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Project information

Darwin Inspired

Taking Darwin's life story as a starting point, his home and his work as an inspiration, helping students and teachers see and learn about the natural world, through their own experience

By the end of 2012

Charity information: The Charles Darwin Trust

The Charles Darwin Trust logo
  • Need


    Students infrequently learn science while in their local environment. They rarely have the opportunity to experience the wonder of seeing and making sense of their world, a discipline at the heart of scientific enquiry.

    Teachers find it difficult to take their classes outdoors because of fears about health and safety, lack of confidence to teach outside the classroom, curriculum accountability, lack of resources and support.


    Programme modules at Down House, Darwin's home, will inspire students and teachers who can then apply what they have learnt back in their schools. We will work with clusters of schools predominantly in urban areas that often have fewer opportunities to learn outside the classroom. We will help students to find excitement and discovery where they might least expect it.

    We will support teachers beyond the day at Down House and provide Darwin Inspired teaching materials, both on and off line.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop the life story model of Darwin the scientist as a doorway to scientific enquiry


    » Learning modules delivered at Down House, using examples from the life and work of Darwin and highlighting Darwin's legacy to contemporary science
    » Activities enhancing students' scientific skills and understanding and supporting their development as independent, insightful, life-long learners
    » Follow up support to teachers, helping them plan and deliver modules in their own schools and communities

    What success will look like

    Success will be introducing 400 students and 80 teachers to Darwin Inspired learning and having worked with 15 schools

    Aim 2

    Creating a network of Darwin Inspired Alumni who will go on to implement Darwin Inspired more widely


    » Retain a Network coordinator to plan and develop a programme of activities (seminars, conferences, social networking) for Alumni

    What success will look like

    Success will be recruitment and development of 100 Alumni in year 1

  • Impact


    Better understanding of the value of direct experience of the natural world in scientific enquiry. Promotion of this within the school curriculum.

    We will sponsor a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of Darwin Inspired learning.


    Risk: Slow take up of programmes. Risk Management: work with clusters of schools; Darwin alumni promote to others

    Risk: Key educators leaving. Risk management: active succession planning and increasing number of freelance Darwin Inspired educators


    Annual review
    Invitations to Down House to view programmes in action

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £115,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £50,000 Fees Network Coordinator and educators
      £30,000 Materials Online and offline
      £25,000 Admin Salary of Darwin Inspired Coordinator
      £10,000 Oversight Proportion of Director's slary

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Garfield Weston Foundation £10,000 Guaranteed
    Evolution Education Trust £20,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Down House and at participating schools


    Students and teachers, almost all from Academies in deprived urban areas

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The calibre and track record of the education team
    The key involvement of Darwin family scholars
    Access to Down House through partnership with English Heritage
    Diverse working relationships with other centres of excellence in science education enrichment and the academic and research communities

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    English Heritage

    Owns and opens Down House to the public Co-develops education programmes on site


    Motivates and oversees work of Education team

Student holding one of Darwin's fancy pigeons

Student holding one of Darwin's fancy pigeons

A wonderful opportunity to engage in cross-curricular learning making links in a variety of subject areas - if only every day was like this.

Primary teacher after a Darwin Inspired day