Learning from the Dearne

This project will aim to use the assets and opportunities that the Dearne Valley has as the starting point for learning.

Opportunities for learning will be woven across the work of the DVLP. The aim is for all projects to support the objective of people learning more about the heritage, environment and biodiversity of the Dearne. The approach to learning will take advantage of the range of venues, sites, education providers and organisations that there are in the area to provide a range of activities for people to learn from.

The Project

This project will aim to use the assets and opportunities that the Dearne Valley has as the starting point for learning.

Learning from the Dearne

Using the cultural and environmental heritage resources of the Dearne to engage people in learning.The learning programme aims to build on the organisations, resources and opportunities that exist in the Dearne to use them as a basis for learning. This will focus on two key strands:

  • Supporting learning outside the classroom through formal accreditation
  • Supporting the achievement of education and qualifications at key sites within the Dearne

Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge

The DVLP will support the accreditation of at least 20 key sites or providers within the Dearne to achieve the quality badge standard. The accreditation through the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom will ensure that sites and providers across the Dearne are recognised for the good quality learning outside the classroom that they offer. The badge has the advantage that it.

  • Significantly reduces red tape for teachers when planning visits.
  • Benchmarks effective risk management.
  • Gives schools the freedom and confidence to incorporate more learning outside the classroom into the curriculum.

There will be development work with the sites to support them in achieving the accreditation. This will include information packs, seminars and direct support. The Badge lasts for two years and the DVLP will look to achieve accreditation again within the lifetime of the DVLP, following an evaluation of its impact and benefits.

Education and Qualifications

The DVLP will support a programme of arts, environmental and heritage learning based on the resources of the Dearne. The River Dearne is a focal point for the DVLP. This is then interconnected with other water courses, washlands, ings and canals across the Dearne. Part of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation (a system of navigable inland waterways) runs through the Dearne Valley.

  • Swinton Lock Activity Centre: An education, arts and environmental centre developed to meet the learning and leisure needs of members of the communities of the Dearne Valley. They are based directly next to the canal. They offer a number of arts, heritage and environmental programmes to both adults and children. The centre also owns two narrow boats used for training and pleasure trips, one of these boats is fully accessible. The DVLP will look to support the refurbishment of one of the narrow boats to ensure it is fully accessible and can also be used for residential courses.
  • John Muir Awards: These awards promote educational, social and personal development through engagement with wild places and involvement in conservation. Whilst clearly having an environmental focus the DVLP will look to integrate this approach with a strong heritage element.
  • Arts Awards: These awards support anyone aged up to 25 to grow as artists and arts leaders. Arts Award offers a flexible framework that can work with any arts, cultural or media activity. There are opportunities to link in with the John Muir Awards, the wider arts programme and meet many of the heritage objectives of the programme.
  • Residential Internships: The existing programme of residential internships operated by RSPB Old Moor will be built upon. Interns will be provided with accommodation at RSPB Old Moor with placements lasting for six months. Generally two thirds of interns tend to focus on conservation work and the other third on public engagement. The DVLP will support on average six internships a year for four years of the programme. Applications to the internship programme will be open to anyone aged over 18 years of age. Based on previous experience of the RSPB over 75% of those on internships find employment after they leave.
  • Learning Resources and Family Learning Packs: The DVLP will assemble site specific education and learning materials for key sites across the Dearne Valley. The aim is to work with the keys sites in developing and assembling resources to support the learning objectives of sites, the DVLP and the HLF. This will not only develop consistently high quality resources that meet the requirements of schools and families but will also develop the skills and understanding of those at the key sites.
  • Learning Resources: The DVLP will provide collections of artefacts and learning materials linked to each site. This will create a range of learning and educational resources for sites across the area, setting them in the wider context of the history and development of the Dearne Valley. This would be a mix of both physical and digital resources available to schools throughout the Dearne and beyond.
  • Family Learning Packs: The learning resources for schools will be adapted for the sites to provide family learning packs for those visiting the sites. These will have common themes and objectives running through them but will be more focused on enjoyment and exploring sites. The linking of the learning resources and family learning packs also creates the opportunity bringing the learning from school into the home. So children on a school visit may then encourage a family visit, creating opportunities to learn with their family about the site and the area. The packs will be tailored to the requirements of each of the various sites, taking a range of approaches.


Locations in the Dearne

All locations that are affected by this project are as follows: