun; the children acted out some of the roles of the nobles and the Archbishop and they delighted in telling me off as King John and making me sign the Magna Carta! They also came up with some very impressive Magna Carta rights of their own, such as: 
The right to have water
The right to have an education 
The right to be equal if you’re disabled or different
Never raising taxes again (!!)
… Pretty impressive for 5 - 7 year olds, I’d say!

It is incredibly important for our children to learn about history from a young age in order to understand our present and how it will shape our future; it needs to be taught in an immersive and interesting way to engage children and make them curious about the world around them. It always makes me wish that I had had more of this type of learning when I was at school, because the links I make now as an adult should have been there for me in an enriched curriculum so that I could further pursue what I was interested in. I hope that it inspires some of our pupils to find out more and develop a love of this type of learning. 

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