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MPs name The Scottish Play their favourite for Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary

As Shakespeare fans prepare to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the much-loved poet and playwright’s death, Populus asked its MP Panel members to name their favourite of The Bard’s plays.


Here’s how they ranked:

Shakespeare plays

One-in-five (20%) of all MPs name Macbeth as their favourite play, rising to nearly a quarter (23%) of Opposition MPs.

Amongst Conservative MPs however, the most frequently mentioned play is Hamlet (named by 18%).

We’ll leave you to ponder whether or not it is a coincidence that MPs tend to favour Shakespeare’s tragedies over his comedies.

Are school children missing out on a good education on British history?

Shakespeare is regarded as a key figure in British culture and indeed left us with an abundance of works with British historical figures and events as their subject. No doubt many past generations will recall poring over the likes of Henry V and Richard III in the classroom.

However, there are concerns that school children nowadays are missing out on the same detailed and well-rounded education on British History.

Despite the current requirements[1] for pupils to learn about British history, spanning from the Stone Age and its settlement by waves of various conquering forces, through industrialisation and empire to the present day, the majority of all MPs believe too little is being taught in schools.

In fact, three-quarters (74%) say that British school children are not taught enough British history and only one-in-five (21%) say they are taught the right amount.

Just 4% of MPs think that British children are taught too much about Britain’s history.

Conservative MPs are far more likely than their colleagues on the other side of the House to say that too little British history is being taught in schools. Nearly all (93%) Conservative MPs hold this view, whilst the same is true of half (55%) of Opposition MPs.  Almost two-in-five (37%) Opposition MPs say that British school children are taught the right amount, whilst one-in-ten (9%) say that the amount they are taught about British history is too much.


Back in 2013, then Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove was forced to scrap his controversial curriculum in response to criticism from teachers and academics who stated that it placed too much emphasis on British history.

Clearly the most recent National Curriculum, published in 2014, has left the majority of MPs on both sides of the house wanting when it comes to educating school children on key British figures and events.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study

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