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Authenticity and Accuracy in Learning Resources

Who we are and what we do

English Heritage is a charity that cares for, protects and interprets more than 400 historic sites across England. Our nationally important monuments, buildings and collections span from prehistory to the 20th century; ranging from prehistoric monuments to castles, palaces and even a Cold War Bunker. At the heart of our mission are five guiding values: authenticity, quality, imagination, responsibility and fun. Together, these help us offer hands-on experiences for visitors of all ages, helping them to discover history where it happened.

The learning team’s role

Education is a core charitable objective for us. Stepping into England’s story at an English Heritage site is a unique learning opportunity that we provide for more than 300,000 education visitors every year. For the learning team, the charity’s focus on educating and inspiring children and young people is a guiding force. It’s also an incredible challenge. To help deliver on these values, we create easy-to-use, curriculum-linked learning resources to support education visits to the sites in our care. All of these are underpinned by deeply held core principles – authenticity and accuracy chief among them. 

We’re continually developing and expanding our range of free-to-access online learning resources and our expert-led onsite programmes. Nationally, we’re the largest provider of free self-led visits for education groups, enabling teachers to curate their own learning experience for their students. Our comprehensive Teachers’ Kits are jam-packed with site-specific historical information, timelines, glossaries, sources and suggested pre-visit, onsite and post-visit activities. Through these resources, we invite our audiences to explore the changing skyline of York at Clifford’s Tower, act like a Roman at Wroxeter Roman City, investigate castle defences at Dover, and much more. We’ve also developed activity trails for sites including Rievaulx Abbey, tie-ins with special events such as the recent ‘Circle of Stones: Stonehenge and Japan’ exhibition, and thematic resources like our Archaeology Learning Pack. Our expert-led Discovery Visits help students delve into a site’s history through hands-on and immersive cross-curricular experiences. All these visits are supported by sound pedagogy, rigorous historical research and accuracy, and driven by interactive and inspiring activities.  

How does Accuracy Matters help us with this?

Authenticity and accuracy are at the heart of everything we do as heritage educators, but we can’t do it alone. We work with our in-house historians and curators, as well as external experts, to ensure that all the learning resources on our website, and those used at sites, offer authentic and accurate windows on the past for our audiences. Our focus on accuracy isn’t just about making sure we’re referencing the most up-to-date historical research – it’s also about consistency in our writing.

Working with Accuracy Matters is a key part of our quality assurance process. With their help, we can have confidence that our core Free Education Visits offer is clear, consistent and conforms to our in-house style guide and brand guidelines. Our Teachers’ Kits are sizeable – running between 50 to 100 pages each – and such large documents need professional proofreading. The attention to detail among the experienced proofreaders at Accuracy Matters gives us peace of mind that any formatting errors or typos in our proofs will be identified. They understand our work and our audiences, but they also have enough distance from our content to ask pertinent questions and challenge our wording choices where appropriate. Their team provides a valued additional sense check that helps to ensure that our resources connect with readers in the best way possible.

What’s next?

With this support, we’ve delivered more than 100 free resources since we became a charity in 2015, as well as supporting resources for our Discovery Visits. We’re looking forward to introducing more exciting projects such as new Teachers’ Kits for Bolsover Castle and Dover Castle, an activity trail at Pickering Castle, and new handling collection resources over the next few months. Watch this space!

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