Last year Andrew Rosindell MP urged the BBC to return to playing the National Anthem on television to increase ‘unity and pride in our nation.’

This was met with support from the then Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries MP who said the idea was “fantastic.”

Now the Conservative Post wants to find out what readers think.

An award-winning teacher who is also the founder of Conservative Friends of Education certainly thinks it’s a good idea. Stephen James says the start of his journey into teaching led him to this conclusion. Mr James, now a specialist Leader of Education says:

“At the start of my professional career, one event signalled to me that something wasn’t right…
“My graduation ceremony was at Canterbury Cathedral, the home of the Church of England, and after we received our degrees, shook the hand of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Vice-Chancellor – the Anthem was the final item on the programme.
“With over 1200 people in attendance, the Anthem should have been heard in Buckingham Palace. Instead, a lacklustre rendition that Church mice would have difficulty hearing. In fact, I could be heard singing over the Archbishop and I was sitting at the back. Slightly embarrassing when I started belting out the second verse when all around me were silent… but that’s another story.”

Now, as a professional who has worked with children, Mr James says he has directly experienced children’s lack of national anthem knowledge. He says:

“To be fair, some do know it but that is usually as a result of a football-loving family… So, I made it my mission to remedy this as children passed through my class and I am proud to say that all the children who had me as a teacher could recite the National Anthem.”

The patriotic teacher proposes Gareth Malone OBE is appointed as Choirmaster General to oversee the project. Mr Malone is the English choirmaster and broadcaster who readers might remember from his television appearances on programmes such as The Choir, which focuses on singing and introducing choral music to new participants.

Mr James says schools could then devote time during assemblies, music lessons and English lessons (under the guise of reciting poetry) into learning the national anthem. He suggests the curriculum should be structured as below:

  • EYFS learn the first verse.
  • KS1 learn the first and second,
  • KS2 learn the first, second and third.
  • KS3 learn the first, second, third and fourth.
  • KS4 learn all five.

What do you think? Would you be keen for your children to learn the national anthem at school? Would it be a nice thing to introduce this year with the King’s Coronation happening? Or do you think it’s too patriotic? Let us know your thoughts.


Do you think children should be taught the National Anthem at school?
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The British National Anthem in its present form dates back to the eighteenth century. The words and tune are anonymous, and may date back to the seventeenth century.

‘God Save The King’ was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745, which came to be known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

In September 1745 the ‘Young Pretender’ to the British Throne, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, defeated the army of King George II at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh.

In a fit of patriotic fervour after news of Prestonpans had reached London, the leader of the band at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, arranged ‘God Save The King’ for performance after a play. It was a tremendous success and was repeated nightly.

This practice soon spread to other theatres, and the custom of greeting monarchs with the song as he or she entered a place of public entertainment was thus established.

There is no authorised version of the National Anthem as the words are a matter of tradition. Additional verses have been added down the years, but these are rarely used.

The words used today are those sung in 1745, substituting ‘Queen’ for ‘King’ where appropriate. On official occasions, only the first verse is usually sung.

The words of the National Anthem are as follows:

God save our gracious King!
Long live our noble King!
God save the King!
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the King.

Thy choicest gifts in store
On him be pleased to pour,
Long may he reign.
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the King.

The British tune has been used in other countries. European visitors to Britain in the eighteenth century noticed the advantage of a country possessing such a recognised musical symbol.

In total, around 140 composers, including Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms, have used the tune in their compositions.


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