Photo courtesy of Chris Vaughan Photography


Each site is assessed by one or two Judges; if there are two, they will visit the site together. Judging usually takes place between March and June.  The Judges will contact the applicant to arrange a date for the visit. Prior to the visit,  the lead Judge should be sent a set of the full range of education packs and support materials, including any leaflets outlining the educational services, booking and evaluation  forms, together with a property guide book.

The Awards Ceremony

Awards are presented to the winners at a national presentation ceremony held at one of the winning properties, usually in the November of the year of application.  It is a major event in the heritage education calendar and representatives from all winning sites are invited to attend.  Recent awards ceremonies have been held at Worcester Cathedral, Tower of London and the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms in Bath.


The judging visits must be arranged so that Judges are able to see school children take part in the site’s education programme. In addition, the Judges should be given a comprehensive view of any areas of the site that are used for study purposes or domestic purposes (eg lunch areas, coat and bag storage, etc). The Judges should have the opportunity to meet and talk to staff who are involved in the education work at the property.


After the visits, the Judges will compile their reports.  These are considered firstly by the full Judges’ Panel of the Sandford Award, which then makes its recommendations to The Board of Directors of the Heritage Education Trust for consideration at their Sandford Awards ratification meeting held in July.  Results will be notified directly to the signatory of the application immediately after the ratification meeting. A copy of the Judges’ Report will be sent to each property.  At this point, the property is welcome to issue a press release as appropriate.


Use the links to download our Criteria and Judging information and Guidance on Replicas and Artefacts. To help you prepare for the Judge’s assessment you may find it useful to read our Judging Handbook and watch our Sandford Short with a focus on the judging process. You can find our suite of good practice in heritage education films on the Sandford Shorts page.


Bishop Grosseteste University is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Registered in England and Wales, Company Number 11963500 and Charity Number 1184682 | The Heritage Education Trust is a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Registered in England Company Number 2080758 and Charity Number 297311