Pupils outside Bradford City Hall holding a banner with the Historic England logo on it.
Pupils outside Bradford City Hall © Historic England
Pupils outside Bradford City Hall © Historic England

Champion Heritage Schools

Our eight Champion Heritage Schools are outstanding schools that have already achieved the Heritage Schools Award and are now co-creating our Champion Heritage Schools scheme with us.

Each of our Champion Heritage Schools has committed to embedding local heritage into the curriculum, ensuring young people develop a sense of place, a connection to where they live, and an understanding of the significance of people and places in local, national and world history.

Our Champion Heritage Schools have delivered some inspiring local heritage projects over the past few years but, crucially, they have also used local heritage across a range of subject areas to develop a curriculum that is relevant to the pupils they teach and the context of their school.

The scheme aims to champion the work of these brilliant schools in each region and promote local heritage learning to other schools across the country.

The Champion Heritage Schools Scheme

  • Our Champion Heritage Schools will work with us to develop and pilot new learning resources that will be made available to all schools for free to download from our website.
  • We will co-create resources for their Young Heritage Ambassadors, in their pupil voice and school council sessions, and we will share these resources across the country.
  • When and where it is appropriate to do so, some of our Champion Heritage Schools will host Heritage Schools training events, in partnership with our Local Heritage Education Managers, to inspire and promote local heritage learning opportunities.
  • We will promote the great projects and activities our Champion Heritage Schools deliver on our website, via newsletters and on social media to help inspire other schools to develop their own local heritage projects.

Find out about the Champion Heritage School in your region of the country:

North East: Breckon Hill Primary School

Breckon Hill Primary School, in Middlesbrough, has been part of the Heritage Schools programme for three years and was one of the first schools in the town to receive the Heritage Schools Award. They have embraced local heritage, embedding it across the curriculum, and delivered heritage projects inspired by the history of the area around them. They also promote the work of local museums and the local heritage work they offer.

Breckon Hill worked with The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum on their first heritage project, which was a school wide exhibition on the life of Captain Cook and his links to Middlesbrough. Breckon Hill used the Museums in the Classroom toolkit, developed by Making a Mark in Teesside, in order to achieve their award.

Their wonderful exhibition inspired both teachers and pupils to develop local heritage further and enhanced teaching and learning across a variety of subjects. The school champions local heritage throughout their network of schools and is delighted to be working with Historic England on the Champion Heritage Schools Scheme.

Understanding local history provides a context in which wider historical changes in society, technology and government can be studied and this is why it is so important to use the history around us, it makes it personal for the children.

Katie Harris, Heritage Schools Lead Teacher Breckon Hill Primary School

North West: Knowsley Junior School

Knowsley Junior School in Oldham, Greater Manchester, has been part of the Heritage Schools programme for three years. It was the first school in Oldham to receive the Heritage School Award. The school has embraced local heritage; embedding it across their history curriculum and using the local area to enhance learning in other subjects.

Local history displays, throughout the school, also inspire thinking and debate amongst the students about what their area was like in the past. The school has delivered a variety of inspiring local heritage projects, for example on the commemoration of the First World War and the Suffrage Movement. They champion local heritage through their local network of schools and are delighted to be working with Historic England on the Champion Heritage Schools Scheme.

The focus on history around us helps children to make connections between local and wider historical events. This not only helps to instil a sense of pride in the area in which they live, but also provides the vital context the children need to understand the impact historical events had on the world, as well as on their home town and ancestors.

Stephen Potts, Heritage Schools Lead Teacher Knowsley Junior School

Yorkshire: Peel Park Primary School and Nursery

Peel Park is a large primary school in the Bolton and Undercliffe area of Bradford, which has a rich and diverse history. The school takes its name from Bradford's first public park named after former Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel.

Peel Park is an excellent example of a school that has embarked on a whole school approach to locality learning.

It is especially important for our children to understand their local and wider heritage. It strengthens their sense of identity.

Harjyot Haye, Heritage Schools Lead Teacher Peel Park Primary School and Nursery

Each year group focused on a different local feature. This resulted in a progressive sequence of learning that enriched their existing curriculum plans.

Learning began on the ‘doorstep’ with the significance of Peel Park, including the Sir Robert Peel statue and the surrounding Victorian housing. Pupils in KS2 were introduced to both recent and historical maps of the area. They visited the terraced housing of Guy’s Cliffe and examined census records to explore how life was different in the past.

Older pupils visited Undercliffe Cemetery, a significant Bradford site where a number of residents such as mill owners and mayors are buried. They also went beyond their locality to visit Saltaire, to learn about its significance as a world heritage site.

West Midlands: Dawley Brook Primary School

Dawley Brook Primary School is located in Kingswinford, near Stourbridge, in the Black Country. In summer 2019, the staff and pupils at Dawley Brook received a Heritage Schools Award, after completing an excellent whole-school local heritage project. This focus on local heritage has now become embedded in the school’s curriculum plan and has enhanced teaching in all subject areas. The school started with an Armistice Centenary project in 2018, based on families’ links with the First World War.

Following some Heritage Schools training, the different year teams planned schemes of work based on key local heritage themes on the school’s doorstep. These included glass manufacture, coal mining, Lord Dudley and the Stourbridge Workhouse. The school has hosted two Heritage Schools training events, enabling several Dudley schools to embark on their own heritage project planning.

On being nominated as the Champion Heritage School for the West Midlands, 

Learning about local heritage has brought a depth to our curriculum where our children learn about their place in time and the local area. It has captured the knowledge and enthusiasm of our wider community. This is really exciting for our school. We are really proud of our local heritage and think it’s ‘bostin’ that we have been recognised in this way!

Lisa Maskell, Head Teacher Dawley Brook Primary School

East Midlands: The Hall School

The Hall School, Leicestershire, has been part of the Heritage Schools programme for two years and, last year, they achieved the Heritage School Award. They have embraced local heritage, embedding it across the curriculum, and use the local area to enhance learning in a variety of subjects. They have delivered a variety of inspiring local heritage projects, such as taking part in a mock suffragette rally where they sang suffragette songs, marched with banners and delivered speeches to the crowd.

The children have taken part in an archaeological dig with Leicester University at Bradgate Park. The history of the school and Glenfield Frith Hall (which previously stood where the school is currently situated) is also explored. Each year group has the opportunity to visit a local heritage site or use local history resources in the classroom.

Guest speakers are regularly invited to school and links have been made with heritage organisations.

The Hall champions local heritage throughout their area and is delighted to be working with Historic England on the Champion Heritage Schools Scheme.

Using local heritage makes history relevant, real and fun. Being a part of the Champion Heritage Schools Scheme will allow us to delve more deeply into how we can harness the resources at our fingertips and make links with other schools in our area. We’re very excited!

Caroline Chester, Heritage School Lead Teacher The Hall School

East of England: St George’s Primary and Nursery School

St George’s Primary and Nursery School is a thriving multi-cultural community school, situated in the seaside town of Great Yarmouth. One of the very first schools to join the Heritage Schools Programme at the start of the pilot in 2012, the wonderful headteacher and staff of this warm, caring school have embraced every opportunity to engage with, and embed, local heritage and culture into their teaching and to celebrate what is special about the town their children live in.

Ambitious projects from films, murals and heritage treasure trails; whole school research into WWI heritage and welcoming back their refurbished school memorial plaque are just a few highlights. The school has played a key part in supporting Heritage Schools and has built a strong partnership with other schools and local cultural and heritage organisations.

At St. George’s we feel we are not just a school but a family - we see the wider town, its community and heritage as part of that family. I feel it is an honour to have been nominated to be a Champion Heritage School and I am extremely pleased that the hard work of the staff, children, parents, Governors and community partners has been recognised at a National level. We look forward to helping inspire others to get involved and enjoy their local heritage too.

Ms Melodie Fearns, Head Teacher St George’s Primary and Nursery School

South West: Two Mile Hill Primary School

Two Mile Hill Primary School is a large multi-cultural school in the Kingswood area of Bristol, and has been a Heritage School for over three years. In each of these years, they have dedicated a whole week to exploring their rich local history with children from every class in the school, from Reception to Year Six.

The range of projects covered has been extraordinary, from the legend of a locally-buried Elephant to First World War Soldiers to Coal mining heritage - to name but three.

Each year the children have welcomed a variety of visitors, including former pupils and local historians, to enrich the children’s understanding of their local heritage. Most classes have also had the opportunity to take their learning outside of the classroom by visiting local sites and museums.

The children have shared their learning in a variety of ways including curating a school museum and creating film trailers for a particularly gruesome local story. They champion local heritage throughout their local network of schools and are delighted to be working with Historic England on the Champion Heritage Schools Scheme.

We are extremely proud at Two Mile Hill Primary School to have been given the opportunity to become a Champion Heritage School in the south west region. During the last five years, our children have become really involved in the hands-on opportunities which have enabled them to bring their learning to life. Through encouraging them to engage with the community to find out more about what came before them, we believe that we are helping them to have a sense of belonging in their local area. We can't wait to get started!

Vickie Parker, Heritage Schools Lead Teacher Two Mile Hill Primary School

London & South East: The Sydney Russell School

The Sydney Russell School is an "All Through School" in Dagenham, East London. They joined the Heritage Schools Programme in 2014. The school celebrates its own rich history and has strong links with the local community.

In November 2018, the school hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the Centenary of the Armistice. Through this expressive arts project, Sydney Russell supported several new schools in Barking & Dagenham to achieve the Heritage Schools Award.

In 2019, the school collaborated with the borough archives to create “Evacuating Dagenham”. This marked the 80th anniversary of the evacuation of local children at the start of the Second World War. Pupils found out about the impact of the war on Dagenham by studying local wartime records such as the local bombing map. The highlight of the project was an event where former evacuees shared moving stories of life, during the war, with local pupils.

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. We are very proud at Sydney Russell to have been chosen as a Champion Heritage School and are excited about the opportunity to work even more closely with Historic England this year.

Janis Davies, Principal The Sydney Russell School

Heritage Schools Team