More than school visits: a big opportunity for heritage sites to support schools post Covid-19

Lockdown measures in the UK are continuing to ease.

The government is planning for all pupils to return to school in September.

School visit destinations are reviewing the way that school visits can be delivered and planning new ways to inspire young minds safely.

For many heritage sites, adapting school visits to enable social distancing presents a challenge.

But with the right support and planning, museums, botanic gardens, and other cultural spaces and natural settings have the opportunity to support schools post-lockdown by providing additional space and teaching resources for classes under social distancing.

The Strategy for rapid provision of fit-for-purpose (Primary) School accommodation in existing cultural settings during times of social distancing is a must-read paper if your site facilitates school visits.

The paper shines a spotlight on the My Primary School is at the Museum (MPSM) project, a successful ongoing programme supported by King’s College London which has placed around 500 children into museums, galleries and botanic gardens for up to 11 weeks at a time. Through this programme, the children have received full-time, cross-curricular education.

The projects have ironed out logistical problems including safeguarding; toileting; refreshment; play-times; travel etc. through risk assessments and careful pre-project planning. The project is considered successful. It has been qualitatively evaluated, with significant quantities of raw material backing up a formal report.

Rolling out MPSM is an opportunity not just to meet a need but to provide excellent learning experiences right at the heart of our nation’s rich and varied heritage, art, culture and nature. It would turn our heritage resources into educational assets for a Covid-19 recovery.

The below Venn diagram outlines the many benefits MPSM has:

MPSM Venn diagram

If taken up by local authorities, this would not be a second class, work around kind of solution – it would provide world-class education via world-class innovation.