By Celine West, on 16 November 2012
One of the things we do as part of Learning & Access is outreach work with London schools. This is teaching with objects in the classroom, most often with Primary school children. I have been away from work for a while and returning recently I realized this is something I don’t talk about enough so I’m just going to share some numbers with you about outreach that’s happening now.
In 2 months staff are visiting 23 different Primary schools on 27 different days. They are teaching in 66 classes and are working with 2000 children, children of all ages from 4 to 12 years old.
The schools are spread across 5 London Boroughs and in this 2 months, staff will have spent about 45 hours in total travelling on London transport to and from schools…during which they have will have travelled around 200 miles. Most of that has been on the Tube, some of it on foot and occasionally, when they are forced to take more than one suitcase of objects, in a taxi.
Staff are teaching 8 different topics, mostly with specimens from the Grant Museum of Zoology but also a few Mummification sessions with Petrie objects, a couple of Life in Ancient Greece workshops with Archaeology collections, and one Citizenship & Identity workshop using replicas of equipment used by Francis Galton.
And when I say “staff” what I’m really talking about is one person travelling all over Camden, Islington, out to Newham, to all sorts of schools. Peaceful tiny infant schools with one class in each year group in leafy parts of Camden, rambunctious large inner-city primary schools with 120 children in a year group all excited about their chance to handle objects and talk about them.
Our museum outreach workshops are funded by UCL Outreach and as well as making good use of the collections to inspire young people, as well as helping school teachers to deliver their topics, we introduce the concept of university to a lot of children (several thousand a year, evidently), and a lot of these children live in areas where the idea that they might grow up to go to uni is alien so we’re also raising aspirations.
We’re just starting to do some proper evaluation of this term’s outreach (how best to get 7 year olds to tell us if they’re inspired?) so some time I’ll be back to let you know what we found out.