“Our Island Story”
Free copies for UK schools
The Civitas/Galore Park project to re-publish Henrietta Marshall’s classic children’s history book Our Island Story has been supported by The Daily Telegraph. John Clare, Education Editor of The Daily Telegraph, asked his readers to support the project to the extent of donations of £10,000. Readers responded by sending in an astonishing £25,000! Supporters of Civitas contributed another £8,000.
We were deeply touched, not only by the generous contributions, but by the messages of support we received. ‘I agree with every word of your letter and wish I could afford more, but being a retired teacher of history I am naturally rather impoverished’, was a typical response. (Co-incidentally, two other retired history teachers rang us within a few days of each to say that they despaired of the way in which history is now being taught - or not taught - and wanted to buy the book to ensure that their grandchildren would know something about the history of this country.) A concerned mother wrote: ‘Having been “educated” in the late sixties and early seventies, most of my knowledge of history (and quite a few other things) has been gained from television over the last twenty years or so. With an almost nine-year-old daughter, I am keen that she learns as much as possible.’
As a result of this generosity, it has become possible to donate free copies of Our Island Story to UK schools. We are hoping to be able to raise enough to send out 5,000 free copies. We hope this will this assist teachers who want to teach narrative history in schools, but there is another very important function which these books could fulfil. Many people, including politicians of all parties, are worried by the failure of many young people now to engage with the institutions of the free society they live in. Turnout of young voters at elections is very low. This is one of the reason for the addition of Citizenship to the National Curriculum. But why would young people identify with our institutions, if they know nothing of their history?
Henrietta Marshall knew all about the importance of the institutions of a free society, and explains thoroughly why we need to make sure the state cannot imprison people without trial, or force them to worship God in a particular way, or extract taxes without allowing people a say in the running of the country.
If you are a teacher, and you would like your school to receive a free copy of Our Island Story, please send an email to info @civitas.org.uk