The Archives Centre has recently had an increasing onsite number of school visits. Through these visits we aim to identify material to show the students which relates directly to their curriculum and the topics that they are studying. We also talk to the students about how to tackle primary sources and interpreting them with confidence. On Monday 24 April the Archives Centre hosted a visit from Oakwood Park Grammar School (OPGS) in Kent.

Students looking at the primary source display in our Reading Room.


Students looking at the primary source display in our Reading Room.

As one of the students said:

“When visiting the Churchill archives, the importance of preserving primary sources for the future was clear. In a world where factual information is increasingly disputed, and sensationalist articles are published with little concrete evidence, primary sources are massively important in making interpretations of History based on evidence that has not been skewed over time.”
— Year 12 Student, Oakwood Park Grammar School.

Students looking behind the scenes.


Students get a look ‘behind the scenes’ at the Archives Centre and even try their hand at moving the mobile racking!

For this visit, we prepared a display of material on three different topics, in particular to help the students with their current History studies and also in preparation for the English-Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition which a number of the students are currently competing in.

The topics this time around were: Churchill and nations with responsibility, Churchill and the United States of America and Churchill and Europe. Due to the size and scope of the Churchill Papers we had plenty of material to choose from!

As well as introducing the students to the Archives Centre, we wanted to give the students some insight into what it is like living and studying at Churchill College. One of the students from OPGS reflected:

“The day itself was interesting as I learnt the differences between colleges regarding accommodation and travelling. I prefer Churchill to Queens’ personally, as it is more modern, you can walk on the grass (the importance of which only becomes aware when it is distinctly lacking), and the staff were exceedingly kind about not imposing any one way of learning on you, enabling your individual freedom. Plus Churchill has the archive, which was incredible.”
— Year 12 Student, Oakwood Park Grammar School

A beautiful sunny day at Churchill College!


A beautiful sunny day at Churchill College!

In partnership with Bloomsbury Academic, Churchill Archives Centre has developed a range of free online resources for schools as we are keen to encourage and support students in engaging with primary sources that relate to their studies. There’s an increasing list of investigations which are relevant to students on UK history courses including the National Curricula for History at Key Stage 3, all GCSE and A Level history courses and Scottish Highers. Studying primary sources relating to these topics is especially relevant to the GCSE environment study and A-level coursework, both of which require students to understand and interpret primary sources.

For information about school visits, please see our policy on Education and Schools.

— Natasha Swainston, Archives Assistant

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