Villa Real School in Consett, Durham, is a school for pupils aged from 2 to 19 years with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities. The school worked in partnership with Bede’s World in Jarrow to deliver the project. Bede’s World is an open-air museum about Anglo-Saxon life in Northumbria. The Bede’s World website contains further information on the museum and its various exhibits.
A group of pupils chose a variety of ancient crafts to explore and gained practical experience of each in workshops run by heritage professionals at Bede’s World. These ranged from basket weaving and stone masonry to coracle and candle making. The young people also took part in falconry, archery and learned about repairing dry stone walls. They went on to teach pupils from local mainstream schools about their new skills. The project culminated in a traditional fair for the local community.
The young people took ownership of the skills they acquired and set up a mini enterprise as craftspeople. They made traditional gifts using their newly acquired skills and traded these at the fair at the end of the project.
The project gave participants first-hand experience of the heritage of their area and provided an opportunity for the wider community to celebrate the local heritage.