Report and Matrix: Aligning heritage science to UK primary science curricula

The report 'Aligning Heritage Science to the Science Curricula' captures how heritage science can contribute to themes of the science curricula of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland for 5-11 year olds.

The National Archives and NHSF commissioned research into how UK national primary curricula can be supported by the interdisciplinary field of heritage science, and how heritage science can help to break down silos between the teaching of arts and sciences, the results of which are available in the report 'Aligning Heritage Science to the Science Curricula'.

The research arose from the 'Full STEAM ahead!' event held in June 2021 which brought heritage scientists and educators together to explore how to maximise the opportunities to use heritage science in learning and education programmes aimed at school-age children. The research and event both contribute to 'Increasing the engagement of school age children with heritage science' which is a desired outcome of the Strategic Framework for Heritage Science in the UK.

The research was conducted in three stages: a review of literature and curricula, followed by interview and questionnaires with heritage scientists, learning and outreach professionals and education providers, then a full synthesis from the results of the first two stages.

The report presents an analysis of the science curricula of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales from ages 5-11 and identifies 14 main themes of scientific enquiry. A series of interviews carried out by the researchers helped to inform how five areas of heritage science map to these topic areas. A matrix has been produced to help educators and heritage scientists identify the opportunities to use heritage science to support curriculum-based learning.

The report draws conclusions as to how heritage science can be used to support the curriculum, which stages and age groups could be targeted through the identification and dissemination of existing learning resources or creation of new ones, and how heritage can be used to engage children with science.

Report: Aligning Heritage Science to the Science Curricula (pdf)

Matrix: Heritage Science / UK national curricula matrix (link)

NHSF's Member Meeting on 22nd September 2022 will explored this research and how it could be used to increase engagement with school age children. See the event programme and summary here.

This research was funded by the The National Archives' Strategic Research Fund and carried out by Thomas Briggs, Catherine Holden and Steve Bennett (March 2022).

UPDATE: In September 2022, the Welsh Government began rolling out a new curriculum, which will likely impact the Wales-specific mapping in these documents. See more information on the new curriculum here.