Schoolchild at a National Media Museum's animation workshop

ACE launches £3.6m museums and schools programme

Geraldine Kendall, 24.07.2012
Support for 10 regional museums to work with schools
Arts Council England (ACE) has announced details of a new museums and schools programme to increase the number of educational visits by schools to local museums.

The £3.6m programme, which is funded by the Department for Education (DfE), runs from 2012-15 and will support 10 regional museums to work with clusters of local schools, providing young people with access to museum collections and learning resources.

It aims to build on some of the key recommendations outlined in the Henley Review of Cultural Education published earlier this year to engage young people with arts and culture.

Each local partnership will be linked to a national museum, which will act as a mentor to the regional museum, providing additional capacity and sharing expertise.

The programme will not be open to applications; instead, ACE will create the partnerships in areas identified as having low levels of cultural engagement. More details on the locations and partnerships will be released in the coming months.

The scheme follows on from the former Strategic Commissioning programme to support educational partnerships between museums and schools, which was axed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2010.

Museums Association director Mark Taylor said: “It is good to see that the spirit of Strategic Commissioning is to be continued, though there are considerably less resources available than in the previous scheme.”

He added: “Involving nationals and targeting areas of low cultural engagement is good but the relationship between national and regional museums will not be as simple as mentoring by the nationals.

“It is regional museums not the nationals that lead the way in this sort of work. The mentoring could be the other way round.”


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Tim Desmond
MA Member
Chief Executive , Galleries of Justice Museum
27.07.2012, 12:43
The world is changing and it will be important for ACE to recognise that because the nationals receive core funding doesn't mean that they necessarily lead the field in areas such as education. The future lies in a more radical approach as seen in the independents across the country.
Penny Jones
freelance, Engage
25.07.2012, 18:15
I agree with the MA director it is the regional museums and galleries which have very much led the way in education programmes in the past and would probably continue to do so if funding was made avaialble. Strategic Commissioning programmes enabled very small galleries to access money to deliver innovative projects that encouraged engagement by non visiting schools and groups of young people. Museum and gallery education staff know their local communities very well - shouldn't they be the people to consult to find out where the gaps lie and then be enabled to deliver programmes. The assumption that the narionals lead the way is arrogant and misjudged.