We’re off to France!

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”*
This weekend the Historical Association is taking a group of primary school children from across the UK to the historic town of Azincourt, France. The schools are part of a programme run by the HA to commemorate an anniversary. Why, Pourqoui? – Because Azincourt is the town known to us in the UK as Agincourt, the site of one of our most famous battles.
In October 2015 the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt was commemorated. Agincourt is one of a small handful of major battles that resonates through the centuries. In this instance, a significant reason why this particular battle has come down through the centuries is the way it was immortalised by Shakespeare (who also has a significant anniversary this year). Henry V, is one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s plays, especially when it comes to exploring kingship and the unity of conflict. Unfortunately that is how the battle is most often studied through the words of a playwright who wrote about it nearly two hundred years later. Although it is a great play it is a play and not an historical account (although it could be argued it is an historical interpretation – discuss!). The Agincourt 600 Trust was established to commemorate the battle and to try and reintroduce some of the historical evidence and debate into popular knowledge today. It was also about introducing an interest of the Hundred Years War and medieval history into schools and the lives of young people.
Funding from the Trust was awarded to the HA for a number of educational programmes some that directly engage young people and some that help their understanding through developing teacher knowledge. This weekend the HA is taking primary school children to Azincourt to meet the French school counterparts, where together they will learn about the battle, take part in activities such as archery and most importantly learn from each other about how their countries teach and remember local history.
The activities will take place in a mixture of English and French and are a fantastic opportunity to forge friendships as well as developing knowledge. We look forward to sharing with you the outcomes of the pupil’s labours and newly acquired understanding of the battle. Follow us on twitter for updates. For now let us say (and I am freely stretching the quote here)
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; we newly created band of brother and sisters – let us go forth and share our ideas, while making shields and nervously trying to speak to each other and become digital pen-pals, forging new local history dialogues!
The schools attending the weekend are:
• Elveden Academy, Elveden, Suffolk
• Forest Academy, Brandon, Suffolk
• Longsands Academy, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire
• Maiden Beech Academy, Crewkerne, Somerset
• St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Newton Aycliffe, Co. Durham
• Wellow Primary School, Wellow, Hampshire

*Ok, we know this refers to the Siege of Harfleur – but it is such a good quote!
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