Stephen James: Children should learn the national anthem


It should be statutory for schools to teach the National Anthem in Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee Year.

By Stephen James.

As a proud Briton, you no doubt understand the importance of ceremony and tradition.

Recently, Andrew Rosindell MP urged the BBC to return to playing the National Anthem on television in the middle of the night to increase ‘unity and pride in our nation‘.

This was met with support from the Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries MP who could be heard saying “fantastic” and Culture Minister Chris Philp MP who told fellow MPs:

“We fully support the signing of the national anthem and other expressions of patriotism – including the flying of the Union Jack.”

All excellent ideas.

So, I am sure that fellow Britons would agree that British schools (in her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee year) should sing the national anthem every week (at least).

After all, who wouldn’t want to start their week by belting out “God Save The Queen”?


The start of my journey into teaching has led me to this conclusion. 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.

On further reflection, I am sure a rendition of the ‘Red Flag’ would have gone down a storm.

Now, as a professional who has worked with children, I have directly experienced children’s lack of National Anthem knowledge, which I have always found disappointing. 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 with a flair that would bring a tear to the eye of Queen Elizabeth her heirs and successors.


There are several reasons why school children should be singing the British national anthem. Let me explain!

  • Connection to our past – The Anthem connects us to a proud British history that is sadly being erased by the woke blob who would have us feeling guilty about all our achievements.
  • Cultural Capital – The Anthem provides young people with a shared cultural experience. No matter your background, ethnicity, or geography in the UK, the National Anthem belongs to you!
  • Positive patriotism – ‘The Left’ continue to look down their noses at patriots – often conflating patriotism and nationalism. If you love your country, you are a patriot; I love my country and I want to sing it loud and sing it proud. There is absolutely no reason why Children shouldn’t feel British and proud.
  • Reflection – The national anthem reflects the history, struggles, and traditions of a nation and its people and serves as a positive expression of national identity.
  • Appreciation – The Anthem shows appreciation to a woman who has dedicated her life to public service and duty.  Her Majesty is a role model to us all.


Logistically, this would be easy. I propose we appoint Gareth Malone as Choirmaster General to oversee the project. The BBC should film Gareth’s efforts so that they play the National Anthem enough during prime time hours.

Schools should devote time during assemblies, music lessons and English lessons (under the guise of reciting poetry). 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.

As an aside, I also think that the same rules should apply to the House of Commons and Lords, with a rendition of God Save The Queen before each day starts. This should possibly be extended to all Government Departments.

God Save the Queen.

Stephen James is an award-Winning Teacher, Specialist Leader of Education, Conservative Friends of Education Founder and Chairman of Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association.
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