Sunderland pupils write 21st Century version of Magna Carta

Replica of the Magna Carta.
Replica of the Magna Carta.
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Pupils at a Sunderland primary school are writing their own 21st century version of the Magna Carta.

800 years to the day the original document was sealed, Year 6 pupils from Richard Avenue Primary are making a scroll of their own.

And to add to the occasion, they will be doing it in one of Sunderland’s oldest buildings, the Grade 1 listed Holy Trinity Church which is set to be become a new cultural centre after securing Heritage Lottery Funding.

Coun John Kelly, portfolio polder for public health, wellness and culture, said: “The challenge for pupils is to write their own ‘Great Charter’ to reflect the rules and regulations that they think are most important for a safe, happy and fair society in the 21st century.

“We’ve enlisted the help of King John to help them come up with a collective list of rules that’ll be written on a large scroll and make their own personal seals and there’ll also be a fair bit of dressing up so I think it should be a really fun day.

“But it’s also a really important lesson about one of the key chapters in the history of our country.”

A series of workshops will see students learn about King John, the social conditions in England at the time, the reasons for growing unrest among people of all classes during his reign and the culmination of that unrest in revolt and the writing of the Magna Carta.

Students will also be taking a closer look at the Magna Carta of 1215, who it directly ‘protected’, why it took so long to establish it in law and debate its ‘features and flaws’

The event at Holy Trinity is one of a number taking place across Sunderland to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

Visitors to Durham this summer can also see a rare 1216 copy of the Magna Carta which has gone on display at Palace Green Library.

The copy is normally kept behind closed doors in Durham Cathedral but has been loaned to Palace Green Library as part of an exhibition celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the charter.