Northamptonshire’s renowned heritage site, the Chester House Estate, has donated a special prize to this year’s Milton Keynes Education Awards, potentially bringing history right to the doorstep of participating schools.
Administered by the North Northamptonshire Council and supported by the University of Leicester, the Chester House Estate showcases an impressive 10,000 years of human activity. Notably, ongoing excavations at the site have revealed its significance as a Roman settlement of national importance. Last year, HRH The Princess Royal inaugurated the site, which also houses The Northamptonshire ARC, a cutting-edge facility serving as a publicly accessible archaeological archive containing over 20,000 boxes of materials from approximately 3,000 locations across the county.
To align with the national curriculum, the Chester House Estate conducts learning workshops suitable for various age groups, from Early Years though to secondary and KS5+. These sessions take place on-site and extend to outreach visits to schools. In support of the Milton Keynes Education Awards, taking place on Friday, September 22, the Chester House Estate is offering a special prize. Schools participating in the awards will have the chance to win a free outreach visit, valued at approximately £350, through a prize draw. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and, additionally, all schools that enter the competition will receive a 20% discount on either an outreach visit or an on-site visit.
Detailed information about the topics covered in the workshops, such as ‘The Nene Valley Romans’ and ‘Pre-history in the Nene Valley’ for primary schools, ‘The Artefacts of Archaeology’ for secondary schools, and ‘How do we know about the past’ (tailored to all age groups), can be found on the Chester House Estate website. The Chester House Estate’s Learning Department is enthusiastic about showcasing the educational opportunities available and the advantages of having such a resource within easy reach.
The department was keen to emphasise the site’s historical significance, stating:
“We are on the site of somewhere that was a real, living Roman town 2,000 years ago, and its history applies to all the local towns and villages, such as Stanwick and Raunds. Our workshops are written in line with the national curriculum and utilise real artifacts, rather than replicas, as we try to bring 10,000 years of human activity to life. And it’s not just history, of course—the workshops also encompass geography, science, and the area’s farming history, exploring how it has evolved over centuries to the present day.”
The winning school will have until December 31 to book a visit, which must be scheduled before the February half-term break. The prize includes two one-hour workshops, either for the same class or group, or for two different groups, of up to 32 students. Additionally, the visit can incorporate a whole school or class assembly. Other schools participating in the awards will have the opportunity to book visits on the same terms, with a 20% discount.
Feedback from schools that have previously engaged with the Learning team at the Chester House Estate has been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers praised the age-appropriate activities, plentiful resources, hands-on experiences, and contextualisation of local history through the timeline activity. The inclusion of scents to evoke a sense of bygone eras and the use of geophysical maps as a link.
Feedback from schools that have previously engaged with the Learning Team at the Chester House Estate has been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers praised the age-appropriate activities, plentiful resources, hands-on experiences, and contextualisation of local history through the timeline activity. The inclusion of scents to evoke a sense of bygone eras and the use of geophysical maps as a link to real historical practices were also highly appreciated.
The Learning Department at the Chester House Estate also noted that the programme’s accessibility is a top priority. The team strive to tailor workshops to accommodate the needs of students ranging from early years to sixth form. Furthermore, they emphasise inclusivity for students with visual, hearing, learning or access needs, providing various forms of support during workshops and visits. The department highlighted the cost-effectiveness of the outreach programme, how it eliminates travel expenses, and is confident that all visits to the Chester House Estate, whether through outreach or on-site, are reasonably priced.
The Learning Department aims to engage students in the awareness of this unique educational resource. After the closure of award entries, they will contact schools to provide detailed information, discuss options, and address individual requirements to ensure a tailored and successful experience for each institution and its students.
Find out more about the Chester House Estate and its learning programme via the website chesterhouseestate.org