A £406,500 grant will help Bishop Grosseteste University to improve the educational impact of museums and heritage sites across the East Midlands.

The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will contribute to the The Sandford Learning Cascade Project, a four-year scheme which will encourage up to 14 Sandford Award winning sites in the region to support staff training at less developed heritage sites.

The Sandford Award, established in 1978 by Lord Sandford and the Heritage Education Trust is administered by BGU. The award aims to reward excellence in heritage education. Recent award winners include Gainsborough Old Hall, Belton House, the Newark and Sherwood Museum Service and Normanby Hall.

Sandford Learning Cascade has three innovative strands: ‘Sandford Scholarships’ will see staff from less developed heritage sites visit Sandford Award-winning sites and collect a digital record of best practice there. What the scholars learn during their time at the award-winning sites will help to develop new education programmes and enhance existing ones.

‘Sandford Cloud’ gives heritage professionals and volunteers in the region access to the expertise of Sandford Award judges around the UK, through the development of an on-line learning resource known as ‘Sandford Cloud’.

Finally, Sandford Our Take is an exciting new award scheme to recognise high quality informal and family learning in the region. Museums and historic sites will be encouraged to develop new opportunities in partnership with the communities they serve.

The project has been five years in the making and Jean MacIntyre, Head of Innovation at BGU, is delighted to receive the £406,500 grant, 76% of total project funding. “The HLF gave us a grant for the development phase which went extremely well and involved a number of local museums and heritage centres,” said Jean. “The sites told us the project had changed their whole way of thinking about heritage education and we expect the next phase to be even more influential.

“The HLF has been very generous and imaginative in recognising the needs of people working in the heritage sector as opportunities for training have diminished, so this is an ideal opportunity to increase the knowledge, skills and understanding of people working at a range of heritage sites.
“The Sandford Learning Cascade project will be a significant contribution to meeting BGU’s knowledge transfer and public engagement aims across the region as well as establishing the Sandford Awards as a dynamic, positive force for education training in the UK.”

Project Co-ordinator Adam Clarke, who was responsible for writing the bid as well as project piloting, research and development, said: “HLF should be congratulated for backing this cutting-edge learning project.

“BGU and the Sandford Award will be working with museums, heritage sites and a range of other partners across the East Midlands to develop high-quality educational resources for the benefit of children, schools and families throughout our region.”g

2nd December 2014