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Royal Armouries fights for literacy

Royal Armouries is working hard to help the fight for literacy. This was a focus for our Education team before the Covid-19 pandemic and we are keenly aware that this prolonged absence from school will make the learning gap for some children who are already falling behind ever greater. This is why we are committed to continuing the development of our literacy programme, Mightier than the sword, and we are looking to our local business community to help.

Literacy attainment in Leeds school children is currently below the national average, and as a national museum with our home in Leeds, we want to make a difference. In partnership with Leeds Beckett University, we are pioneering a new literacy programme, which combines the immersive and engaging learning environment the museum offers with our experience of storytelling and live performance to deliver long-term benefit to Leeds school children.

‘Writing is our weakest area – children will now be inspired to write’. Local KS1 Teacher.

Our vision is that every child will be able to access our museum learning experience regardless of socio-economic background. The literacy programme, Mightier than the sword, will provide a learning experience that teachers can build on, giving them more resources to tackle falling literacy levels in our local schools.

Our Mightier than the sword project brings one of the oldest and most enigmatic treasures in the Royal Armouries archive to life – the I.33 manuscript. It is the oldest known European fighting manual anywhere in existence and features the rare illustration of a woman engaged in combat. Our storytellers will involve students in telling the previously untold story of this woman, Walpurgis, using spoken language, drama and creative writing skills.

When the full programme can be rolled out, we will aim to work with approximately 720 local children over the duration of the project (an average of 60 per school). The programme will impact pupils’ attitudes towards writing, transforming it into something exciting which they are motivated to do. The workshop will touch on gender identity, patriarchy, bullying and mental health helping pupils improve their emotional literacy, reflected in their confidence, social engagement and interaction, and approach to creative writing.

Why we need your help

Royal Armouries is a charity. We need your support so that we can develop our online resources at this difficult time and then as soon as we are able, and schools are open, we can provide this free programme to disadvantaged children who are least likely to be able to access opportunities to learn outside the classroom and more likely to fall behind in literacy.

We are inviting businesses both in Leeds and across Yorkshire to help us deliver this vital project. Your financial support – on any level – will help us to ensure that all schools can not only access the programme, storytellers and learning resources for free, but also do not have to find budget to travel to the museum when we reopen. As a charity, Royal Armouries relies on the generosity of our local community to run Mightier than the sword and without it, quite simply, we could not run the programme.

Partnering with the Royal Armouries to support our Mightier than the sword programme is an ideal way to deliver your corporate responsibility strategy in your local community, and help a vital education programme hit the ground running when the museum and schools reopen. We can also offer volunteering opportunities to your team and the opportunity to see the rare manuscript yourself.

As a national brand, Royal Armouries can offer brand accreditation online, on/off site marketing collateral (print and AV), VIP invitations to events and openings, special access to the collection and ‘behind-the-scenes’ experiences, and hosted events at the museum to launch the partnership.

For an informal chat about Mightier than the sword and partnering with the Royal Armouries, please contact Rebecca Lowe, Corporate Partnerships Manager, on