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Good to see schools wanting to teach Black Country heritage

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 28, 2014

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IT was refreshing to read the article in The Bugle (April 10 edition) about the primary school in West Bromwich (Newtown) requesting help for their pupils to find out more about Black Country history.

Also pleasing was the response from various local people and I'm sure what each person offered was invaluable to the young children's education.

One of the contributors, Ian Henery, I know personally and there is no one more proactive in spreading the message of the Black Country and its people.

I feel a lot of what is happening at the moment is evolving off the back of the launch of the region's flag and of course Black Country Day.

At Aston University we are working with Robert Hazel at Tipton Library and Dave Brownhill of Black Country Community Radio, on which I co-host a programme, which platforms culture and history within the region.

The aim of this project is to help schools (as the pilot we have three Tipton Primary schools) and all ages to submit poems on the Black Country theme.

The judges include myself, Robert, Dr Urszula Clark at Aston and Jackie Fellows of Fizzog and winners of both competitions will attend a ceremony on Black Country Day, July 14.

This as with the above, and the writing of the song Fly the Flag which I will perform at the National Flag Convention later in the year, are all results of reclamation of identity and pride in the region.

The schools above and those involved in the competition are examples to not only schools but everyone to embrace the many events that we will see this year.

Hopefully, as is the plan for the poetry competition, this forward thinking will spread to all schools and localities in the years to come.

As I move around the region I see so many exciting projects I am involved with, The St Michael's Links Project, The Echoes Project based in Smethwick and the Block Project which is just starting.

These and those like the school noted in the article allow local people with knowledge to share to be involved in what is left for generations to come.

I congratulate the staff and people involved in any project that brings communities and generations together under the umbrella of learning and talking about our region, its past and future.

Let's hope others follow by example so one school can become all schools.

Anyone wishing to contact me can email b.dakin@aston.ac.uk

Billy Spake Mon,

(Dr B Dakin),

Aston University.

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