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Frequently Asked Questions



I've got some feedback about the resources on this site. Who can I contact about this?

Please contact the archives that worked with the schools to develop the resources. You can feed back directly to the archives by clicking on the "Feedback on this resource" link on the lists of learning resources pages.

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Will there be more resources like this produced in the future?

This is a stand alone project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund; and there are no plans to add more resources to this site at present. However, the archives involved in this project have developed a range of learning resources which can support and enrich the teaching of national curriculum areas. Archives may also be able to identify and select primary source material to suit your particular needs. Please contact the individual archives for more information.

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What is an archive?

An archive refers to a collection of historical records, and also refers to the location in which these records are kept.

Archives are made up of records (primary source documents) which have been accumulated over the course of an individual or organisation's lifetime. For example, the archives of an individual may contain letters, papers, photographs, computer files, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries or any other kind of documentary materials created or collected by the individual, regardless of media or format. The archives of an organisation (such as a company or government), on the other hand, tend to contain different types of records, such as administrative files, business records, memos, official correspondence, meeting minutes, and so on.

In general, archives consist of records which have been especially selected for permanent or long-term preservation, due to their research value. Archival records are normally unpublished and almost always unique, unlike books or magazines, of which many identical copies exist. This means that archives (the places) are quite distinct from libraries with regard to their functions and organisation, although archival collections can sometimes be found within library buildings.

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How do you know that these resources actually made a difference to pupils' literacy and numeracy skills?

MLA North East have commissioned an external evaluator to assess the difference the project had made to the pupils' learning in literacy and numeracy as a result of the project. Findings have indicated that there is immense interest in the project from both teachers and pupils and there has been progression in attainment.

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How can I get the best from the resources on this site?

Detailed lesson plans and activities are available in Word format, so you can adapt them to suit your needs.

We would advise viewing the medium term plans initially in order to get an overview of each topic and also as a source of ideas for planning work over a period of time.

If you are looking for activities to support the teaching of specific literacy and numeracy learning objectives, use the Learning Objectives search function (link) to identify suitable activities and the sources which accompany them.

The resources on this site are organised around topic areas, linked into National Curriculum history units.

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Why was this project developed?

This project was developed in response to a review of archives education, which MLA North East commissioned in 2004. A number of recommendations were made, including the idea that the archives worked more collaboratively and developed joint regional initiatives. It was also suggested that the archives approach national funding bodies for education projects, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Primary Sources project evolved from these recommendations - developing participatory experiences for children and young people through the use of regional material and skills.

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