7.0 The Future -'The First Cohort'

Key points
Success breeds success. The positive response of teachers involved in Reticulum has led to it being advertised throughout the county.
The Website is now being trialled in schools, providing valuable feed back.
Targeting groups which find it difficult to use the resources of the Museum increases the audience for the collection.
There is tension between the success of classroom-based teaching by visiting specialists and the cost of a visit in both time and money.

The initial Project was so successful that interim funding from the AHRB has been used to keep it going until 31st October 2002. This enabled another seven schools, grouped together and known as 'The First Cohort', to take part in the Project in the year 2001-2002. Four schools from the previous year paid a small amount to enable them to continue working in close partnership with the Museum.

This has given us an opportunity not only to learn from our mistakes but also to trial the Website in schools. The response amongst pupils has been enthusiastic. So far the information has been accessible to the majority and several have gone on from the Reticulum site to explore the Museum of Antiquities main site and use the search facility. Children have introduced their parents and, in some cases, grandparents to the Website, and teachers are producing evidence that their pupils are using the site independently for research.

A bid is currently being prepared for Heritage Lottery funding for a new project building on the success of Reticulum. In preparation for this every First School in Northumberland has been approached to assess their possible interest in participating in the Project. Over 30 schools expressed an interest, enough to run for three years, indicating the demand amongst schools for the resources that this sort of project provides. The aim is to target schools in rural areas in particular for whom the difficulties of distance and their small size affect their ability to visit and use the Museum's resources. The ongoing need to generate more funding not only creates uncertainty but is also a drain on time.

One issue in the future will be the tension between the benefit of visiting a museum or site and that gained from having a school-based visit. In many instances schools are finding it more cost-effective in both time and money to have visitors work with pupils in their classrooms, bringing their collections with them. Although the desirability of an external visit is not questioned, the demands of the National Curriculum can appear so rigid that they leave little time to make such a trip.


Last updated: Tue Aug 20 2002

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