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Leicester’s King Richard III Visitor Centre has been honoured with an award in recognition of its contribution to British Heritage education for schools.

The Sandford Award acknowledges curriculum-linked educational opportunities offered by heritage sites across the British Isles. Two independently judged assessments were carried out at the Centre earlier this year which found it to offer an “assault on the senses and emotions.”

Photo Credit: King Richard III Visitor Centre
Photo Credit: King Richard III Visitor Centre

Managed by the Heritage Education Trust in partnership with Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, the assessments focused on the delivery of engaging tours, developed in partnership with educational professionals, offering high quality resources and services that promote the understanding of local and national heritage.

On allocating the award, the Judges described the Centre’s schools’ programme as one that “leaves pupils with a rewarding appreciation and respect for historians, archaeologists and scientists in bringing up to date the stories of real people concerning the life, death and discovery of an English King.”

They added: “It is told through meaningful exhibits and interactive displays, which highlight the story of the accession and subsequent death in battle of Richard III, alongside a telling contrast to the achievements of those who led to the discovery and identification of his remains.”

Photo Credit: King Richard III Visitor Centre
Photo Credit: King Richard III Visitor Centre

Opened in July 2014, the Centre operates as a not-for-profit organisation, reinvesting any surplus funds into furthering the educational opportunities available. The award comes as the Centre enters into a new academic year.

Learning and Interpretation Manager, Rachel Ayrton, said: “We are delighted to receive this award which recognises all the hard work that has gone into building up our schools’ programme over the past two years.

“We have an enthusiastic team at the Visitor Centre who make school groups feel welcome on a daily basis. We are also lucky to have the support of a generous group of teachers who give up their time to help advise us on the development of our schools’ programme. I hope everyone involved feels as pleased as I do at this award!”

The King Richard III Visitor Centre takes its place in the Sanford Award 2016 Winners list among the likes of The Mary Rose Trust, Stonehenge-English Heritage and the Tower of London.

By Jennifer Morris

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