Shakespeare to be celebrated in schools with children as young as five

Shakespeare week will mark the Bard's 450th birthday

Plans for an annual national Shakespeare week - to be launched next year on the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth - will be announced tonight.

The idea is to allow children from the age of five at primary school to celebrate the Bard in a week-long series of events which could include making traditional Tudor dishes in cookery lessons or playing Tudor sports like real tennis.

As part of the venture, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will make available free online materials to help teachers celebrate Shakespeare’s work.

The plan has received the backing of Education Secretary Michael Gove who said: “Shakespeare’s language is our language. It is our inheritance. Through Shakespeare week, many pupils will have the chance to share and enjoy this inheritance.”

The campaign is also backed by leading academics and actors including Dame Judi Dench and expects to introduce three million children and their families to Shakespeare during the week.

The Coalition Government has already signalled its support for Shakespeare by insisting that - under the curriculum for GCSE's - 14 to 16-year-olds should in future study two Shakespeare plays not just one. It also says seven to 11-year-olds should learn about Shakespeare in history lessons.