Sandford Award Ceremony 2017 at the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms, Bath

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 Durham Cathedral, Blenheim Palace, The National Gallery and The National Maritime Museum.


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 this 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 below to download our criteria and the Judge’s Handbook, which includes guidance on what the judges are looking for.


Sandford Award Criteria and Judging

Judging Handbook 2019

Guidance on Replicas and Artefacts




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