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Sizzling Soar Away History?

We may be know about  the Sun newspaper’s coverage of daily events – but  how do you feel about the Sun as an educator?

“Hold Ye Front Page” is the Sun’s newly lauched website and part of the Sun’s Get Britain Learning campaign.  The Sun describes the site  as ” starting from the beginning of the universe, ” and “working forwards to the present day and even into the future,”  in order to give  “kids a clear idea of the flow of history.”

This may sound like an enormous endeavour but, luckily, the Sun has  managed to narrow down the significant events in history and the future to a mere 240 or so.

The aim is to provide a lively introduction to a range of  events using a spoof Sun front page.  Each front page is accompanied by an explanatory article, images and documentary video footage.  The support material has been vetted by academics including the curators of London’s Science Museum who oversaw the science content, while The History Channel, British Pathe, the Discovery Channel provide video footage.

The Sun’s Get Britain Learning campaign has received the endorsement of the Government’s Education Department, as Nick Gibb, Schools Minister has said the Goverment is  ” fully behind the Sun’s Get Britain Learning Campaign.”

The TV presenter and historian, Dan Snow, is also a fan of  “Hold Ye Front Page” and has said:

“Viewing these events through the eyes of a modern tabloid makes the events of the past feel like current news stories. It brings events vividly to life.

I read the front pages and felt that it shortened the distance between me and the stories they were describing.

By giving these events The Sun front page treatment it helps turn them from distant, dead, historical events to real-life scandals, tragedies and triumphs.”

These resources are lively and engaging – and some of the headlines are very funny.

These spoof front pages also give us a clear template of  what the paper communicates, as the values expressed in  the daily paper are duplicated in the coverage of historical events.

This is seen in spoof headlines such as:

The French are Revolting 

Send’em Rome

A  great tool to look at the expression of implicit values and use of language, useful in English and Communication Studies as well as History?

Or a clever way introduce the Sun to more young people and uncomfortable for teachers who don’t want to promote the Sun’s values?

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Sonia Thomas, Educational Consultant

Smart Development Group

Sonia has been involved in education for over 20 years. She began her career as a teacher, and then moved into a range of middle and senior management positions in London colleges and then on to cross-borough strategic roles, including working for two local authorities.

Her responsibilities have included curriculum development, strategies to raise achievement and retention, learner support, and developing whole-institution systems and processes for tutorial, enrichment and one-to-one support.  Sonia can provide organisations with briefings, workshops and a range of other forms of support to organisations to support them in effective intervention and support strategies, and tutorial review at  post-16 level.  Please contact us  for more information.

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