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22 April 2016

Orkney pupils guide the way through centuries of history

Twenty-seven primary school pupils have begun leading guided tours of the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces in Orkney as part of the Junior Guides Scheme.

Orkney Junior guides

Pupils from Orkney’s Glaitness Primary School took to their tour guiding roles for the first time today – Friday 22nd April – at Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, as part of Historic Environment Scotland’s Junior Tour Guides initiative.

The 27 primary six students have been discovering more about their local heritage and perfecting their tour guiding techniques as part of their training over the last few months. Dressed in period costume and portraying characters from the palaces’ past, they’ll now bring history to life through guided tours for visiting school groups and educational visits.

The Junior Tour Guides scheme at Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, which is now in its sixth year, will see the return of Orcadian Scots phrases to the pupils’ script for a second year, building on last year’s partnership project with Education Scotland.

As well as learning more than 50 words of Orcadian Scots, their official tour guide training also saw them develop new skills while learning more about Orkney’s history and culture.

Sylvie Clarke, Learning Development Officer at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Our Junior Tour Guides scheme offers pupils a great opportunity to find out more about the heritage on their doorstep in a fun and engaging way. It’s been fantastic to see how their confidence and knowledge has grown over the course of their training and hard work.

“The Glaitness pupils have shown great enthusiasm for this project and now they’ll put their new skills into action as they help bring the fascinating history of Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces to life for visiting school groups throughout this year.”

This is a joint project between Historic Environment Scotland, and Glaitness Primary School, working with Illuminate UK. The Junior Tour Guide scheme aims to support teachers in implementing the Curriculum for Excellence, whilst increasing community involvement and engagement with local heritage.

Glaitness Primary School’s Anne McRae, said: “The children were really excited about giving their first tour. As well as encompassing so many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence, this initiative is a wonderful way to further develop skills such as speaking in front of an audience. It also allows them to discover and learn more about their local history and culture in a new and exciting way.”

Karen McKenzie, Director of Illuminate UK, added: “The children from Glaitness Primary School approach the project each year with great energy and enthusiasm. In costume and character as the people who would have lived and worked in these wonderful buildings, their tours are informative, fun and entertaining.”

Historic Environment Scotland operate a free visits scheme for schools, colleges, universities and other learning groups. For more information and how to book, please visit the Learn section of our website.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.
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Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (IAD). Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland's position as an "innovation nation", its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

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For further information

Grant Thomson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8603
Mobile: 07580 702 611