The charity has launched a fundraising bid so it can continue offering free school trips giving children hands-on learning experiences across its many attractions.
The charity, which looks after more than 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites, says that providing learning opportunities for school and education groups has never been more important.
Its current schools programme is oversubscribed and there has been an increase in cost per head for educational visits. English Heritage hopes that with more funding, it will be able to make hands-on learning accessible to more children from all communities, continuing to offer free self-led trips to more than 400 historic sites.
“For many children, a school outing is the only chance they get to discover the very places where history was made.”
Dr Dominique Bouchard, head of learning and interpretation at English Heritage
Free visits to English Heritage sites
83% of all school visits to English Heritage sites are free visits. The charity offers free downloadable resources to help support teachers and EVCs when they’re planning a school trip as well as free planning visits.
The remaining 17% consist of immersive, expert-led Discovery Visit workshops. These are available at 27 sites and invite students of all ages to meet characters from the past, role-play, dress up and become history detectives.
English Heritage believes that particularly because of the cost of living crisis, it’s more important than ever to be able to keep offering educational trips free-of-charge.
Why a school trip is the best way to bring history to life
Dr Dominique Bouchard, head of learning and interpretation at the charity, said: “For many children, a school outing is the only chance they get to discover the very places where history was made. Visiting these places, touching the same stones, seeing the same sights and listening to the same sounds as those who made history is the best way to bring the subject to life.
“Learning about the Battle of Hastings in a classroom can never offer the same depth of understanding as visiting the actual battlefield, seeing the landscape and even recreating the fight.
“And the benefits extend far beyond the topic being studied. A school trip to one of our sites can have a lifelong impact on children – it can broaden their horizons, develop their sense of self-worth, enable them to strengthen their relationships with teachers and peers, and so much more.”
Dominique added: “As a charity, one of our main purposes is to provide everyone with memorable learning experiences. Our educational visits are a vital part of this.
“We are one of the only paid-entry providers in the UK to offer free school trips and we do this because we want to instil a lifelong love of learning in every single child. However, over the course of the past three years, the cost of providing school trips for free has increased by 63 per cent and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the charity to absorb these costs.
“Under no circumstances do we want to stop offering free school trips and it is for this reason that we are launching a public appeal to raise much-needed funds.”