Heritage Education Service (HES)
We fund the Heritage Education Service (HES) and it's part of our Isle of Wight Heritage Service.
The HES can support learning establishments by providing the following services:
- planning and leading visits to Newport Roman Villa, Cowes Maritime Museum, and the Guildhall Museum of Island History
- planning and leading educational activities at Carisbrooke Castle Museum
- outreach activities working with you and your class in your school or elsewhere in the community
- lending artefacts and educational material for you to use in your classroom
- free support and advice – we are happy to offer advice on how the Isle of Wight Heritage Service can best support your school. We have a number of free resources that relate to the Island’s heritage and offer free lesson preparation and pre-visit planning.
Download and view the HES Activities for Primary Education Groups (PDF, 683KB, 5 pages).
All sessions can be adapted to suit the needs of your students. We are happy to develop new workshops to suit your needs.
For more information or to book any of these services, email the Heritage Education Officer, email@example.com.
Museums and Schools Programme
The Heritage Education Service is currently contributing to the Isle of Wight Museums and Schools programme which aims to enhance the links between local schools and museums.
Led by our Heritage service, the Museums and Schools programme is supported by Arts Council England and funded through the Department for Education.
For more about the programme, read the information provided on our Island museums.
Carisbrooke Castle Museum activities
We are able to offer educational visits to Carisbrooke Castle Museum for Island educational groups.
Workshops available at Carisbrooke Castle Museum (or in schools) include:
- Life in a Castle (based on sleeping beauty) – learning about Carisbrooke Castle as both a home and a fortress. This is delivered through storytelling, play and artefact handling. Plus self-led photo-hunt to help explore the castle.
- One thousand years in a castle (Carisbrooke Castle Museum or school) – what are the main features of Carisbrooke Castle and how has it changed over time? How was the castle defended? Students will investigate five significant people that lived at Carisbrooke Castle. They will match labels to objects and take an active role in the re-telling of the story of the castle. This workshop can also work well before a visit to the castle. It includes self-led resources to guide you around the castle before/after the workshop.
- Saxons on the Wight – meet two Saxon Islanders and find out what we can discover about them from their burials? Look at the archaeological evidence and recreate their graves with replica artefacts.
- Tudor Times at Carisbrooke Castle – exploring the Tudor remains of Sir George Carey’s (Elizabeth I’s cousin) mansion and Carey’s role as a Shakespeare’s patron.
- I’m a King, get me out of here! – meet Mistress Wheeler, the King’s laundry maid, and help devise escape plans for Charles I. Handle replica civil war armour and explore the issues of the period.
- WW1 and the Isle of Wight (in school or at Carisbrooke Castle Museum) – students will learn about what was happening on the Isle of Wight during WW1, by looking at the artefacts and archives of four Island people. The workshop will look at the impact WW1 had on people. It looks at what happened on the Island on Armistice Day. The workshop will culminate on the creation of a classroom museum using the artefacts and the knowledge gained during the session.
- Carisbrooke Castle continuity and change – this hands-on workshop looks at the changing landscape of the area. It offers discovery in how the castle has changed according to national events and the people that have lived there. The workshop focuses on continuity and change within the castle, as a residence, defensive site, and power-base for controlling the Isle of Wight. (Curriculum links are history and geography.)
Bookings and fees
To book any of these activities, email the Heritage Education Officer.
We can deliver workshops in the museum all year round. We can provide you with self-led activities to guide you around the castle site before or after your workshop when the site is open to the public. There is a charge of £4 per pupil.
All visits to the castle site need an education permit from English Heritage to gain free entry into the castle.
Schools that do not need any input from the Heritage Education Service (HES) and would like a self-led visit at Carisbrooke Castle can still do so free of charge when the castle is open as part of English Heritage’s free education visits offer.
More HES activities and castle visits
Visit our Newport Roman Villa page for information about HES activities at the villa.
Download and view the 2022 to 2023 HES Activities for Primary Education Groups information leaflet (PDF 683KB, 5 pages). All sessions can be adapted to suit the needs of your students. We are happy to develop new workshops to suit your needs.
English Heritage also offers its own discovery visits at the castle. For more information, visit School Visits, Information For Teachers | English Heritage.
Outreach sessions can be provided within schools or other learning establishments on the Isle of Wight. These activities are a great way for pupils to learn about significant historical events, people and places in their own locality. The service can also loan boxes of historic and replica objects to schools to support and inspire work in the classroom.
Workshops available in school
Key Stage 1
Our museum activities are a great way for pupils to learn about ‘significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.’
- Toys in the past (in school) – this hands-on workshop includes demonstrations of original toys such as the zoetrope, jumping jacks and clockwork toys. Students will also play with a wide variety of replica toys, investigating how old toys move and work.
- Victorian pop-up museum (in school) – your pupils become curators, handling, researching and displaying a huge range of original Victorian artefacts. As a finale to the session students create a classroom museum and tour the exhibition.
- Homes then and now (in school) – a comparison of everyday household items with role-play and a handling session. Items investigated include a hand pumped vacuum cleaner and washday equipment.
Key Stage 2
Prehistoric Isle of Wight (in school, the Museum of Island History or Newport Roman Villa) and what was happening on the Isle of Wight during Prehistory? Students will look at the changes in lifestyle and technology from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. The workshop includes handling original flint tools, bison and auroch bones from the Island, corn grinding, axe polishing and making a small Bronze Age style pot. We have the following loans to enhance learning about prehistory:
- Stone Age flint implements – domestic life in the new Stone Age
- IW Neolithic flint implements loan – Otzi the Iceman (late-Neolithic) and Bronze Age Barbie
- Bronze Age axes
- Iron Age costume models.
Mummification and an Explorer’s Treasures! (in school) Looking at how archaeological evidence can tell us about Egyptian burial practices. Pupils can handle an explorer’s original artefacts, take part in the mummification process and handle a mummified hand!
A Roman Excavation (in school, the Museum of Island History or Newport Roman Villa) Exploring evidence through a simulated archaeological dig and placing the Roman Britons in context. Students handle original Roman finds that are uncovered in the Roman layer and decide if there is enough evidence for a Roman villa on the site. This makes a good villa pre-visit activity. It can also be adapted to focus on any period you are studying.
Saxons on the Wight Session (in school, Carisbrooke Castle Museum/Guildhall Museum of Island History) Meet two Saxon Islanders. What can we discover about them from their burials? The main activity is based on excavations at Carisbrooke Castle and Chessel Down. Pupils look at archaeological evidence and recreate the burials. They will use hand crafted replica grave goods and handle the artefacts.
Victorian Pop-up Museum (in school) Your pupils become curators, handling, researching and displaying a huge range of original Victorian artefacts. As a finale to the session students create a classroom museum and tour the exhibition. We can also run this activity for other time periods. They will also learn about the mourning customs of the Victorians using Queen Victoria as an example.
WW1 and the Isle of Wight (in school or at Carisbrooke Castle Museum) Students will learn about what was happening on the Isle of Wight during WW1, by looking at the artefacts and archives of four Island people. The workshop will look at the impact WW1 had on people and what happened on the Island on Armistice Day. The workshop will culminate on the creation of a classroom museum. They will use the artefacts and the knowledge gained during the session.
On the Home Front (in school) This hour and a half session looks at how the war affected schooling and family life on the Island. Activities include:
- air-raid practice,
- stirrup pump drill,
- playing with replica WWII toys
- investigation of many genuine World War II artefacts.
Key Stage 4 and Beyond
Any of the workshops above can be adapted to suit your needs. We also have a wide variety of archives, research materials and sources available free of charge to support the curriculum.
Evacuee Living History Week (20 to 22 June 2023)
What was happening on the Isle of Wight at the beginning of World War II?
Students can experience being evacuated by steam train from the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Gain the experience of a World War II era lesson interrupted by an air raid siren. They will learn about rationing by weighing out weekly rations and mixing powdered eggs. The half-day session costs £12 per student, which includes the train ride. Groups are welcome to stay all day as there are plenty of things to see and do at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
Bookings and fees
To book any of these activities, contact the Heritage Education Officer.
There is a charge of £95 per class for all workshops that take place in school (maximum 32 students per class).
Half-days (morning or afternoon) costs £165 and a whole day in school costs £210. We are happy to adapt workshops to suit your needs.
Museum object loan boxes
The Heritage Education Service can loan items of historical, archaeological, and geological interest to educational groups on the Isle of Wight for a small fee. The material in the loans catalogues comprises of original artefacts, replicas and models on a range of topics from dinosaurs to the 1970s. This facility is available only to educational groups on the Isle of Wight.
Loan boxes can support classroom activities before or after Heritage Education sessions delivered at schools, at Carisbrooke Castle Museum or Newport Roman Villa. For example:
- Prehistory loans – we have the following loans to enhance learning about prehistory: Stone Age Flint Implements Domestic Life in the New Stone Age, IW Neolithic Flint Implements loan Otzi the Iceman (late Neolithic) and Bronze Age Barbie, Bronze Age axes, Iron Age costume models.
- Roman and Saxon loans – we have a very wide range of Roman loans that include original jewellery, oil lamps, bathing items, a hypocaust model, replica clothing and mini-armour. We also have Saxon loans that include pottery with stampers (to re-create your own pot), sets of games, replica coins and jewellery and costume models.
Loan Box catalogue
We have hundreds of loan boxes that cover all periods of history. View the HES School Loans catalogue (PDF, 1.58MB).
Bookings and fees
Loans can be delivered and collected for the cost of £45 (up to eight loan boxes).
To book a loan box or for more information, email the Heritage Education Officer.