Chalk Talk: The Bard brought to life by Doctor Who


David Tennant will be beamed into up to 3,000 schools next week as part of a venture to bring live theatre closer to the hearts and minds of schoolchildren.

Naturally, talk of beaming and Tennant in one breath conjures up images of the actor's role as Doctor Who, but no; this is a major new initiative by the Royal Shakespeare Company to give pupils live access to the Bard's plays.

Tennant and his fellow RSC actors will be performing Richard II – on stage at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre – which will be broadcast live into schools, followed by a Q&A session with Tennant and the production's director, Gregory Doran.

Next Friday is the opening night – or, at least, afternoon – of the Young Shakespeare Nation project, which will see Shakespeare beamed into schools every term.

The RSC says it will give more young people better access to Shakespeare, now that all 11 to 14-year-olds under the national curriculum have to study a minimum of two Shakespeare plays.

Hats off to the RSC for planning this. I don't want to be accused of putting words into Michael Gove's mouth, but I'm sure he might react by saying that it is better than simply having a teacher rabbit on about Shakespeare in front of the class.

Seeking clarity over free schools policy, part two.

Part of a Coalition amendment to a debate initiated by Labour on whether free schools should employ untrained teachers reads: "This House notes that the part of the Coalition led by the Deputy Prime Minister believes all schools should employ teachers with Qualified Teacher Status and the part of the Coalition led by the Prime Minister believes free schools and academies should retain the freedom to hire teachers without Qualified Teacher Status."

In fact, the Speaker ruled that the amendment could not be taken, but I think my advice to those who drafted it would be: stop digging, folks!