Schools’ Department

The Schools department is dedicated to providing opportunities to promote students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through curriculum based programmes with a special emphasis on Christian faith; we have recently been awarded our second Sandford Award for excellence in heritage education.

The Sandford Award Administrator wrote to the Department as follows:

"I am delighted to inform you that The Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham has won another Sandford Award.  Congratulations! Our judge, Jenny Newhouse was very impressed by the learning programmes on offer at the site and felt that they were worthy of commendation by the scheme. This was ratified by the Heritage Education Trust Directors."

The Shrine Schools Department was awarded the prestigious Sandford Award in 2013 - accredited by Bishop Grossteste University in Lincoln. As the awards only last for five years a new application had to be made this year. The award is granted for the excellent provision of children and young people's educational visits which is deemed to be making an outstanding contribution to Heritage Education.

In May 2018 two Sandford judges shadowed a school visit of 60 children for a To Be a Pilgrim day. The judges were with us, one in each class, for the day - following our movements, listening intently and talking to the children and their teachers about their experience. At the end of the school visit a meeting with the judges followed to appraise the day and discuss our range of programmes. We submitted various policies and documents for scrutiny to see if the Schools Department met the required standard. Both judges seemed impressed with their visit but we had to wait until July for the decision. Only 50 national sites are given the award each year.

The award ceremony took place in the Tower of London in November. Maureen Howard and Pauline Lovelock accepted the award - presented by the Duke of Buccleuch - on behalf of the Shrine's Schools Department. We were in great company as among the recipients this year were Hampton Court Palace, St Alban's Cathedral and the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. Other Sandford awards are held by Blenheim Palace and the York Castle Museum.

Quotes from the judges' report include:

The session was led by two experienced teachers who had a strong passion for the Shrine and for educating young people.

The flourish of candle lighting and the awe-inspiring Sprinkling at the end of the day explained to the children the 'specialness' that made people travel on pilgrimage.

The Shrine is an extraordinarily atmospheric resource . . . it is steeped in history and significance.

Holding the award means that visiting schools can be assured of a high quality experience at one of the highly rated sites in the country. The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham is formally recognised as an outstanding educational experience at national level.

The Children's Pilgrimage 2019

Listen To Him!

Read the report by the Schools & Young Pilgrims Officer at About/Reports & Reflections

The four photographs at the top of this page were taken at the Families' Pilgrimage 2018.


A New Appointment:

May 2018 - The Shrine is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs Caroline Ward as the new Schools & Young Pilgrims Officer. Caroline is an experienced teacher and as a regular pilgrim herself she comes to the post with a good understanding of the Shrine and of the importance of pilgrimage to Walsingham.

Caroline writes: “ I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be taking up the post of Schools & Young Pilgrims Officer. I am very much looking forward to developing the work which takes place with schools to develop the importance of pilgrimage and devotion to Mary. I am also looking forward to developing strong relationships with local schools and growing the pilgrimage programme for children and families who visit”.

This is an exciting development in the life of the Shrine. We welcomed Caroline to the team in July.

The Schools Office is currently staffed full-time, so please be assured that your email or telephone message will be responded to as soon as possible.

The Schools Department aims to:

  • Offer a professional service to schools, churches and the community through high quality resources, learning opportunities and liaison.
  • Work with teachers, advisors and other professionals towards a common goal of excellence in Religious Education and throughout the whole curriculum
  • Promote pilgrimage, for all, to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
  • Develop Walsingham as an exciting, valuable educational resource for all.

Click here to go to the Schools Programmes' page