Published: Wed 7 November, 2018
The children and staff of Belvoirdale Primary School were proud to accept a very special award from Historic England last week. The Heritage Schools Award, supported by the Department for Education recognisees those schools that support and promote local history within their curriculum.
The schools’ most recent work saw pupils getting involved with North West Leicestershire District Council’s (NWLDC) Coalville Clock Tower Project, which worked with local heritage groups to bring the story of the clock tower to life for local people.
The children received a letter from the council’s chief executive, Bev Smith asking for support in the redesigning of Coalville’s Memorial Square.
They then presented design ideas to Bev at the council chambers for an imaginary new square! These remarkable designs, using the latest design software, involved peace gardens and sculptures, together with swimming pools and of course, better wi-fi links!
Ismail Dale from Historic England said: “This award, from Historic England, is to congratulate Belvoirdale Primary School on their comprehensive engagement with local history and heritage throughout the year groups and with special recognition of the work undertaken with Coalville Heritage Society.”
The Coalville Clock Tower Project, which was funded by national lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund, has produced an online education pack which will continue to inspire other children and schools for years to come.
Richard Dax, Headteacher at Belvoirdale Primary School said: "The Memorial Clock Tower and War Memorial Education Pack form a wonderful starting point for any creative practitioner and allows children to fully immersed in the subject.”
Since his arrival in 2016, Richard and his team have celebrated the rich history of Coalville by designing a new school curriculum that links to local history and historic events. “It is vital that children understand the role that local history plays in their development,” added Richard.
Bev Smith, Chief Executive of NWLDC, said: “We have been so impressed with how Belvoirdale has embraced the local history around the school and made it part of the children’s everyday learning. The Coalville Clock Tower Project was a big piece of work for us - taking the story of this important local memorial out into the community in every way we could. Children and young people are a big part of that. It’s important they understand the town’s history and care about its development through time so that they continue to be proud of their town in the future. We look forward to working with Richard and the team on future projects.”
Steve Duckworth, Chairman of the Coalville Heritage Society added: “It was a privilege for the Coalville Heritage Society to work with the children at Belvoirdale and Historic England, it was wonderful that the children had such a good understanding of their heritage and environment which is encouraging for the future of the local heritage.”
Steve Duckworth and Stuart Warburton, local historians and members of the Coalville Heritage Society, are currently working with teachers and children from years 5/6 to discover the remarkable journey of the Palitoy factory in Coalville and its connection to the Star Wars toys of the 1970’s and 80’s. The learning contains a design project with input from Palitoy’s chief designer, Bob Brechin and a visit to the ‘May the Toys Be With You’ Star Wars exhibition at the old factory site.