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Schools and Colleges

Schools and Colleges

Schools and Colleges

Welcome to the National Portrait Gallery’s programmes for schools

During the Gallery’s closure for major refurbishment we encourage schools to make full use of our Digital Resources and explore the Collections online. To keep up-to-date with our activities and opportunities during closure including the Inspiring People Project, as well as plans for our re-opening in 2023, please sign up to our teacher e-newsletter for more information.

The pequi tree by Simone Strijk © Simone Strijk
The pequi tree (detail) by Simone Strijk © Simone Strijk

Seeing Me Seeing You

Activity Pack

Our photographic portraits activity pack features lots of fun activities to do at school and home. Be inspired by the portraits and try drawing, writing, role playing and taking photographs.

Download the PDF

School by Marcela (aged 17 years) Dagenham, London
School by Marcela (aged 17 years) Dagenham, London

Hold Still

Learning Resource

Key stage 1-5

Teachers and pupils are invited to engage with the stories in the Hold Still digital exhibition, reflect on their own experience of the pandemic, and respond creatively by making portrait photographs. The resource includes discussion points and practical activities accessible for children of all ages and abilities

Download the PDF

Faces and Places

Schools Outreach

During the closure of the Gallery for our Inspiring People project, we are running an outreach programme for schools in seven London boroughs. Through teacher CPD, a resource box and sessions led by artists, Faces and Places enables schools to connect our national Collection of portraits with their local borough, and to explore and discuss identity, representation and history.

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Visible / Invisible Project Film

This new film showcases the collaborative project ‘Visible / Invisible’ between the National Portrait Gallery, The Line and London College of Fashion. The project sets out to inspire secondary school students to consider creative careers and to build young people’s skills and employability..

Watch now

Make Art Films

These short films made by artists offer ideas, advice and skills-sharing for making portraits. Follow the step by step guides to build confidence in a range of drawing and painting techniques.

Make Art

Beyond Black History Month

Explore blogs, film and virtual tours to research and discover Black British History stories and people in our Collection all year round.

Find out more

Elizabeth I by Unknown artist (NPG 5175)

Global Tudors

Teachers’ Resource

Key stage 4-5

This resource looks at Tudor portraits and their connection to empire, identity, and global consumption. Microcosms: Illuminating the Global in Tudor and Early Stuart Portraits explores issues of Global exchange, migration and the beginnings of empire through portraiture.

Download the PDF

David Hockney, “Self Portrait 26th Sept.” 1983, © David Hockney

David Hockney

Teachers’ Resource

Key stage 3-5

Amend to: The resource includes discussion points and drawing activities to promote critical thinking and making in response to Hockney’s portraits of himself and his close friends and family. This resource was created for the exhibition David Hockney: Drawing from Life, and the activities are suitable for the classroom or independent work.

Download the PDF

More for schools

Primary Schools, child drawing in Gallery school workshop

Primary Schools

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Secondary Schools, students viewing Malala portrait

Secondary Schools

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CPD & Teachers’ events, Popular event hosted in Room 20

CPD & Teachers’ events

Join us to hear from guest speakers and work directly with artists

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Resources and Special Projects, Self portrait of Lucian Freud

Resources and Special Projects

Explore our resources and find out about special projects

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News, Photograph of Eleanor Mitchell


The latest news on the Schools Programme

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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).

Staying in Touch

The Gallery in London is currently closed until 2023 for major redevelopment works.

Schools and teachers are vital to helping develop the Gallery’s future programmes and facilities. We would love to hear from primary and secondary schools teachers who are interested in working as expert advisers to shape the new schools programme, resources and teacher CPD programme. If you’re interested in getting involved, being kept up-to-date with our plans and progress or want to be a school ready to book for the grand re-opening in spring 2023 please sign up to our teacher e-newsletter for more information.

Follow us on Twitter and receive regular updates on the Schools Programme @NPGSchools


Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs

Test your memory by playing our matching pairs game. Three levels of difficulty make it fun for the whole family.

Test your skill

Regency familiar faces

Rearrange tiles to uncover sitters from the Gallery's Collection by playing our puzzle game.

Play today

Who do you think you were?

Answer a few lifestyle questions about the Elizabethan period and discover your inner Elizabethan!

Start now