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Government plans to send bibles to all schools in England

By Tim Sculthorpe

Copies of the King James Bible due to be sent to all schools in England will not have a foreword from the Education Secretary, the Government has said.

Reports about the scheme - planned to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James edition - suggested Michael Gove would write a two-line foreword for each copy.

But in a written answer to four MPs' questions, schools minister Nick Gibb said the copies would not include any words from Mr Gove.

The Government wants to send the bibles to schools and is seeking a sponsor to cover the cost of the project, estimated to be about £377,000.

Mr Gibb said: "The story of the King James Bible, and its impact on the English speaking world, can help pupils - of all faiths and none - better appreciate our language and literature, democracy and culture.

"To mark the 400th anniversary year of the publication of the King James Bible, the Department for Education is sending a facsimile copy to each state primary and secondary school in England.

"This will enable all pupils to understand its place in our nation's identity and history.

"We are working to achieve the best possible value for money and will be fully transparent about the costs when they are finalised.

"We hope this exercise will inspire teachers to teach about the impact of the King James Bible, although there is no requirement on them to do so.

"We are not prescribing every child must read the King James Bible, nor are we prescribing its role in the curriculum.

"Printing will commence in the next few months. There will be no foreword from the Secretary of State.

"We will place a copy of this edition in the library when it is ready for distribution to schools."

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