Awards and Recognition for the Museum’s Educational Programmes
Recently the Museum’s Education Department has been the recipient of a wonderful report in the Times Educational Supplement regarding its Gifted and Talented Programme, and its learning courses, in particular its Pride and Prejudice day course for secondary school students, have been awarded a prestigious Sandford Award for Heritage Education.
The TES article written by Orlando Bird gave a wonderful review of a day spent at the Museum by Year 10 students from the Connaught School at Aldershot. It described how, on arrival, they were given an introductory talk by the Museum’s Curator, Louise West about Jane Austen’s life and works, followed by a group discussion guided by readings from Jane Austen’s own letters. The pupils were given a synopsis of her last complete novel Persuasion, and, after they had been separated into smaller groups, they discussed and analysed extracts from that novel. They then chose one of the extracts to adapt into a short script, and had to consider not only the text but exactly what props, costumes and locations they would need to use in order to bring the script to life. The students’ day at the museum, where they learnt not only about Jane Austen but also about the period in which she lived, helped them to complete this task with sensitivity and with historical insights gained from studying in this unique setting:
“Seeing the table Jane Austen wrote her novels on practically brought her back to life”
was just one of the very illuminating comments made by one of the students during this particular day.
The Sandford Award was made in respect of all the courses currently offered by the Museum. The award is made by The Heritage Education Trust and it was instituted to encourage those responsible for running historic houses and to guide their educational endeavours by monitoring standards. The Sandford Awards were originally run by The Council for Environmental Education, but are now administered by the Heritage Education Trust, which was established in 1983.
A panel of independent Judges assesses entrants for Sandford Awards. The current panel of Judges is drawn from professional educationalists including OFSTED Inspectors, former head teachers, education consultants and heritage property based education officers. The Sandford Award Scheme currently encompasses 200 historic sites within the historical and cultural environments of the United Kingdom and Ireland and includes historic houses, museums, galleries, cathedrals, places of worship, gardens, landscapes and historic artefacts. The Awards are made annually and are non-competitive, and they recognize quality and excellence in the educational services and facilities offered by historic sites. The Award is valid for five years. The citation for the Museum’s award is as follows:
A visit to Jane Austen’s House Museum allows students to walk in the footsteps of a great figure in English literature. The dedicated team makes effective use of partnerships and the resources of the site to bring the author to life and provide insight into her novels.
We are all terribly proud of the efforts made by all the staff and volunteers at the museum who made this award possible, and in particular, praise must go to our Education Officer, Annalie Talent and our Curator, Louise West for all the hard work they do to make these courses enjoyable and valuable experiences for all the school children who attend them. If you would like to arrange an educational visit to the Museum then please contact Annalie on the following email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will be only too pleased to make appropriate arrangements with you.