Developing formal education

You can help to develop a wide range of learning experiences for school-aged children by getting involved in national programmes, advocacy and partnerships.

The archives sector offers a wide range of engagement through:

  • class visits
  • homework clubs
  • schools library services
  • virtual learning environments
  • classroom loans collections
  • events and activities
  • professional development opportunities for teachers


In January 2011 the National Curriculum Review was launched in preparation for the new curriculum for all subjects, to be introduced in 2014. This new curriculum will be very different and more rigorous.

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom champions learning outside the traditional classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development for every young person. They provide support to anyone working with young people aged 0-19 to give high-quality educational experiences. They offer a range of resources developed with experts in learning outside the classroom.

Commissioning and being commissioned

‘Attracting, through commissioning, just 0.5% of the £284 billion spent on health, children’s services and adult care, would increase local council budgets for culture and sport by 45%. That figure is too big to ignore.’ Local Government Association (LGA), understanding commissioning, 2011.

Public services are being reoriented around a ‘commissioning model’, to focus on outcomes. All cultural organisation types have made significant contributions which impact children and young people’s lives, well-being and achievements. Commissioning in public service delivery provides new opportunities but also challenges to cultural organisations.

There is now an even greater focus in the public service on showing impact and value for money. The culture sector has made some progress but the research shows that it remains on the fringes of this opportunity. Find out more about commissioning and being commissioned and creating better outcomes for children and young people by improving the commissioning of cultural services.

Henley Review of Cultural Education

In February 2012 the government published Darren Henley’s review of how every child can have the chance to experience a wide variety of high quality cultural experiences. It reviewed:

  • the cultural experiences which should be included
  • how cultural organisations can create an offer which enables schools to provide a broad and truly rounded education for their students
  • how we can ensure that all opportunities are as good as the best

In response, the government will develop a national plan for cultural education in consultation with key partners. The Department for Education is also making £15 million available over the next three years to provide a variety of cultural activities of the highest quality for all students. Read the review and the government’s response in full.

Other resources

Inspiring Learning is a self-help improvement framework for museums, libraries and archives that supports you to:

  • assess your strengths and plan improvements
  • provide evidence of the impact of your activities
  • improve your strategic and operational performance

The Strategic Commissioning cultural learning programme ran between 2009-11 for children and young people in schools. It strengthened partnerships, and built excellence, capacity and economic sustainability in the sector. Read about the practice and learning from this programme.

You can also read about our Education Service, where we bring history to life through our award-winning programme of taught sessions and online resources.

More information and practical advice is available in our case studies section and in our research reports.