Jersey Heritage has won a prestigious national award for its educational work with schoolchildren at the ancient site of La Hougue Bie. The charity has been given a Sandford Award for Heritage Education and is one of only 13 heritage organisations to achieve the award this year.
Recipients hold the award for five years and in announcing Jersey Heritage as one of the 2020 winners this week, the judges said: “La Hougue Bie is ‘Europe's finest example of a Neolithic passage grave’. Besides the impressive monument itself – 18 metres long, with enough space for a full class of children to go inside – the site includes a Neolithic longhouse reconstructed according to experimental archaeological techniques and opportunities for visitors to experiment with Stone Age technology, chopping wood, grinding corn and weaving wattle walls. The heritage education service offered by Jersey Heritage makes the most of the experiential opportunities at this internationally important site and is fully deserving of its first Sandford Award.”
The Sandford Award has been celebrating high quality heritage education since 1978 and is the only scheme that provides independent quality assurance to sites across the British Isles that run formal education programmes. The awards, which are administered through Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln in partnership with the Heritage Education Trust, focus on formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools by heritage sites and services.
Helen Otterwell, Jersey Heritage’s Learning & Engagement Manager, runs the education programmes at all Jersey Heritage’s sites, including La Hougue Bie, and said the team was delighted to receive national recognition.
She said: “La Hougue Bie is a wonderful place to welcome young learners to and it’s a joy to see them experience heritage on such a hands-on basis, not only seeing the original
artefacts in the Museum but visiting the Passage Grave and then using the Neolithic Longhouse, where volunteers help the children try out Neolithic activities.
“This award is a national kite mark standard of heritage education and is a recognition of the enormous impact that heritage can have on local children learning about their Island and their history.”
Louise Downie, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Curation & Experience, added: “This award is well-deserved recognition for Helen Otterwell and the La Hougue Bie team, who have demonstrated how, even through difficult times, hard work and commitment to bringing the Island’s heritage to the public continues to pay dividends for our visitors of all ages.”