Dagenham school chosen to help pilot new Historic England scheme to promote teaching local heritage
PUBLISHED: 12:07 24 September 2020
Historic England has chosen a Dagenham school to help pilot a scheme championing the value of local heritage and its role in the national curriculum.
Sydney Russell School is one of only eight in the country - and the only secondary school - to be selected by Historic England for a champion heritage school award, in recognition of its commitment and excellence in teaching pupils about their local heritage.
It received the new award on account of the work it has done through Historic England’s heritage schools programme, which the school joined in 2014.
As a champion heritage school, Sydney Russell will work with Historic England over the coming year on a new schools-led scheme to highlight the importance of local heritage and how it can be integrated into various subjects.
Sydney Russell will receive £1,000 to support this work.
Historic England’s local heritage education manager in London, Helen Spencer, said: “Sydney Russell is thoroughly deserving of champion heritage school status, and will serve as an inspiration to other schools looking to weave local heritage through their curriculum.”
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As this is the first year of champion heritage schools, Sydney Russell will play a key role in shaping the scheme’s activities and future development.
These activities could include testing new education resources, developing a panel of young heritage ambassadors and sharing best practice in heritage teaching.
Sydney Russell School principal Janis Davies said: “Working with Historic England has been a very rewarding experience for staff and students alike.
“It has allowed our students to connect with the history of their own environment as well as develop their research skills and deepen their historical understanding.”
Last year, the school collaborated with the borough archives to create “evacuating Dagenham”, which marked the 80th anniversary of the evacuation of children at the start of the World War II.
Pupils learned about the impact of the war on Dagenham by studying wartime records.
The project featured an event where evacuees shared moving stories of life during the war.
In November 2018, the school hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the centenary of the armistice.
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