Best Practice

Getting to grips with teaching Shakespeare

Engaging young pupils with the work of Shakespeare is not as hard as you might think. Emma Lee-Potter speaks to two schools who have been working with the Royal Shakespeare Company to great effect

When visitors walk around Lings Primary School in Northampton they often do a double-take as they hear pupils discussing the respective merits of King Lear, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice.

At an age when most primary school children are more interested in Gangsta Granny and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the 270 pupils at Lings, where 55 per cent are entitled to free school meals, are busy getting to grips with Shakespeare.

They quote lines from Shakespeare’s work, watch his plays and jump at the chance to play his characters on the stage. Even the youngest children in reception can talk about the characters of Titania and Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and some of the older ones have performed it at Stratford-upon-Avon and in the garden at 10 Downing Street.

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