Heritage Schools Case Study: Dewsbury Beeline Heritage Trail

Students and teachers learnt about their town’s local heritage and its status as a Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) by taking part in the creation of a Heritage Trail.

Where: Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

Who: 12 schools in Dewsbury

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Intended outcomes

  • Children develop a sense of pride in where they live
  • Children understand their local heritage and how it relates to a national story
  • Children recognise and know about significant sites in their town
  • Teachers are more knowledgeable and skilled with the use of local heritage in the classroom
  • Teachers and children know about their towns Heritage Action Zone
  • Teachers and children understand how the town’s historic environment can boost economic growth by using the historic environment as a catalyst
  • Teachers and children are aware of and invested in the changes in their town

What we did

  • Held a series of six teacher training events working with twelve schools from in and around Dewsbury. Each training session had a specific focus aimed at developing teacher’s local knowledge and they were given guidance on how, when, where and why local heritage fits into the school curriculum.
  • Schools were given presentations by the Principal Local Engagement Officer, the Policy Planner and the HAZ Project Officer from Kirklees Council.
  • Schools were given a Dewsbury map and aerial photograph resource pack to help them discover the history of how the town and how it has changed over time.
  • The schools went a town trail of sites telling the story of Dewsbury, including buildings newly renovated and those due for development.
  • Following the trail and training, 10 sites were selected to create a child friendly trail which could be used by schools and the general public alike. This became The Dewsbury Beeline Heritage Trail.

Challenges

  • Due to Covid-19 a follow up event to launch the trail with other schools had to be held online, instead of in Dewsbury. However, over 35 teachers attended the virtual event from schools beyond the initial cluster of 12 Dewsbury schools.

Successes

  • The training events provided a great way for local teachers to meet the people involved in the town’s Heritage Action Zone project and share in their knowledge of the town’s heritage.
  • The children not only learnt about their local heritage through the trail they also gained an understanding of the role heritage can play in regeneration, making places better for the future whilst celebrating their past.
  • The project successfully brought together people from different professions and sectors of the community with a shared interest in their locality, who might not otherwise have had any interaction.

Next steps/extension activities

  • Schools will use the resources created to design their own heritage exhibitions and trails
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