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Spinning mill is a reel winner

There are two types of school trip. Those that allow students to let their hair down and have a good time and educational outings that bring an extra dimension to classroom work. Finding somewhere for an end of term jolly is easy enough, but finding a place that mixes fun and with real learning opportunities can be a bit trickier.

The Sandford Awards for Heritage Education were set up to help solve this dilemma. The awards have been running since 1975 and they promote high quality educational provision at historic attractions ranging from galleries to museums.

Independent judges, which include former teachers and inspectors visit potential candidates for the award and judge the attractions on the quality of their specialist educational facilities, resources and activities.

Candidates have to do more than produce a few worksheets and they must demonstrate that their activities tie in with the relevant parts of the national curriculum.

Lichfield Cathedral, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Sutton House in London, Norton Priory in Cheshire, Wigan Pier, Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum in Tyne and Wear and Coldharbour Mill, near Cullompton in Devon are among the 19 winners for the 2002.

Coldharbour Mill is a first-time winner of the award and despite its small size, its varied educational programme impressed the judges. Popular events at the mill include a Victorian drama day, where children apply for jobs dressed in period costume, Industrial Inspirations, for art and design sessions, and a hands-on materials and fibres day which gives students experience of spinning and weaving.

Victoria Rogers, the mill's access and museum officer says: "We get about 6,000 visitors a year which is a lot for a small museum. We get a lot of people through word of mouth but the award will help to give us a wider audience."

Like all Sandford award winners, the staff at Coldharbour Mill will have to re-apply for the award in five years time.

Yolanda Brooks

A full list of all 90 Sandford Award Holding Properties can be found on the website of the award organisers the Heritage Education Trust at www.heritageeducationtrust.org

Coldharbour Mill. Tel: 01884 840 960 Email: info@coldharbourmill.org.uk Website: www.coldharbourmill.org.uk

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