The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

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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 new photographic portraits activity pack features lots of fun activities to do at school and home. Be inspired by the portraits included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2020 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 lockdown, 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

London Outreach sessions

During the closure of the Gallery for our Inspiring People project, we will be offering an exciting new Outreach Programme 2021-22. Launching in summer 2021, schools in the London boroughs of Brent, Lambeth, Westminster, Haringey, Lewisham, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham will be invited to be involved. Through teacher CPD, a resource box and sessions led by artists and historians, 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.

Find out more

BP Next Generation 2020

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

Virtual Tour

Alayo Akinkugbe, art historian and founder of @ablackhistoryofart, explores key black figures from the Gallery’s Collection.

Find out more

Elizabeth I by Unknown artist (NPG 5175)

Global Tudors

Teachers’ Resource

Key stage 4-5

We are pleased to launch a new resource about our Tudor portraits and their connection to empire, identity, and global consumption, This teachers’ resource 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

This teachers’ resource is designed for use in the gallery or the classroom and explores key themes and drawing techniques in the exhibition David Hockney: Drawing from Life. 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.

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

Get Creative

Develop your art skills

Discover our BP Next Generation short films made by artists. Follow step by step guides in drawing and painting techniques.

Improve your skills

Hold Still

Hold Still photography workshop

Reflect on your own experiences of lockdown through this easy-to-do from home, photographic exercise. 

Watch the video

Draw Like a Renaissance Master

Revisit The Encounter exhibition and learn about Renaissance and Baroque drawing methods and materials.

Improve your technique