The educational policy of the Trust is determined by its rare combination of resources: the site itself, the timber-frame houses and the archaeological artefacts belonging to the place.
The Blackden Trust offers a range of courses for adults and young people over sixteen. They include both general interest courses and more academic ones that are of particular value to Sixth Formers preparing for university. These courses are listed in our Calendar of events.
We provide intensively-supported courses to small numbers of participants, during which we give them the opportunity to work creatively with primary evidence. This enables them to contribute to the making of history.
The trust organises courses for all ages.
Students are given time to observe and comment on the buildings and on the archaeological materials. They wash unsorted artefacts, and by referring to a type series of locally found pottery, they date and identify the pottery that they wash. At secondary level, students also study aerial photographs, copies of historical maps, wills and probate inventories, which they correlate with the pottery, thereby acquiring a sense of the lives of the people that lived at Blackden and skills that they can apply to other disciplines.
Because the courses are led by academics and supported by graduate specialists, anomalies in the emerging evidence are immediately identified, adding to knowledge of the site. Students experience the excitement of intellectual discovery. Several have returned as volunteers. Those students who wish to become part of the research team are informed of any developments that result from their work and are invited to future events. Their work will in due course be published.
I keep coming back to Blackden because for me, it is an opportunity to immerse myself completely in experiences I couldn't get anywhere else. The atmosphere is one not of passive intake of information, but of collective discovery - ideas spark others, and the overall sense is that one is contributing in some small way to the body of human understanding. The seminars are in stark contrast to the syllabus-constrained learning style encountered in school and college. The place is unique too, having been occupied since the Mesolithic, and has a definite resonance that contributes to the experience of the courses. At Blackden, one cannot help but be inspired.
The benefits gained by students who attend our courses are long lasting and profound. More immediate outcomes can be seen in the creative work that arises after courses organised by The Blackden Trust.
Competitions are closely linked to the resources of The Blackden Trust.
Students who come to courses at Blackden attend:
Alderley Edge School for Girls
Astbury St Mary's C of E Primary School, Congleton
Bluecoat School, Stockport
Goostrey Primary School
Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School
St Mary's Primary School, Newton le Willows
The Manchester Grammar School
Mossley CE County Primary School
Seymour Park Primary School
Sir John Deane's College
Stockport Grammar School
The Quinta Primary School
Upton Heath Primary School
Wellington School, Timperley
Wilmslow High School
Withington High School