Primary Schools

Anthony Luvera, (2011) © National Portrait Gallery
Anthony Luvera, (2011)
© National Portrait Gallery

Learning is at the heart of the National Portrait Gallery. The Gallery’s extensive Collection and temporary exhibitions become the ultimate classroom, bringing schools up close and personal with the faces of history and contemporary culture. 

National Portrait Gallery Learning offers a wide range of free, specifically designed education programmes, activities and resources for primary school groups. Our main curriculum areas are History, Art, Literacy, and Music and Dance. Our taught gallery sessions and workshops for Reception to Key Stage 2 are led by a specialist freelance team of artists and teachers. We also provide free supporting resources for self-directed visits and material to aid classroom teaching such as online learning resources and publications. CPD sessions and private views for teachers introduce temporary exhibitions and practical art making techniques. 

Webquests are innovative problem-solving activities for primary pupils, using nine national museum collections to foster enquiry–based learning in a wide number of curriculum areas.  Particular webquests have been linked under session information as follow-up work.


Key Stage 1

Key Stage 1History and Art sessions for Foundation Stage, Year 1 and Year 2 involve active participation in viewing and discussing portraiture, hands-on practical artwork and role play.

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Key Stage 2 - History

NPG 1250 - © National Portrait Gallery, LondonExplore how Tudor and Victorian portraits provide historical evidence through active discussion, role play and practical art work.

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Key Stage 2 - Art

NPG 3938 - © National Portrait Gallery, LondonHands-on practical ready-made and tailor-made sessions for Years 3 to 6 create links between our Collection and pupils’ own artwork.

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Key Stage 2

Key Stage 2Literacy, Music and Dance, and Science sessions use portraits as their starting point to generate active participation.

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SEN schools and units

SENSessions complementing the National Curriculum and schemes of work including, Literacy, Citizenship, History and Art & Design for students and teachers from SEN schools.

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Free CPD for Primary School Teachers

Free CPD for Primary School TeachersEmpowering teachers to deliver and interpret portraiture.

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Data Protection Act 1998: The National Portrait Gallery may take photographs of participants as part of standard gallery sessions. All images will be held securely by the Learning Department. In some cases, these images may be used to publicise the Gallery's services (on the website; promotional leaflets; displays etc.). Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, 1998 you have the right to object to the use of your image for the above purpose. If further information is needed please telephone the Education Department on 020 7312 2483 (BT's Text Direct: 18001).