About the Sandford Award

The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes in museums, historic houses, galleries, archives and collections, places of worship, natural heritage sites and wildlife parks across the British Isles. The Award celebrates and promotes heritage learning and is named after its founder, Lord Sandford.

Over 500 sites have received an Award since the scheme began in 1978.  They include the Tower of London, Harewood House, St Albans Cathedral and the Museum of Cannock Chase.

The National Trust, The National Trust for Scotland, English Heritage and National Museums in England, Wales and Ireland all submit their properties for assessment, alongside local authorities, independent trusts and private owners.  

The Awards focus on formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools by heritage sites, although recognition is also made of informal learning such as family programmes.  The Awards are made annually and are non competitive.

Benefits for entrants

The Sandford Award provides:

Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire  2019 winner

Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

2019 winner

  • A ‘kite mark’ for high quality education provision which is recognised by schools and other education institutions across the United Kingdom

  • The opportunity to use your award to attract new visitors

  • A detailed consultancy report as part of the expert judging process, which you can use to effect positive change in your organisation

  • The opportunity to attend an award ceremony

  • National recognition among the heritage sector of the personal contribution of you and your staff, which will help to motivate the whole site to develop its good practice further

The scope of the judgement across the six criteria was very useful, focusing on the entirety of our service
— a previous Award winner

Who manages the Award?

The Sandford Award is managed by Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln in partnership with the Heritage Education Trust and has its own record of excellence offering a Masters course in Heritage Education. The Trust is the only body in existence able to provide independent quality assurance to historic properties and collections which run education programmes. Together, these two institutions subsidise the cost of entry to the Sandford Award five-fold in order to cover the cost of the assessment, the reporting process and the presentation ceremony.

2019 Sandford Award winners

We are delighted to announce the 2019 Sandford Award winners. The Heritage Education Trust and Bishop Grosseteste University would like to congratulate all of the award winners. The 2019 Sandford Awards Ceremony will be held at the V&A Museum of Childhood in London on Monday 18 November.

2020 Sandford Awards

Applications for the 2020 Awards will open on 3 December 2019. If you would like to register interest, please contact: sandford@bishopg.ac.uk

The application form will be available to download here from 3 December.

Who we are

Dr Tracy Borman, Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust

John Hamer OBE, Chair, Heritage Education Trust

Jayne Ellis, Sandford Award Administrator, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln


Heritage Education Trust Directors

Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland  2018 winner

Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland

2018 winner

Sue Bennett

Peter Burke

Dr Sharon Goddard

Jean MacIntyre

Dr Mike Maddison

Dr David Souden

Sandford Award Judges

Weston Park, Shropshire  2017 winner

Weston Park, Shropshire

2017 winner

Susie Batchelor

Sue Bennett

Rebecca Bewick

Tracy Borman

Christine Chadwick

Robin Clutterbuck

Judy Davies

Helen Durham

Clare Gittings

Durham Cathedral  2016 winner

Durham Cathedral

2016 winner

Chris Green

Karl Harris

Don Henson

Julian Humphrys

Judi Jones

Julia Lawson-Tancred

Marion MacAuley

Christine MacLean

Caroline Marcus

Castell Henllys Iron Age Village, Pembrokeshire  2015 winner

Castell Henllys Iron Age Village, Pembrokeshire

2015 winner

Jenny Newhouse

Amanda Phillipson

Nina Sprigge

Eric Steed

Julie Taylor

Susan Walker

Jenny Pistella

Louise West

Sandford Award Volunteers

Betty Brown



Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

2016 winner

Bishop Grosseteste University is a registered charity | The Charity Commission Registration Number is 527276. The Heritage Education Trust is a Charitable Company | Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No 2080758. The Charity Commission Registration Number is 297311