Pupils research their local history © Historic England
Pupils research their local history © Historic England
Pupils research their local history © Historic England

Heritage Schools Programme Wins Major EU Prize

Heritage Schools has been recognised by The European Commission and Europa Nostra for its work encouraging the understanding of local heritage, connecting children to where they live and linking their own lives with our national story.

The programme began in 2012 and has so far reached over 120,000 students in 250 schools across England.

Heritage Schools supports teachers and education professionals in learning about local heritage and how to embed it in the curriculum.

Teachers who often don’t live in the area of the school are provided with information on the local historical environment, classroom resources and are encouraged to make more use of local archives, libraries and heritage services.

Recent projects

Schools are being supported in learning about the impact of the First World War on the local area, with many schools researching and learning about the significance of their local war memorials.

The Heritage Schools team have supported schools in contributing to Historic England’s First World War Memorial programme by applying to have their local war memorial included on the National Heritage List for England.

So far Fishponds School in Bristol and Charlton Manor School in Greenwich have been successful in their applications, both achieving Grade II listing and both thrilled that their pupils have had the opportunity to engage with, and contribute to, the commemoration of the First World War.

Judges comments

Independent expert juries assessed a total of 187 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 36 countries across Europe.

The jury praised the programme and commented: “Heritage Schools has unlocked local heritage for young people by creating links with heritage sites. The project has also demonstrated to teachers how heritage is cross-curricular and how it can be used as a means to teach many subjects through real world scenarios”

The reach of the project in a European context is considerable and is applicable to any other country. “The project involves a significant number of children and stakeholders in the wider community and focuses on the importance of teaching about cultural heritage at an early stage in school. This is important as it contributes to encouraging the next generation to appreciate the need to protect our heritage.”

As well as reaching schoolchildren themselves, the project has aimed to involve the children’s families in family history projects, an approach which helps to foster civic pride and a sense of local identity in these communities.

Public Choice Award voted for by you!

Heritage Schools will now be considered for one of seven Grand Prix awards along with a final award chosen by the public. 

Members of the public are invited to vote online for their favourite project. Deadline for voting is 8 May 2016.