Simon Schama backs Shakespeare in schools
TV historian Simon Schama has hit out at suggestions that Shakespeare should not be taught in schools.
The place of the Bard on the national curriculum has been debated in recent years, but Schama criticised those who claim the playwright is not accessible enough.
"I think it's incredibly patronising of anybody to suppose that is true of Shakespeare," he told the Radio Times.
Schama, who recently appeared on the judging panel of a TV show which saw schoolchildren compete to make a Shakespearean speech, said: "We were listening to children - all from state schools - who learned long speeches by Shakespeare.
"They weren't all white, they weren't all pink or beige - they were exactly the face of young Britain that you'd expect and had absolutely no problem with the language or meaning of the plays. They were utterly wonderful."
The historian added: "Shakespeare isn't scary. It shouldn't be scary. And to suggest that schools, for example, shouldn't teach him or should teach him less because he's not 'accessible' is robbing children of an incredible experience with their own language and an understanding of what it means to be human."
Schama, who is presenting a two-part BBC2 documentary on the Bard, added: "No playwright before or since has got under the skin of the nation like Shakespeare."
Arts & Ents blogs
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
Coronation Street triumphs over EastEnders at British Soap Awards 2013
The Freemasons' Code: Dan Brown reveals the message that told him the door to the lodge is open
Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
Film review: The Hangover Part III (15)
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.