Northumberland National Park centre’s £10k education boost

An artist's impression of The Sill.
An artist's impression of The Sill.

Ahead of Northumberland National Park’s Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre opening to the public this summer, its education programme has received a £10,000 boost from Sir James Knott Trust.

The grant is supporting the development and delivery of The Sill Partnership Schools Programme, which combines classroom learning with a range of workshops connected to nature, history, arts and conservation which are delivered in the Park by a team of engagement and education officers.

A pilot of the three-year programme is currently underway with eight primary and middle schools from rural and urban locations across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

Sarah Glynn, Sill Manager, said: “While the National Park welcomes an impressive 1.4 million people annually, we’ve also experienced an 11 per cent decline in the number of young people visiting since 2007.”

She added: “We firmly believe that a strong and diverse education programme is critical in re-engaging young people with our landscapes. The educational and personal development benefits to youngsters connecting with the outdoors are limitless. It’s our aim to use the Park’s amazing landscapes to contribute to the curriculum and inspire a new generation of landscape and nature enthusiasts.

“The Sill is the focal point of our ambitious activity programme which is being delivered across the entire National Park and beyond. Since 2015, we’ve already engaged more than 26,000 people through activities and events, including educational activities, public events and training.

“We want to build on this through the education programme and the creation of strong working relationships with the teaching community to ensure every aspect is highly relevant and engaging to meet the needs of the schools and guarantee the best educational and personal outcomes for their pupils.”

In addition to its £10,000 education grant, Sir James Knott Trust also donated £50,000 to the capital phase of The Sill project.

Vivien Stapley, Trust Secretary, said: “The Trust is a long-standing supporter of The Sill project and is delighted to assist with Northumberland National Park Authority’s exciting plans to use its landscape, heritage, and cultural assets to deliver learning and experiential opportunities for young people throughout the region.”

Schools currently taking part in first stage of The Sill Partnership Schools programme are Hexham Middle, Northburn Primary, Shaftoe Trust Primary, Branton Primary, Greenhaugh First School, Harbottle Primary, Broomley First School and Hawthorn Primary.