About

Making a Mark is a partnership project between eight Tees Valley museums and the National Portrait Gallery. It is part of the Museums and Schools Programme 2012–16 funded by DfE. The programme enables regional museums to develop educational opportunities for local schools by working closely with national museums. It aims to increase the number of high-quality educational visits by schools in areas that currently have lower than average cultural engagement. This work is closely supported by the Arts Council and regional bridge organisations.

In 2015 the Middlesbrough Institute for Modern Art (mima) joined the partnership and developed a project to explore a whole school approach to Arts Award Discover. Mima have trained alongside staff from Abingdon Primary School and then co-planned a Making a Mark Arts Award Discover programme based on their Localism exhibition. We expect 180 students to complete Arts Award Discover through this project, with the aim that the school will continue to run Arts Award in the future.

Making a Mark has already worked with over 280 schools and delivered over 40,000 visits across the partner museums. In the first three years, each class that took part visited for three sessions, enabling a deeper relationship to develop and for a greater impact on students’ work. Since April 2015, schools have been free to choose how many sessions students participate in, but Making a Mark continues to encourage the idea of at least two led sessions for schools using the programme. We feel that this extra time is important in enabling us to offer high quality, active and creative learning experiences.

Our evaluation has shown that almost all teachers taking part feel that the programme has made a real difference to students’ interest in their school subjects and raised their awareness of their local heritage. Encouragingly, strong feedback from teachers also indicated that Making a Mark had directly impacted on the quality of students’ work.

Our feedback from students is that Making a Mark visits make them feel happy, excited, interested and amazed. They enjoy being active in their learning and love learning so many new things.

Beyond its direct work with schools, Making a Mark has also engaged families through school holiday passport programmes and events, provided a programme of teacher twilights and planning support sessions and has enabled participating museums across the Tees Valley to borrow significant works relating to the project to create displays from the National Portrait Gallery collections. Making a Mark provides a set of online resources for any schools interested in using an identity-based approach to exploring local history.

from the National Portrait Gallery collections.
  Making a Mark pilot evaluation
  Making a Mark student evaluation
  Impact and lessons learned
  What difference has MaM made for teachers?
  Teaching and learning approaches
  Core Principles
  Making a Mark at a glance
  Changing relationships with schools: a summary paper
  The emotional impact of museum visits

Most pupils commented that they had written one of the best stories they had ever written and were keen to read their stories aloud to others.

Teacher: Years 5/6

This was the exact experience we were looking for to show our children what life was like many years ago and how again, our area came to be. Along with the Century in Stone DVD we couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Teacher

We want to talk more about local heritage next year and to make children more aware of their local heritage.

Teacher

We went to the beach … to plot rocks on a map …. This was a really good activity, and the children were really engaged…

Teacher

Really impressed at the richness of the resources in the area.

Teacher

We decided on this [topic for next year] because of the help we’ve had from the museums and realised that there are a lot of resources to help us.

Teacher

It extended my learning in many areas and gave me ideas of activities that could be adapted back into the classroom

Teacher

I have been able to link the work we are doing in class to something real, something the children have already seen and it allows them to link the information in their own minds.

Teacher

Our visits to the museum … provided a stimulus and inspired the children and staff to be more creative …

Teacher

As the Year 4 class teacher, I am aware that the activities have lent themselves to the children becoming more inquisitive in relation to history as well as more analytical.

Teacher

They have remembered a lot of the information they learned and the enquiry skills they were taught, which they have used in subsequent History topics

Teacher

It was a brilliant experience. The education staff were amazing and nothing was too much bother for them

Teacher

I felt the session leader was incredibly skilful and obviously experienced…. she knew more about her specialism than I did!

Teacher

Visits to museums are invaluable for the new curriculum , helping children to lead their own learning

Teacher

The education officer put a great deal of effort into designing the sessions around our needs

Teacher

[I’m] more impressed at what is available locally. Why am I going to Newcastle – when there are resources here?

Teacher

We will return when we do the same topic again and plan related aspects into our work next time

Teacher

Our children benefit from practical experiences and this helped them to gain a greater understanding

Teacher