North East Schools Celebrate Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Schools across the region have been preparing for Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee with celebrations, educational initiatives and themed lessons. As half term approaches, teachers have engaged with North East students, rewarding them with garden parties, fancy dress and royal crafts. 

The Jubilee offers educators a chance to teach their classes about British culture and the monarchy whilst taking part in both educational and recreational activities and end the first half of the summer term on a high note. 

Regional Response 

Schools in the North East have taken part in national campaigns such as the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) by the Woodland Trust wherein people are encouraged to plant trees in honour of the Queen’s legacy. 

The students of Seaburn Dene Primary School, in Sunderland, planted native hedgerows as part of the QGC, as well as holding a Jubilee bake-off. Seaburn Dene received local press coverage after students wrote letters to the Queen inspired by the book The Queen’s Handbag by Steve Antony. The Palace replied to students with personal letters answering questions such as if her bag had ever been stolen, to which Her Majesty replied ‘it’s well guarded by the corgis who sit next to it’. 

Meanwhile in Gateshead, Kells Lane Primary School used the Jubilee theme to study the decades of the Queen’s reign, watching news programmes from the seventies, dancing to the macarena and making artwork for Veterans At Ease. As well as working with charities, schools have been using the occasion to celebrate their own students, as GCSE week comes to an end. Freebrough Academy in Redcar used the Jubilee to acknowledge and award attendance with their ‘Reigning Champion’ initiative demonstrating how to utilise the Jubilee theme to recognise their students’ personal achievements. 

Making Learning Memorable

In Northumberland, Heddon-On-The-Wall St Anthony’s C of E Primary School prepared a Platinum Jubilee concert with a live band. Head Teacher Anthony Wheatley reminisced about his personal experience of celebrating the Silver Jubilee and the memories made during his school days.

The Schools North East team along with trustee Kieran McGrane dropped in to the afternoon concert at Heddon-On-the-Wall Primary, witnessing the recreation of the Queen’s coronation by two students backed by the goosebump-raising Zadok the Priest sung by a chorus of Heddon students of different ages. The show ended with a melody of songs by Queen, alongside a live band of local residents, parents and Heddon’s music teacher. Kieran McGrane commented: 

 ‘It was wonderful to be able to visit a Pele Trust school today and enjoy the singing and live music to celebrate the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee. Heddon St Andrews is a great example of a school where music is used as a vehicle to provide unique experiences for the children and pupils. This was evident today as every child and member of staff entertained parents in the morning and again in the afternoon.’

Andrew Wheatley told the concert audience that a younger student became fascinated by the piano. They had never seen a piano play live before, due to the pandemic. The student couldn’t believe the piano keys produced sound. As parents can now freely gather at school events and fill rooms as we once did pre-2019, Heddon Primary proved that ‘making learning memorable’ is crucial to giving children the experiences that create impact with learning and their school community. Memorable events including large social gatherings couldn’t have existed in the lockdown. The celebrations in schools this week help to remind us that our focus should be on recovery rather than high stakes accountability for our region’s schools. It’s difficult to truly understand and measure the impact this concert has had on a student who hadn’t seen a piano before. 

Further Reading

The Department of Education announced all children in state-funded primary schools will receive a free commemorative book to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Distribution of the book to schools has been stated to be between mid-May and September. The book is a partnership between DK Books and the National Literacy Trust, who are running a Royal Reading Challenge. The Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi stated ‘I hope all our pupils are as excited as I am to read about Her Majesty’s amazing life and the people and events that have shaped history during the last 70 years’.

For more information on the Royal Reading Challenge (including resources for teachers) visit Royal Reading Challenge: Platinum Jubilee 2022 | National Literacy Trust

Celebrations in the North East will continue during half term with many regional events that celebrate the upcoming Jubilee, some of which are in collaboration with local schools.

To help promote your school’s upcoming celebrations, you can add them to the Platinum Jubilee Events Map at

Alternatively, you can add #SNEJubilee to Twitter posts to help us find you and spread awareness of your school’s activities.

Follow us at @SchoolsNE to see Jubilee highlights from the North East.

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