Archives are a rich cultural resource and can provide learning opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. In this article, Gwynedd Archives Service explain what their education service can provide.
The Education Service at Gwynedd Archives Service was established in 1974 and formalized a progressive arrangement by the old Caernarfonshire from developing learning packs including photocopies of original documents and photographs relevant to the history of the county.
The Service consists of one Education Officer, and the post is split between two. Both are former teachers, one of which is a qualified archivist. The post is partly funded by a Service Level Agreement with the county’s primary schools with over 90% of the primary schools using the Service.
The work requirements can be divided into three parts. The Education Officer provides material to the schools following an application relating to a specific theme or event. The Officer also visits schools teaching the class with the help of a PowerPoint presentation, which presents the different types of sources that can be used as evidence for local history or for the study of a specific theme. In addition when a school visits the Archives, the Officer takes the pupils around the building and introduces them to original material.
During 2017-2018 120 packs were provided and 105 visits were made leading to 2,639 pupils in the county receiving the Service. According to 100% of teachers who use the Service it improves children’s understanding of their history and heritage. The teachers comment:
“Special – the session has been inspirational for the children and has brought the period alive”
“The children are delighted to have resources and presentations like this, it gives them specialist opportunities and knowledge”
“Additional lessons were made on the subject in the following weeks, using the presentation / sources provided. It gave the pupils a better understanding of social / cultural differences between historical periods and helped them interpret the meaning of the historical sources”
“The materials and presentations promote learning very effectively”
Through the service provided the children foster a range of skills that enrich the work of the schools, supporting the National Curriculum and promoting cross-curricular work and contributing to pupils’ attainment.