The Sandford Award is provided by the Heritage Education Trust in partnership with Bishop Grosseteste University and is the only body in existence to provide independent quality assurance for heritage education. Over 500 organisations from across the British Isles have received the award since the scheme began in 1978 and it is currently held by over 200 museums and heritage sites.
This year, the Sandford Award will once again celebrate high quality in heritage education provision from a broad range of heritage sites and services across the wider UK heritage sector including Lincoln Cathedral, Blists Hill Victorian Town, Royal Air Force Museum London, Stonehenge and Wessex Archaeology.
The award focusses on formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities, although recognition is also made of informal learning such as family programmes and outreach. The awards are made annually and are non-competitive.
The newly awarded sites are set to be recognised for their heritage education work at the Trust’s very first virtual event on Wednesday 8 December at 11am; a joint celebration of 2020 and 2021 Sandford Award recipients.
The Sandford Award supports heritage learning professionals to be strong advocates; improving provision and partnership working within their organisation to benefit diverse audiences. The Heritage Education Trust developed a new online approach to the assessment of the Sandford Award in response to the pandemic and will be adopting new ways of working in order to do so effectively.
To achieve the rigorous assessment criteria, organisations must demonstrate the delivery of high-quality heritage education. Applicants for the award carry out a reflective self-assessment of their work, consult with their service users and present evidence of achievement against six assessment criteria. This is reviewed by an experienced peer volunteer assessor and followed up by an assessment of the education service, mentoring, and a report with advice for improvement. Organisations benefit from the process and particularly value the opportunity for constructive, critical review with an experienced peer, and the opportunity to learn through sharing good and effective practice.
John Hamer OBE, Chair of the Heritage Education Trust, said: “The last two years have posed immense challenges for all of us. This year’s Sandford Award ceremony – for the first time virtually – celebrates the success of the heritage sector in general, and the 2020 and 2021 award winners in particular, in overcoming the many difficulties resulting from the pandemic. They are to be warmly congratulated on their achievements.
Professor Scott Fleming, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Bishop Grosseteste University said: “After what the heritage education sector has been through since the spring of 2020, on behalf of Bishop Grosseteste University, I’m delighted that we’ll be able to celebrate the successful Sandford Award recipients for 2020 and 2021.
“It’s always a super event – online this year – when we recognise sector-leading organisations of different kinds from Britain and Ireland.”
The establishments that received the awards in both 2020 and 2021 are as follows:
2020 award winners
Colne Valley Museum
EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum
La Hougue Bie Museum of Jersey Heritage
Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre
St Albans Museum + Gallery
Wirksworth Heritage Centre
World Rugby Museum
2021 award winners
1066 Battle of Hastings Abbey and Battlefield
The Battle of Bannockburn
Beeston Castle and Woodland Park
Blists Hill Victorian Town
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Crich Tramway Village
Discovery Museum & Tyne & Wear Archives
The Dorman Museum
Durham University Library and Collections, Oriental Museum
Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
Head of Steam: Darlington Railway Museum
Jarrow Hall: Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum
Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden
King Richard III Visitor Centre
Layer Marney Tower
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
National Museum of Scotland
Parliament Education Centre
Royal Airforce Museum London
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The National Museum of Computing
A full list of current Sandford Award Holders: https://www.heritageeducationtrust.org/award-holders
The 2022 Sandford Award opens for entries on Monday 13th December. Find out how to apply at: https://www.heritageeducationtrust.org/how-to-enter