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School one of eight to be recognised nationally for local heritage teaching

PUBLISHED: 06:30 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:52 24 September 2020

St George's primary school pupils exploring Burgh Castle volunteers from the NAT Beyond the Walls project in 2016. Photo: St George's Primary

St George's primary school pupils exploring Burgh Castle volunteers from the NAT Beyond the Walls project in 2016. Photo: St George's Primary

Archant

A Great Yarmouth primary school is one of eight in the country to be given “Champion Heritage School” status for its commitment to teaching pupils about “what makes where they live so special”.

Head teacher Melodie Fearns (left) with pupils of St George's Primary with their Heritage Champion Award. Photo: St George's PrimaryHead teacher Melodie Fearns (left) with pupils of St George's Primary with their Heritage Champion Award. Photo: St George's Primary

St George’s Primary and Nursery, on St Peter’s Road, recieved the prestigious award from Historic England in recognition of its efforts to educate students about the history of the town.

After signing up to the Heritage Schools pilot programme in 2012 St George’s has “embraced local culture” by embedding history into every day teaching - and will now receive £1000 from Historic England to carry the project forward.

Head teacher Melodie Fearns said: “Here, we aren’t just a school but a family.

“We see the wider town and its community and heritage as part of that family.

St George's primary school pupils marching to Burgh Castle with volunteers from the NAT Beyond the Walls project in 2016. Photo: St George's PrimarySt George's primary school pupils marching to Burgh Castle with volunteers from the NAT Beyond the Walls project in 2016. Photo: St George's Primary

“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.

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“We look forward to helping inspire others to get involved and enjoy their local heritage too.”

Heritage-led events run by the school since 2012 range from film showcases, murals and heritage treasure trails, school research into First World War heritage to the welcoming back of a refurbished school memorial plaque.

But now, Historic England wants the school itself to help lead heritage-based learning - and inspire other schools to do the same.

In a statement, Historic England said: “These projects could involve testing new local heritage education resources, developing a panel of young heritage ambassadors and sharing best practice in heritage teaching.”

Kate Argyle, manager for Historic England in the East of England said: “St George’s is thoroughly deserving of Champion Heritage School status and will serve as an inspiration to other schools looking to incorporate local heritage into their curriculum.

“Research has shown that knowledge of local heritage gives children a sense of pride and identity about where they live - and an understanding of how it fits into the history of the nation.

“Exposure to local heritage also has a positive effect on mental wellbeing.”


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