Since April this year (2013), I have been working with the Schools and Colleges and Widening Participation teams here looking at schools and heritage outreach in relation to Richard III. Our aim has been to provide activities and resources to schools all over the UK.
This began as simple ideas, bringing local primary schools onto campus to take part in archaeology and genetics sessions explaining how the some of the science behind the discovery works. In that one week we saw over 500 primary school children in our labs. Many of these children hadn’t really heard of the University, but now are planning their education with going to university as an option.
The Richard III discovery has inspired so many schools to look at the Wars of the Roses and the life of Richard III, and in so many different ways. Bridge Junior School in Leicester ran a children/parent programme that took them on walks around the sites in Leicester and explored local and family heritage. Thanks to the help of that school we now have a set of primary lesson plans and are building resources to go with these. (These are free to download from our website, here.)
Soon we will be launching a competition that the School of English have devised called “Now is the Winter…” where local Leicester & Leicestershire secondary schools will be invited to re-interpret the opening soliloquy of Shakespeare’s play and send it in to us. There will be a wealth of teaching resources available for this as well, hopefully some imaginative entries. It is just unfortunate that we have to limit this project to the local area, but we had to look at the technical issues around dealing with entries we might receive.
I also receive requests from schools all over the country. We try and accommodate as many requests as we can within reason! The dig team are enormously busy with their day to day work, and also with talk requests so unfortunately can’t accept every invitation to visit.
Next time, Scouts, Brownies and Guides…