FUNDING UPDATE NOVEMBER 2022: Over £180,000 has been raised to support the establishment of the National Education Museum


At Easter 2017 the idea of a National Education Museum was agreed by a small group of educators from the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers meeting at the last Conference of the NUT in Cardiff before its amalgamation with the ATL to form the National Education Union. The key aims were set:

• to inform, educate, enlighten and entertain the general public, including those pupils and students in education. 
• to be an independent charity
• to have a museum housed in a building and fully resourced online
• to collect, store and display relevant materials such as general education artefacts, paintings, photographs, documents, banners, books, and pamphlets.

Autumn 2017: The first trustees were recruited, a constitution was drawn up and application made to the Charity Commission for Registered Charity status. Author and educator Gervase Phinn and Rebecca Oberg from Eureka Children’s museum spoke to a small but enthusiastic audience at a Conference in London in November. An artist was commissioned to design a logo. There was a good feeling that the project will succeed.

By Spring 2018 the National Education Museum had been registered as a charity in England and Wales. A bank account was opened and a website and email account established. The collection of artefacts, books, medals, furniture began with items released by the NUT/ATL amalgamation. Awareness raising stands were taken at the last ATL and NUT Spring conferences. The Trustees set to work preparing plans and raising funds

A year later in Summer 2019, the project featured again at the education union conferences and the Trustees began to explore the museum city of Portsmouth, home to the first Ragged School as a base for the museum. An open day was held for children and residents in Portsmouth. In September the trustees spend two days intensive planning assisted by a professional consultant. Then in Autumn, Trustees Hank and Jean Roberts begin a successful fund raising tour of England and Wales. The project begins recruiting Honorary Patrons – Baronesses Morris and Blower, Jim Al-Khalili and Gervase Phinn.

Winter and Spring 2020: A Founder Patron scheme was launched seeking £2500 donors and a target of £250,000 is set for a premises fund. Items of Victorian school furniture are purchased at a knock down price. But where to store them ? Space is rented in Portsmouth. Covid-19 strikes and meetings have to go online. Times were tough, but a lot of progress had been made.

By the summer of 2020 a range of operating protocols had been put in place. Over £40,000 had been raised. It had taken a while but the project was on its feet. Jean Roberts then began to send regular updates to supporters.


DECEMBER 2020: Despite the limits on activity imposed by the Covid pandemic, work continued with online meetings of trustees. Some of the first trustees had stepped down and had been replaced by new trustees including Stephen Morgan, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South. A new website focused on raising the profile of the project had gone online. and social networking accounts opened. Fundraising meetings were restricted by the pandemic but fundraising activity was continuing with the launch of the Founder Patron scheme with promising results. Several artefacts and other items had been collected, catalogued and placed into storage. Financial recording and operating protocols were adopted and put into practice.

JANUARY 2021:Letters and flyers campaign part focused on Districts of the National Education Union resulted in funding of £80,000 through the Founder Patron scheme. Dr Catherine Carroll-Meehan, then Head of School of Education and Sociology at Portsmouth University had joined the Trustees. Trustee Andrew Dunkley had taken charge of the growing collection of artefacts and records. Supporters who had been sorting out their cupboards during Covid lockdown were given the opportunity to sell unwanted items through a Museum facility, proceeds to Museum funds.

SEPTEMBER 2021: Over £100,000 in the bank including a donation of £20,000 from the National Education Union. The Trustees were feeling increasingly confident as the project was growing in strength. Trustee Sheena Wright had begun looking out for premises in which to set up an office with storage space in Portsmouth. Redesigned leaflets and pamphlets were being prepared for printing. Supporters were offered help with staging small scale profile and fund raising events in their own areas. Every little helps.

DECEMBER 2021: Two brochures and a general leaflet had been updated and copies printed ready for distribution next year at conferences in Spring 2022. A profile raising social media campaign was being prepared and in Portsmouth, schools were being invited to take part in a Museum branded local project to describe their experience of Covid lockdowns. Trustee Amanda Martin had taken on the role of Director of a range of Portsmouth based profile and fund raising projects. Plans were beginning to be formulated for a reception at the House of Commons hosted by Trustee, Stephen Morgan M.P.

JUNE 2022 “An important celebration of the power education has to change lives” That was how Stephen Morgan, MP described the National Education Museum project to MPs, peers, journalists, leading figures in education and Founder Patrons at a milestone event for the Museum in the House of Commons on 8th June. In the words of one Founder Patron the event was “uplifting and inspirational and clearly indicates the need to establish the museum”. The event was given front page coverage in the subsequent issue of the Portsmouth News. Read the press release and visit The News Portsmouth online to read the story.

OCTOBER 2022: Over £160,000 in the bank. The House of Commons reception and the subsequent report in The Portsmouth News attracted several new and enthusiastic supporters offering donations, artefacts and ideas. The number of Founder Patrons reached 50, half the target of 100. The Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth gave a brilliant history lesson, in period costume, about the establishment of the Old Beneficial School in the city. Links were established with the British Schools Museum in Hitchin and, most exciting of all, a dialogue has been opened with Portsmouth City Council about possible headquarters premises from which to develop the project further. Read the latest newsletter here.