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Schools programme at the official royal residences wins prestigious Sandford Award

Release date: Tuesday, 30 July 2019

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The schools programme at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse has been awarded the prestigious Sandford Award. This is the second time that this accolade, which recognises and promotes quality and excellence in heritage education, has been awarded to all three of the official royal residences.

Royal Collection Trust offers a varied programme of storytelling, guided tours, creative-writing, arts-and-crafts and object-handling for schools, and last year alone welcomed over 75,800 school pupils to the royal residences.

The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality-assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites across the British Isles, and is managed by the Heritage Education Trust in partnership with Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln.

In London, the award recognised the schools programme across the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery. The judges’ report said, ‘The educational programmes offered at Buckingham Palace are first rate and offer young visitors to this iconic site an excellent opportunity to enrich their learning in a world-famous setting with access to priceless resources.’

The judges said ‘Windsor Castle is an iconic site, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, a working royal palace and witness to significant events in British history.  A visit to Windsor Castle provides a stimulating and enriching educational experience that enhances learning across a wide range of topics.  Students of all ages will benefit from a carefully crafted programme, exemplary organisation of visits and excellent resources.  The new learning centre currently under construction will further enhance educational visits. ‘

The schools programme at the Palace of Holyroodhouse was praised for bringing to life the Palace’s rich history. The report said, ‘The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, offers a unique and unparalleled learning experience, inspiring pupils and teachers through a creative learning programme that maximises the national and international significance of this historic site. Pupils are able to get up close to and examine objects owned and touched by some of the most iconic figures in Scottish and British history in sessions that bring the past to life.’

As part of ongoing works to transform the visitor experience, new dedicated Learning Centres are due to open at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2020. For more details of Royal Collection Trust’s schools programme, click here.