Tower Hamlets parish rector launches educational project for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

A parish rector in Tower Hamlets has launched an educational programme to teach pupils about the Diamond Jubilee after being shocked how little they know about the Queen.

The Rev Gordon Warren, Rector of St Anne’s Limehouse church, launched an art and poetry competition for five primary schools in his parish to encourage them to learn about the Queen’s reign.

Mr Warren said: “The idea came from my wife who was working as a senior teaching assistant during the Golden Jubilee. I was shocked when she told me how little the children knew about the monarch. Many of them had English as a second language and felt the Queen wasn’t relevant to them.

“Today pupils are taught civic awareness but the Queen’s reign it’s not part of the curriculum. So this time round I decided to do something about it.”

Mr Warren said some children didn’t even know the Queen was Prince William’s grandmother.

“They wanted to do something on William and Kate for the project. But then when they understood how the Queen was related to the couple they became interested in finding out more about the Queen,” he said.

Mr Warren feels the Diamond Jubilee has been “swamped” by the focus on the Olympics and Sats results.

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Mr Warren, 67, who is honorary chaplain to the Royal Navy, said: “When I was young I was fascinated by the Queen’s Coronation. We all got booklets from the local authority.

“It was the first thing I ever saw on TV and the camera was rolling up and down everything like a big magnifying glass.

“The trouble is that in this area we’re swamped with the Olympics and The Diamond Jubilee is slipping slightly below the radar.”

They children were urged to either write a 60 word poem or create a picture about the Queen’s reign.

The competition is due to be judged today by the chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, Charles Saumarez, and artist Rosie West.

The primary schools taking part are Cyril Jackson, Stepney Greencoat, Sir William Burrough, Stephen Hawking and Our Lady Catholic.