Who we are

We are experts in the teaching of history through original sources.

We believe that school students should be given the same access to original documents as professional historians. This deepens their understanding of how knowledge about past events is constructed. It shows them how historians ‘make’ history and it empowers them to undertake their own research, question received opinion and learn how to distinguish between conflicting interpretations in a 21st century media society.

The Education team combine their years of teaching experience and historical knowledge to produce and deliver exciting, inspiring and fun taught sessions, both on site at Kew and online. We also deliver a professional development programme to help teachers integrate some of our work into their practice.

Students can meet characters from history at a range of sessions delivered by costumed, professional actors. These sessions galvanise students’ imaginations and skills of source evaluation and debate. Our actors provide sessions in the same way as our education officers; via onsite workshop, remote videoconference or virtual classroom. We run actor-led sessions at fixed times throughout the year. Find out more about our sessions or make a booking.

Our online resources aim to cover as much of the National Curriculum we can from Key stage 1 to Key stage 5. We want to make it easy for teachers to access original documents of known provenance and suggest approaches for how they might use them. We offer guidance for working with sources in the classroom with our resources and have a student section on the website to offer help to students including a guide on how to carry out independent research at The National Archives.

We deliberately do not provide ‘the answers’ to the questions we ask on the site. Our aim is instead to help students develop a greater understanding of the concept of evidence and the limits of knowledge.


We’ve been nominated for or won various awards, including:

2014 – Sandford Award for providing outstanding heritage education

2013 – Learning Outside the Classroom Quality (LOtCQ)

2012 – Shortlisted for Educational Initiative Award in Museums + Heritage Awards for virtual classroom

2010 – Best Content Provider, Schools Videoconference User Awards

2010 – Sandford Award for providing outstanding heritage education

2010 – Learning Outside the Classroom Quality (LOtCQ) Badge

2009 – Learning Outside the Classroom Quality (LOtCQ) Badge

2008 – Focal International Award for Best Use of Footage in Non-Broadcast Platform – Focus on Film

2008 – BETT Award for Best Secondary Content – Focus on Film

2008 – Shortlisted for the BAFTA Award for Children’s Learning – Secondary, for Focus on Film

2007 – Jodi Award for web accessibility – Prisoner 4099

2007 – e-Government Awards Finalist

2006 – Shortlisted by The Times Higher Awards for the most imaginative use of distance learning

2006 – e-Government Awards Finalist

2005 – e-Government Awards Finalist

2000 – Pricewaterhouse Coopers Overall Winner Award for Innovation and Risk Management

2000 – Pricewaterhouse Coopers ‘Wow’ Award for Innovation and Risk Management