Education & Family

English Heritage to receive £2.7m education funding

A schoolgirl at Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire
Image caption The Department of Education wants children to explore local historical sites

English historical sites are to receive funding from the Department for Education to encourage schoolchildren to learn about their local area.

English Heritage is mainly funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, but had its funding cut in the 2010 Spending Review.

It will receive £2.7m to help children understand areas of local significance and how they relate to English history.

Staff with education and history experience will be recruited.

In 2010/11 English Heritage received around three-quarters of its income, £129.9m, from DCMS in the form of Grant in Aid.

But following the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, that proportion will have dropped to two-thirds by 2014/15.

The "Heritage Schools" project "builds on the principles of localism, involving local communities and local organisations in the life of their local schools," the department said.

With the education funds, spread over three years, Education Secretary Michael Gove hopes that children will learn about England's "rich island history".

Image caption York Minister was singled out for mention by Education Secretary Michael Gove

He said examples of local sites that could "bring history alive" were the remains of the Franciscan friary, shattered by the Reformation, in King's Lynn, Norfolk; Europe's largest Gothic cathedral in York; and in Derby, England's first silk mill, built in 1721.

He said children could also explore the Restoration hotel The Duke's Head, also in King's Lynn - which was built to register support for James, Duke of York (later James II) during the exclusion crisis of the 1680s.

Mr Gove said: "All of these are the physical remains of the rich, controversial and thrilling story of England. All belong to the people locally, and local children who visit them will be inspired to delve further.

"We have a rich island story, which can be brought to life by seeing our historical and heritage sites."

Image caption England's first silk mill, in Derby, was built in 1721

With the 100th anniversary of World War I in 2014, the initiative could encourage schools to link up with historical organisations, identifying servicemen who lived locally, or study local war memorials, the Department for Education said.

Local "heritage brokers" will work across clusters of schools to advise teachers in the design and delivery of the curriculum, the department said.

English Heritage said it wanted to "bring history to life both in the classroom and out of it, weaving it into the life of the community and endowing present and future generations of children with a vivid understanding of the place in which they grew up."

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