Swansea University’s Egypt Centre has been recognised in national awards for learning outside the classroom

The Young Egyptologist Workshop staff have been shortlisted in the Learning Outside the Classroom Innovator category in the national Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC).

The awards are presented annually by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) and recognise those people who have had a significant impact on the lives of children and young people through their commitment to providing exciting and inspiring learning outside the classroom (LOtC) opportunities.

Danygraig Primary Young explorers in action!Danygraig Primary Young explorers in action!

Since January 2002, The Egypt Centre has been running innovative Young Egyptologist workshops for children who would not normally visit a museum, let alone one on a university campus! 14 children each month are offered a place on the Young Egyptologist 2-day fun-packed course. Schools from Community First Areas, with a high number of children who are disadvantaged socially or economically, are targeted which supports the Welsh Government’s Anti-Poverty agenda. 

The workshops were used as an example of good practice of tacking social injustice as a case study by Baroness K. Andrews, Culture and Poverty: Harnessing the Power of the Arts, Culture and Heritage to Promote Social Justice in Wales (Cardiff: Welsh Government, 2014). The museum aims to break down barriers that hinder such children taking part and so provide transport to collect the children from school and return them and also provide a buffet-style ‘party’ lunch for each child. 

Alison John, Workshop Leader, helping read role play cards with children‌Alison John, Workshop Leader, helping read role play cards with children from Danygraig primary

The two-day workshop is free of charge and children get a coloured folder of their completed work, a photograph of their group dressed up as ancient Egyptians, and all art and craft materials are provided by the museum. The course aims to motivate children to foster a love of learning, to increase self-esteem and confidence through a greater sense of achievement, as well as developing literacy and numeracy skills. ‌

The museum’s child/teacher evaluation shows that self-esteem is built and many children have made repeat visits with family members to show off their knowledge. Children gain skills as well as gaining knowledge of the subject of ancient Egypt. The culmination of the course is the Award Ceremony to which teachers, family and friends of the children are invited to see the children being presented with a certificate of their achievement. Each child has their ‘moment of glory’ and schools have reported that the children’s attitude to learning was transformed with an increase in motivation and attention and the quality of the children’s work improved. The impact has seen children volunteering at the museum, going into higher education and being the first in their family to gain a degree and move away from Swansea. Workshops staff includes a Leader and three Workshop Assistants, some of whom have learning disabilities.

Elaine Skates, Chief Executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom said: 

“We believe that every child should be given the opportunity to experience life and lessons beyond the classroom walls as a regular part of growing up. It is clear that Egypt Centre staff are making great strides forward to make this happen, helping LOtC to grow and flourish.”

Nominee, Wendy Goodridge said: We are very pleased to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award and are extremely proud of the hard work and achievements of the workshops – to see a life-changing attitude to learning in a child is a great reward. Along with the children attending the workshops all of the staff have benefitted delivering the workshops – building employability skills and self-esteem.   

James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales), who sponsored the LOtC Innovator award said: "YHA is delighted to sponsor the Innovator Award. It shares our passion and commitment to ensuring that young people have brilliant learning experience not only in but outside the classroom."

The winners will be announced at an exclusive LOtC Awards dinner at Ingestre Hall Residential Arts Centre, Stafford on 16th November.

Tickets are available here.