Wessex Archaeology and the Workers’ Educational Association - Press Release

(for immediate release)
New partnership launched to improve English and maths skills through heritage education


Wessex Archaeology and the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) have formed a unique partnership to promote and deliver educational outreach with heritage at its heart. The two organisations share many common objectives about the transformational power of heritage learning. This shared ethos will be celebrated at a launch event at the WEA’s Omega Centre, Portsmouth on 8th February 2016, where Wessex Archaeology Chief Executive, Chris Brayne and Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the WEA are signing a memorandum of understanding.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas will be attending to speak about the Mary Rose and WEA students will be getting hands on with history, helping to show that heritage themes can support the teaching of STEM subjects and literacy. The activities will be supported by Rachel Brown, Wessex Archaeology’s Community & Education Officer, who has been working alongside WEA maths, English and art tutors to integrate archaeology into the curriculum. 
The two organisations have a strong track record of demonstrating the value of cultural heritage and breaking down barriers to engagement by working with those who would not usually be given the chance to take part in archaeology. Last summer Wessex Archaeology joined the WEA at their summer fayre in Clifton, which lies in the most deprived ward in Rotherham. Despite some shyness at first, local children and their parents soon got stuck into the ‘Sands of Time’ sandpit excavation, and all agreed it was a fantastic way to involve the community in asking questions about culture and heritage.


Next the two charities will work together to unearth more exciting opportunities to get local communities, WEA tutors and students involved and continue to demonstrate how archaeology learning can develop a wide range of skills, build confidence and promote a sense of belonging for all communities. Students at the Omega Centre are already busy planning a visit to Stonehenge in the summer term.
Chris Brayne, Chief Executive of Wessex Archaeology: “The WEA and Wessex Archaeology share a belief that knowledge has the power to change lives and that the right to access education goes beyond traditional education. We see this partnership as a means to magnify the impact of the activities of both organisations and to reach new audiences in new ways.
Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the WEA:  “The partnership with Wessex Archaeology is very valuable to our students. It encourages intellectual curiosity and lifelong opportunities to learn which we are passionate about in the WEA. I look forward to seeing the impact on individuals and their communities.
[Pictures: Wessex Archaeology Sands of Time activities helping young learners and their parents get an introduction to Archaeology at WEA Summer Fayre] 
Notes to Editors
Wessex Archaeology
Contact details:
Rachel Brown 
Community & Education Officer
D: 03303 133467
M: 07841 800355
Linda Coleman
Quality and Production Manager
D: 03303 133435
Twitter: @wessexarch
Wessex Archaeology Limited is a charitable company which aims to educate the public in the arts, culture, heritage and science, through the process of archaeology, operating in a wider heritage and environmental context.  It has been in operation since 1979 and is a primary trading charity. It offers a wide range of professional heritage services, to developers, local and national government and others across the UK and internationally. In addition to the public benefit delivered directly by these operations, the surplus generated by the services supports a wide range of community and educational activities.
Wessex Archaeology Ltd is a company limited by guarantee registered in England, company number 1712772. It is also a Charity registered in England and Wales, number 287786; and in Scotland, Scottish Charity number SC042630.
Workers’ Educational Association (WEA)
Contact details
Melissa Nethersole
Press and Communications Officer 
D: 0207 426 3483
Twitter: @WEAadulted
North /Midlands/East Anglia
Sharon Watson
Regional Education Manager, WEA Eastern Region
M: 07966 588317
London, South/South West
Pearl Ryall
Membership and Volunteer Development Manager
D: 01993 844886
M: 07984659291
Amanda Burgess
Centre Manager, Omega Centre PO5 4LP
Tel: 023 9229 1346
Mobile 07712 464486 
The WEA is a registered charity and the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education. Operating across England and Scotland, it delivers more than 9,000 part time courses for a 70,000 people each year, with the active support of 3,000 volunteers. 
The WEA’s Impact Report 2015 looks at progress made against the charity’s four core areas: employability; health and wellbeing; community engagement and cultural education. 
The report demonstrates that adult learning has an enormous impact on individuals and communities. The WEA’s work transforms outcomes for people in deprived communities; reduces social exclusion, increases social mobility and enables families to break the cycle of deprivation.
The WEA’s mission is “a better world, equal, democratic and just; through adult education the WEA challenges and inspires individuals, communities and society.
Registered office: Workers’ Educational Association, 4 Luke Street, London, EC2A 4XW.  Registered charity number: 1112775. Company limited by guarantee in England and Wales no: 2806910.