Project information

Cultural learning for a rural community

To enrich lives, enhance cultural understanding and raise aspirations of young people in a rural, relatively isolated community, providing enrichment for students/staff of Soham Village College, partner primary schools and wider community, through a strategic partnership with the Fitzwilliam Museum.

January 2011 - September 2012

Charity information: The Fitzwilliam Museum Development Trust

The Fitzwilliam Museum Development Trust logo
  • Need


    Museum Learning in Soham schools will overcome access barriers, provide children with coherent, positive cultural experience and enhance curriculum delivery. Physical access to Cambridge is difficult: around 70% of students live in the lowest quartile for deprivation in Cambs. Only 13.5% adults are tertiary educated. A disproportionate number of young people are in work without training or under-aspire in post 16 choices. This project aims to raise self-esteem and inspire ambition.


    The project led by the Principal of the College with full governor backing. College staff will work with Museum professionals to devise curriculum enriching experiences for visits to the Museum, primary and secondary level. As well as bringing children and teachers into the museum, museum staff and Cambridge/Anglia Ruskin University student volunteers will undertake outreach work in Soham, including exploration of local Fenland heritage with parents and wider community.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To enrich the cultural experience of Soham Village College students and their community.


    » Organise visits to Museum for every primary child and in Year 7 at College. Children share experience with families building Museum relationship

    Success will be enthusiasm and boosted self-confidence in the Soham community. Professional evaluation with the help of Faculty of Education, Cambridge University.

    Aim 2

    To embed cultural learning in the project schools’ curriculum


    » As a strategic priority for the College, staff will train with Museum professionals to devise appropriate, inspiring cross-curriculum programmes

    Success will be seen in the future school curriculum and teacher feedback/development

    Aim 3

    To provide a cultural focus point in the College


    » Display works of art inspired by the Museum's collection in the College performing arts centre to provide a window into this cultural heritage.
    » Students to lead assemblies using visual aids provided by Museum and its website

    Success will be the physical presence of stimulating displays and student-focused assemblies. Displays of local interest will also build pride in Soham's own culture

    Aim 4

    To engage University student volunteers to inspire ambition/raise aspirations of Soham students


    » After training, Fitzwilliam Society University of Camb/ARU student volunteers will visit College to assist with outreach and peer to peer mentoring.
    » University advocates will work particularly closely with gifted and talented students to inspire ambition.

    Success will be greater motivation among Soham College staff and higher level of academic progression in Soham students

    Aim 5

    To create a working model for Cultural Learning that can be disseminated to other communities


    » College and Museum to share practice with other schools/cultural institutions through their existing regional and national networks

    Success will result in more rural schools engaging in stimulating partnerships with this Museum and other cultural organisations.

  • Impact


    Enrichment of the school curriculum will be demonstrated in staff schemes of work and lesson observations plus the impact on school environment. Training of teachers will give confidence to incorporate cultural learning in lessons. Higher level of academic progression, higher student take up of related subjects at Sixth Form College – History, Classics, Art History etc.
    The Principal is committed to including Cultural Learning as a strategic priority.


    Person-dependent work is not sustainable. Formal partnership between College/Museum will mitigate this

    High expectations among staff/students at College will not be delivered if this proposal is not accepted (due to College/Museum budget levels) 2 years reported success will generate funding opportunities

    Community ownership of project will be encouraged when College/Museum staff, students and families all involved in this fundraising. Positive anticipation will increase buy-in


    Reports jointly by Museum/College/students. Evaluation to include staff commitment, student interest, parental involvement. Full evaluation in final 2 months. Donors invited to presentation of project outcomes at College in Sept 2012. Presentations at regional and national schools conferences

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £46,700

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      Amount Heading Description
      £16,000 Project Manager To coordinate meetings, schedules of visits, budgeting, fundraising, resources, reports
      £3,000 Art Educator To run workshops
      £8,800 Museum Education Officers To devise and deliver programme incl teachers and volunteer students
      £5,900 Supply teaching cover For College teachers bringing groups to the Museum
      £5,000 Transport Coach for classes of College students
      £3,000 Other items Artefacts for display, workshop materials, travel, consultant teacher
      £5,000 Evaluation Professional research & evaluation

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Cambs County Museums Officer £1,000 Guaranteed
    Soham Village College £1,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Fitzwilliam Museum University of Cambridge ( houses world–class collections spanning centuries and civilisations including paintings, ceramics, coins, manuscripts and more. The Museum’s mission is to contribute to society through pursuit of education, learning and research at highest international levels of excellence, by preserving/extending its world-class collections and offering exhibitions/public programmes to engage the widest possible audience


    High impact on the estimated 800 students directly involved. The whole College (1,350 students/200 staff ) through creative curriculum development, in-school activities and displays of artefacts. More than 10 primary schools with 1,500 children. The project could reach 3,000 households in Soham and surrounding villages. Student advocacy will support cascade of project vision and help design appropriate outreach activity for maximum community impact.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Museum is a place of active learning and debate, providing unique and valuable insights into everyday life, society and the human condition Its diverse collection provides opportunities for cross-curricula exploration. Curatorial staff interpret the displays and considerable resources are available on-line. A professional, experienced education team with long record of success. Full information on Museum’s education service on website.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Carin Taylor, Principal, Soham Village College,

    Dr Taylor will provide the strategic direction together with heads of the primary schools and Museum colleagues.

    Dr Des Back, Ex Classics Teacher At Soham, Consultant

    Dr Back will lead in College and ensure communication/implementation across curriculum and with primary schools.

    Kate Carreno, Assistant Director, The Fitzwilliam Museum

    Ms Carreno will take the strategic lead at the Museum

    Julia Tozer, Head Of Education, The Fitzwilliam Museum

    Ms Tozer will liaise with College staff, manage education team and oversee project’s implementation/evaluation.