Heritage and the built environment

Heritage is in every part of our lives and  is relevant to every aspect of learning, across the whole curriculum. Heritage is local. You could visit one of our great national museums but you could just as easily investigate the buildings, spaces and people in your local town or village. Exploring heritage is about finding out who you are and how you relate to other people. It can inspire confidence, improve understanding and develop life skills such as co-operation and interpersonal communication. Heritage is about how our shared past can help shape our future. Heritage professionals are in the business of discovery. Let them open your students’ eyes and show them the possibilities.

Case studies

Architecture Centre

Has produced Engaging Places: architecture and the built environment, a collection of 14 case studies showing how the built environment can be used as the basis of educational projects. www.architecturecentre.net/downloads/acn-4081927fa4338.pdf

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

CABE exists to promote quality of life for the general public through quality in architecture and the built environment. This section of their website provides a number of tools designed to help teachers explore their built environment as a learning resource. www.cabe.org.uk/teachingresources.aspx

Engaging Places

This Government project brings together a wide range of built-environment learning-providers to help schools find out why buildings and places matter and what services and resources are available locally. www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/Architecture_design/engaging_places

England’s Past for Everyone

A project aiming to bring local history to life, region by region. The schools section has a variety of county-based teaching resources. www.englandspastforeveryone.org.uk/

English Heritage

Offers a wide range of learning provision across the UK. This education section of their website provides a link to Discovery Visits which have been specifically developed as cross-curricular, learning-outside-the-classroom opportunities. www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.1571

Group for Education in Museums

GEM is a source of education research reports that focus on education provision in the heritage sector and include a large number of case studies. The site also has a searchable database of freelance educators. www.gem.org.uk/pubs/pubs_menu.html

Heritage Education Trust

Oversees the Sandford Awards given annually to heritage sites for excellence in education provision. The website contains lists of winners, which are a good source of ideas for school visits, and other links. www.heritageeducationtrust.org.uk

Historic Houses Association

HHA is a membership body for privately owned historic houses in the UK. This part of their site allows you to search for members’ organisations that have education provision www.hha.org.uk/metadot/index.pl?id=23068&isa=Category&op=show

Inspiring Learning for All

Online framework, self-evaluation tool and guidance, describing what an accessible and inclusive museum, archive or library that stimulates and supports learning looks like. Although primarily for museums, archives and libraries, it is also of interest to teachers and group leaders in assessing the quality of a visit. www.inspiringlearningforall.gov.uk

Museums and Galleries Database

Can be searched to find organisations that have provision matching your curriculum requirements. www.teachernet.gov.uk/teachingandlearning/resourcematerials/museums/database

Museum and Gallery Education Programme

Learning through Culture, a guide to good practice, Clarke, Amanda et al (2002) DfES/University of Leicester. This report explores how to use museums and galleries to provide an enhanced learning experience and contains a selection of case studies. www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/1379/ACF20.doc
Phase 2 contains examples of projects in 130 museums
General guidance provides an introduction to DCMS and DCSF policy on children and young people’s learning through museums and galleries. This page provides links to other resources and specific museums. www.teachernet.gov.uk/teachingandlearning/resourcematerials/museums/

The National Trust

Offers extensive education guidance and resources as well as specific education schemes. These include School Arts Partnerships and School Guardianships that seek to connect schools with their local National Trust properties and develop sustainable-learning partnerships with local businesses The Bed Slats Company. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-chl/w-learning_discovery/w-schools.htm

The National Virtual Museum

Provides a comprehensive directory of UK museums, galleries and heritage sites. The website incorporates a museum finder search facility and keeps visitors up to date with the latest news and developments from museums across the country. www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/etc/teah/teahindex_gfx_en.html

Opening Doors: Learning in the Historic Environment

A 2004 Attingham Trust report that looked at the potential for learning in the heritage sector. Case studies include places of worship, archaeological sites, industrial archaeology, country houses and historic towns. www.openingdoorsreport.org.uk

The Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, Leicester University

Produces reports on heritage learning and investigates the potential for learning in museums and galleries. This link gives access to all the major reports published since 2000. www.le.ac.uk/ms/research/rcmgpublicationsandprojects.html