News & Opportunities

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The Huge History Lesson has been launched

On Tuesday, the British Museum and TES are launched the Huge History Lesson. This ambitious new partnership links the world’s largest network of teachers at TES with museums around the country. The Huge History Lesson is a unique creative competition designed to unlock the incredible stories to be found in museum objects and collections. The project challenges children at both primary and secondary level to develop and submit an inspiring lesson plan based on an object from a local or national museum. The project is supported by Arts Council England.

An introductory film featuring Dan Snow, Neil MacGregor and George the Poet exploring their favourite museum objects sets the scene and is available on the TES site, (www.tes.com/hugehistory) The film challenges students to think about how objects can open up both personal stories and world histories. Objects as diverse as a Russian revolutionary plate, the Sutton Hoo helmet and a bronze plaque from Benin - subject of a brilliant spoken-word poem from George the Poet - are the starting point for students to investigate the big questions of history and their impact today.

The Huge History Lesson is launched to coincide with the Arts Council’s Cultural Education Challenge, a call to action for all arts and education organisations to make cultural education available for all children and young people.

Students can work individually or in groups and are encouraged to select an object from their local museum, or from the Teaching History in 100 objects, site as the basis of their presentation. Once they have devised their response they can enter it in a range of creative formats – video, audio, written and many more –on the TES site. Ideas do not need to be specific to a particular topic or time period but should be designed with their peer group in mind.

Schools are encouraged to work with their local museums either by making visits or inviting museum curators into the classroom. Students have until 11th January 2016 to submit their proposals; the winner will be included in the Huge History Lesson final broadcast in February 2016 which will available to teachers in 197 countries. The student(s) who created the winning entry and three runners up will also be invited to the British Museum for a special, behind-thescenes visit.

The Huge History Lesson is part of an initiative at TES to help millions of teachers make use of cultural resources such as museum objects, exhibitions and archives – both physical and digital. Research has shown that the study of the arts and humanities boosts broader academic achievement whilst at the same time enhancing positive civic values.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said ‘The Huge History Lesson and the Cultural Education Challenge have at their heart recognition of the vital importance of culture in every child’s education and sense of themselves. The British Museum has always sought to use objects to inform us about our past so that we can better understand our present. I am delighted that the British Museum is able to partner with TES on this project and grateful of course for the support from the Arts Council enabling us to make this project a reality’.

Lord Jim Knight, Chief Education Advisor of TES, said, ‘We are excited to work alongside partners such as the British Museum and the Arts Council to create digital connections between millions of teachers and children and these objects that represent our collective history. This is an innovative new use of the TES platform; by putting these cultural objects right into the hands of teachers, we hope to inspire the next generation of students to use the objects in local museums as the startpoint of historical inquiry in their classrooms.’

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “This week we launched the Cultural Education Challenge, urging all those working in arts and education to come together and offer a consistent cultural education for children and young people. The Huge History Lesson is a great example of how arts and culture can encourage creativity across the curriculum, leading to a deeper engagement with learning. So much more can be achieved from partnerships between TES and other cultural organisations. We will continue to work together to develop a wider range of creative engagement across all subjects.”

Visit The Huge History Lesson website