What the Platinum Jubilee book for school kids says about Scotland and the Union

A BOOK commemorating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is being sent out to primary school pupils across the UK – and The National has seen a sneak peek inside.

The UK Government is spending a whopping £ 12 million on sending the “commemorative” book to children across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – despite education being devolved.

The publication, commissioned by the UK Government and published by DK Books and titled “Queen Elizabeth: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration”, is going out to schools across England this month.

The Scottish and Welsh governments asked to only receive the books on an opt-in basis, and they will not be delivered until the end of September.

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The book tells the story of a young girl named Isabella, who visits her great grandmother to learn about the 2022 Jubilee. Isabella digs through her souvenir box, which leads the reader through various historical events and introduces them to key people and inventions from the UK.

In a press release ahead of the book’s roll-out, the UK Government made it blatantly clear that they hope the book will “help children understand how the four nations came together as one United Kingdom”.

So let’s dig into how the book does that.

The four nations

A key section of the book explains the formation of the UK in very basic detail.

“Isabella, the UK is made up of four nations, including England, where we live,” the great grandmother says over a map of the UK.

“Oh! I see now, ”replies Isabella. “They fit like pieces of a jigsaw.”

The book goes on to highlight each nation of the UK, provide some basic details on them and a timeline of important historical events there.

“Scotland forms the northern part of Great Britain,” the book says. “It is best known for the mountainous Highlands and Islands, and its capital is the city of Edinburgh.”

The key historical events picked out include the building of Hadrian’s wall, the setting up of the first Christian church, and Robert the Bruce defeating the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.

The National:

In 1328, it says, “England recognizes Scotland as an independent country”. Later in 1707 it states: “Act of Union joins Scotland with England and Wales, forming the United Kingdom.”

The final event noted is that the “new Scottish Parliament sits in Edinburgh” in 1999. There are no further moments in time detailed, despite the Welsh timeline going as far as 2020 (when the National Assembly was renamed the Senedd Cymru).

Northern Ireland’s timeline goes straight from the Troubles breaking out in 1969 to the Good Friday Agreement being signed in 1998.

The National:

Of the famine, it reads: “The Great Famine, a time of hardship and hunger, leads to the deaths of more than one million people.”

One the following page, Isabella thanks her great grandma for the “helpful” map.

“I understand how the four nations fit together now,” she says.

Despite the £ 12m cost of the book project, the eagle-eyed Jouker did spot a spelling mistake in the section of devolution.

READ MORE: One Britain One Nation: UK Government wants pupils ‘across the UK’ to celebrate

“The UK Government, based in the Houses of Parliament in London, is responsible for things like foreign affairs that run rough through the UK,” it reads. Shows much they cared about that section…

And elsewhere, children are taught about how titles honor “extraordinary people”.

“A knighthood or damehood is one of the greatest titles that the Queen can give anyone,” the great grandmother tells Isabella. “In medieval times, knighthoods were given to the bravest soldiers in battle. It’s called the honors system. ”

Elsewhere in the book children learn about famous quotes from the Queen and the lives of campaigners from across the Commonwealth.

The National:

The UK Government’s Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi welcomed the publication launching on Friday, saying: “It has been fantastic to have delivered some of the first copies of the Platinum Jubilee celebration book to children at Manor Park Primary School.

“I’m incredibly excited for children across the country to receive their own copy, so they can learn all about Her Majesty’s life and the people and events that have shaped history over the last 70 years.”

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