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Bringing the Outside in- Schools Encouraged to Discover Local Heritage and Architecture to Bring the Curriculum to Life

Bringing the Outside in- Schools Encouraged to Discover Local Heritage and Architecture to Bring the Curriculum to Life

DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT News Release (046/2008) issued by The Government News Network on

New creative learning programme for schools beginning in September 2008

Exploring the monastic ruins of Fountain's Abbey in Yorkshire, inter-acting with the futuristic design of Leicester's brand new John Lewis, or studying the layout of your local high street could be on the books for children as part of the Government's 'Engaging Places' plan to offer schools ways to connect with their local heritage and architecture.

England's major heritage, architecture and built environment organisations, led by English Heritage and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), have joined forces to trial and develop practical support to schools so that children and young people have more opportunities to understand why buildings and places matter.

Linking with the 'Find Your Talent' programme, which is trialling different ways of offering children and young people a range of high quality cultural experiences for five hours a week, in and out of school; 'Engaging Places' is designed to offer teachers accessible, curriculum linked ways to unlock the educational potential of their built surroundings.

Support available to schools from autumn 2008 includes:

* an on-line resource for schools providing a national database of heritage/built environment curriculum resources, developed by Culture 24
* a national partnership of leading cultural and education organisations chaired by Anthea Case, Chair of Heritage Link and CABE commissioner, that will develop a network for schools and educators providing practical local support and resources over the next 3 years support the new curriculum
* increased support to 'Find Your Talent' and the 'Learning outside the Classroom' manifesto.

The 'Engaging Places' project will be taken forward by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and English Heritage over the next three years.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said:

"The built environment touches us all every day as we walk to the shops or travel to work or school. Buildings and public spaces are not just bricks and mortar, but help to define our history, our identity and the bonds which make us feel part of a community or a place.

"By encouraging teachers to engage with their built surroundings, schools will help young people have a better understanding of what makes a good building or a great public space.

"I am delighted that the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and English Heritage have agreed to take forward 'Engaging Places' over the next three years and that Anthea Case has agreed to chair its National Partnership Board. Through strong links with heritage and built environment organisations, supported by high-quality educational resources, schools will be able to enhance young people's understanding of the importance of place and buildings in our lives."

Matt Bell, director of campaigns and education at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, said:

''Young people care a lot about the design of the products they use in their daily lives, like iPods and mobiles, but we want them to find the same kind of pleasure and intrigue from thinking about the design of buildings and spaces. We are determined that Engaging Places will be the first port of call for teachers all over the country who want to use the built environment to deliver the curriculum in a creative and inspiring way."

Tina Corri, Head of Education at English Heritage, said:

"English Heritage is delighted to be part of this forward looking initiative. By working in partnership, Engaging Places brings together for the first time the enormous wealth of practical, curriculum-linked resources for working with the built environment, both historic and contemporary.

"We hope that this will not only enrich the lives of teachers by opening up ways of working creatively with the built environment - linking to history, citizenship, technology and geography - but that it will also make pupils' local heritage and architecture more accessible. Engaging Places will promote the exploration of a sense of place and identity, an understanding of history and of the buildings and architecture that surround us in our changing landscape."

Notes to editors

1. 'Engaging Places' was set up in September 2006 to unlock the learning potential of heritage and the built environment. Its goal is to increase children and young people's engagement with the places where they live and learn by promoting and improving the range of heritage and built environment education services to schools and local authorities across England.

2. Launched in November 2006, the 'Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto' aims to encourage more widespread use of educational opportunities outside the classroom and inspire schools and those organisations that support learning outside the classroom to provide high quality experiences for all young people. Learning outside the classroom is about raising achievement through an organised, powerful approach to learning in which direct experience is of prime importance. More than 1,000 organisations have already signed up in support of the Manifesto vision and many have pledged specific actions to take forward its aims Further information can be found at:

3. 'Engaging Places' will be funded by DCMS, CABE and English Heritage. DCMS will contribute £175,000 in 2008/09, CABE will contribute £50,000pa + office and staff from 2008-11, EH will contribute £20,000pa from 2008-11.

4. Margaret Hodge has invited Anthea Case CBE to chair the project's crucial National Partnerships and Strategy Board that will galvanise the wider involvement of the sector.

5. Anthea Case CBE, chair of Heritage Link and CABE Commissioner. She was chief executive of the National Heritage Memorial Fund / Heritage Lottery Fund for nine years until 2002. She is a member of the regional cultural consortium for the East of England (Living East), as well as a member of the National Trust's East of England regional advisory committee, a trustee of Norwich Heritage and Economic Regeneration Trust and of the Lakeland Arts Trust. She is also the director of the Arcadia Trust. Anthea was awarded a CBE for services to heritage in 2003.

6. In September 2006, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) was commissioned by DCMS and DCSF to research the supply and demand of built environment education in schools. The research focused on three pilot regions (London, the South East and Yorkshire and the Humber). The main finding were:

* There was a wide range of learning activity available to schools across the three regions.

* Providers demonstrated a tangible willingness and intent to supply schools with high quality provision, opportunities and experiences. There was also evidence of a clear demand for built environment education from schools and teachers.

* School staff demonstrated awareness of, and enthusiasm for, built environment education and were familiar with the benefits it can bring to teaching and learning.

* More information is needed regarding the availability of, and opportunities associated with, built environment education as well as advice and guidance relating to how to use buildings and local places can be used in teaching.

* From the teachers' perspective, the development and promotion of a single source of information, particularly if web-based, could provide a useful and effective means of supporting their engagement with built environment education.

* It is important for schools to have someone, such as a practitioner or local authority advisor, who can provide support, inspiration and advocacy for this way of working.

7. A full copy of the report can be obtained by e-mailing:

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