Capital’s primary school pupils go underground

29 September 2016

London is set to become a giant classroom for the capital’s primary school children, thanks to a major new initiative being launched by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

More than 1,800 primary schools across all 33 London boroughs will have the opportunity to bring learning to life, inspired by London’s people, places and heritage, in everything from history and poetry to science and art as part of the new ‘Going Underground’ unit on the London Curriculum. This is the first time primary school pupils in the capital will have access to the Mayor’s London Curriculum, which has only been available to secondary school pupils in Key Stage 3 until now.

Inspired by the secrets of underground London, the first London Curriculum teaching resources for primary school children will explore hidden rivers, dungeons, secret war time bunkers and Roman houses, as well as the London Underground’s innovative art and poetry programmes.  Schools signed up to the curriculum will be given access to a brand new suite of resources and opportunities for Key Stage 2, including trips to the Houses of Parliament, the Natural History Museum and Guildhall Art Gallery and Amphitheatre.

The Mayor officially launched the new London Curriculum for primary schools at the London Curriculum Festival today, which saw hundreds of pupils hitting the banks of the Thames and Potters Field, near City Hall, to get a taste of what the curriculum has to offer. Sadiq was joined by Russian philanthropist Yelena Batturina, whose BeOpen Foundation has supported the festival and the roll-out of the programme, which is also supported by the Mayor’s Fund for London, the Mayor’s social mobility charity.

Sadiq Khan said:  “I’m delighted that thousands of primary school pupils from all parts of the capital will have the opportunity to enrich their education through London’s cultural gems and rich heritage. London has been shaped throughout time by people who have come from around the world to make this city their home - from the Romans onwards.

"Our history and culture is a truly global one, so what better way for primary school children to learn, than directly from London’s museums, art galleries and other fascinating institutions. Huge thanks to Yelena Batturina and BeOpen - their incredible support for the London Curriculum truly shows that London is open, as ever, to ideas from around the world.”

Yelena Baturina, philanthropist and BeOpen founder said: "BeOpen is delighted to be involved with this exciting and important initiative from the Mayor of London and the Mayor’s Fund for London. Sharing the capital's vast cultural wealth with those who might not otherwise have access to it will not only enrich young people's lives at the important primary school stage and encourage their creativity; but also, through engagement, help motivate a new generation of creatives and entrepreneurs and help secure the city's future in an increasingly open and interconnected world.

"BeOpen is an international organisation, and London is the most cosmopolitan and open of cities, so we see our involvement with this initiative as both timely and relevant."


Notes to editors

  1. The Mayor’s Fund for London The Mayor’s Fund for London is a social mobility charity. We empower young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire the skills and opportunities they need to secure employment, climb the career ladder and escape the threat of poverty. The Mayor is our patron. Our charitable activities focus on wellbeing, skills, employment and enterprise. We help children and young people play a greater part in the future of London.
  2. Be Open BE OPEN is a cultural and social initiative Founded by Russian businesswoman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Yelena Baturina in 2012. BeOpen works to provide a bridge between young creatives and the professional world. It also encourages collaboration between disciplines to allow ideas to come together; between creativity and commerce; tradition and innovation and between ideas and their fruition. Yelena Baturina graduated from the Moscow Management Institute. She has extensive experience in industrial management. Born into a simple, working class family, Yelena Baturina is a self-made woman who, as a pioneering Russian entrepreneur, created one of the country’s leading development corporations, Inteco.  She sold Inteco in 2011, but continues to expand her business in the sphere of hospitality, investments and development internationally. Yelena Baturina has been playing an active role in charitable causes for many years, supporting important projects in the field of culture, education, arts, design and sports internationally.
  3. ECN, Hilton London Tower Bridge, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP and the Unicorn Theatre are all supporting partners of the London Curriculum Festival.