Schools will have to ‘opt in’ to receiving Queen’s Diamond Jubilee book says Welsh Government
It will be up to schools in Wales whether they want to receive a history book about the Queen produced by the UK Government, the Welsh Government has said.
Last week the UK Government’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales had said that they were working to ensure that every school child in Wales receives the book “imminently”.
But the Welsh Government have now said that schools will receive it on an “opt-in” basis only.
The Welsh Government told Nation.Cymru said last month that the decision on distributing the ‘patriotic’ history book in Wales, which will cost £12m to produce, would be up to Education Minister Jeremy Miles.
According to the Western Mail that decision had left UK Government ministers “furious” and they had intended to distribute a copy to every child in Wales and “can’t understand what the problem is”.
The UK Government had previously said that they will send every school child in Wales the “patriotic” book so that they and other children across the UK develop a “collective understanding” about the history of her time on the throne.
The contract awarded to DK books notes that 211,000 copies of a bilingual version of the book will be sent to pupils in 1,290 schools and other educational establishments in Wales.
But the Welsh Government told Nation.Cymru last month that the decision will rest with them, rather than the UK Government.
“We are not contributing to the cost of these books,” they said. “As Education is devolved in Wales, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language will make a decision on whether the book will be circulated to Welsh Schools once he has seen the final version.”
They subsequently decided that schools would be able to “opt in” to receiving the book, rather than every student receiving it automatically.
The contract agreed with published DK Books includes a clause that the books must be delivered to at least 99.5% of schools in Wales by 11 July 2022.
The book contract says that the supplier will provide a book “written with the aim of being inclusive, patriotic and ‘speaking to all children’ with regard to all regions of the UK”.
“The Jubilee itself will help communicate a narrative about modern Britain and its connections with the rest of the world, through local, community-driven events,
including those led by schools, alongside national and Commonwealth events,” the contract says.
“The book will be a key part of this strategic aim, by ensuring that pupils, families, and teachers develop a collective understanding of the Queen’s reign, and by providing children with an appropriate legacy through personal ownership of this high-quality book.”
It adds: “The book shall be inclusive and patriotic, capturing a spirit akin to the London 2012 Olympics.”
The book is set to cost £12 million to produce with around 4.5 million copies sent to schoolchildren in the UK. However, the individual costs of producing a version for Wales and its distribution has been redacted from the document.
A Gaelic language version of the book will also be produced but will not be dual language.
The Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne, on 6 February this year.
Celebrations will culminate in a four day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June.
A Platinum Jubilee Celebration on 12th -15th May will also see over 500 horses and 1,000 performers create a 90-minute piece of arena theatre.
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