Learning Consultancy Services for The Box, Plymouth

Deadline Monday 04 September 2017

THE BOX, Plymouth  




1.     Introduction


The Box, Plymouth (formerly the ‘Plymouth History Centre’) is an exciting large-scale cultural project designed to create a step change in the way Plymouth tells the story of its heritage and histories and that of the regions. The centre will have a total of 3,500 square metres of gallery and exhibition space, including seven galleries, four temporary exhibition galleries for local and national touring shows, a study centre and two learning spaces – one to used by the University and the other by the programmes team of The Box[1]. Community learning and participation is at the heart of the project and the public engagement has been central to the development of the plans to date.


2.     Background to the project


The Box, Plymouth is a transformational project creating a place and experience where people can discover rich and diverse collections, explore their creativity and share their stories with the world.


The project brings together four collections into a new and sustainable home – objects from Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery (PCMAG), archives from the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office (PWDRO) and film and photographs from the South West Television and Film Archive (SWFTA) and the South West Image Bank (SWIB).  This blend and richness of collections will enable the local and regional story to be told in a way that has never been possible before and will generate a range of creative and imaginative activities, ignited by the sheer breadth and depth of the collections.


The Box will have people at its heart.  They will help shape its fabric and content and be active participants, enabling The Box to grow and evolve, through responding to their needs and ideas.  It will be a place where people can learn, participate, make, socialise, eat and shop.


The Box will embrace the existing PCMAG building and the adjacent library, plus a striking new build.  A new public square will be created in front of the main entrance as a performance space and as an outdoor room to sit and relax.  Opening up Tavistock Place allows The Box to include a refurbished St Luke’s to be converted to a large art gallery that will open up Plymouth and the South West peninsula to major touring exhibitions. The contemporary extension to the museum is designed to stand out and announce the importance the city places on protecting its precious archives.


The galleries will celebrate and explore subjects such as Plymothians who have been influential on the world stage such as Drake and Scott of the Antarctic; the city’s relationship with the Royal Navy; life in Plymouth below the waterline, including marine life and shipwrecks; Plymouth’s prehistoric landscape and the West Country’s artistic legacy, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Cottonian collection and the Newlyn School of Artists. A major Mayflower exhibition will feature when the centre opens in time for Mayflower 400 in 2020.


There will be also be multi-media spaces using the latest technology to enable people to explore the thousands of images and films that form part of the South West Image Bank and the South West Film and Television Archive.


The galleries will be animated by workshops, talks, tours, trails and quests, but The Box will reach out to the wider region with a programme of community projects, community resource boxes and pop up displays and activities at events.  There will be a full range of training and volunteering opportunities and a brand new schools service will be launched in September 2019.  The schools service will be developed around the gallery themes and provide on and off site resources for schools in Plymouth and the region.


The Box will cost £34 million and will open at Easter 2020.


3.     The scope of the work


In order to realise the learning potential of the collections for schools, Plymouth City Council would like to appoint a Learning Consultant to support The Box’s learning team to conduct market research, and develop and pilot a formal learning programme of facilitated sessions, for all levels from Early Years to KS5.


This consultancy will contribute towards achieving aim 3 of The Box’s HLF Activity Plan:


·       Capture the imagination of school children and students through innovative formal learning programmes that use the History Centre’s collection and expertise to meet the needs of learning providers.


The schools service will be charged for. Our research with teachers tells us that schools would expect to pay for a quality service that supports teaching and learning across the curriculum.


During the development phase of the Activity Plan, we have spoken to teachers from the Plymouth History and Science Hub who have guided our plans to this point. We have also consulted with Primary aged children via the HMS Heroes initiative and Woodlands School teaching staff and School Council.


In addition, we have reviewed peer organisations’ schools programmes, and have reviewed the planned content of the new galleries in The Box.


This research has enabled us to write a draft formal learning programme. Much more in depth audience consultancy, followed by detailed development of the formal learning programme of facilitated sessions, is now required.


This brief for a consultancy service is split into two stages. The stages can be completed by a single, or two separate, consultants. The consultancy service is to:


Stage 1: Market research

·       Define and establish a consultant group/s of teachers and pupils that is/are representative of the schools sector of Plymouth (i.e. from EYFS-KS5, including schools for students with special education needs and across the range of school types, such as state-funded, academies, free schools, faith schools and private schools).

·       Test the proposed formal learning programme at all levels with the relevant consultant group/s, including the price they would be willing to pay for the service.

·       Recommend adjustments to the proposed programme based on feedback from the consultant group/s.


Stage 2: Develop and pilot formal learning sessions

·       Develop and pilot the formal learning programme of facilitated sessions.

·       Embed audience consultancy within this development process.


4.     Summary of outputs


The purpose of this consultancy is to work with The Box’s learning team to create a formal learning programme of facilitated sessions that meets the needs of teaching staff and captures the imagination of young learners.


The programme should capitalise on the experience and achievements of The Box’s learning team - accomplished while the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery was previously open, and through projects being undertaken during the period of closure - and work closely with them at all stages of the development process of the new programme. The Box’s learning team will be responsible for piloting, launching and delivering complimentary elements within the new formal learning programme, including a loan box service, online resources and schools projects.


In addition, it is very important that the development of the learning programme is a consultative process, inspired by teachers and pupils’ needs, curatorial expertise and the collections on display in The Box.


From the first stage of research with teachers and children conducted as part of the development of The Box’s HLF activity plan, it has been established that there is a demand for a programme for facilitated on-site formal learning sessions to support key subjects within the History, Science and Art curriculum.


These are the required outputs of this consultancy brief:


Stage 1:


·       A break-down of the intended consultant group/s, that is representative of the schools sector in Plymouth


·       A report on methodology and outcome of all research conducted with consultant group


·       Recommendations for adjustments and changes to the proposed formal learning programme of facilitated sessions for schools


Stage 2:


·       A proposal of facilitated sessions to be developed and tested, including timeline (to be agreed before continuing with the project)


·       Development of facilitated sessions for schools, based on recommendations from Stage 1


·       Piloting of selected facilitated sessions for schools with relevant groups


·       Recommended adjustments to schools sessions based on outcomes of pilots     


·       An on-site service to be delivered by trained learning staff



The two stages of the consultancy work can be undertaken by a single, or two separate, consultants. The consultant/s undertaking this work will report to Adam Milford, Learning Development Officer (formal), who will be responsible for ensuring that the outputs of these two stages of consultancy work create a new and innovative learning service of facilitated schools sessions, meeting the needs of Primary, Secondary and Special School learners. 


Budget level –

Stage 1: £10,000-£15,000

Stage 2: £10,000-£15,000

[An additional £1000 is available to cover costs of conducting market research. All costs beyond this must be covered within the budgets given above].


Please note: If applying as a single consultant for both stages of the work, you will be required to submit all required outcomes and findings from Stage 1, and for these to be approved, before Stage 2 can start.


5.     Available documentation


·         Appendix 8 from the HLF Round 2 application form: ‘Appendix 8: Learning consultation – full findings’

·         The Box, Plymouth, Gallery Scheme Design Review (May 2017)

·         ‘Story sheets’ for each gallery of The Box

·         Draft formal learning programme including:

o    ‘Hub and spoke’ learning days potential

o    Masterclasses potential

o    Income potential

o    Plan of the learning space at The Box, Plymouth

o    ICT expected to be available in the learning space of The Box, Plymouth


·         *Statistics doc*


6.     Management of the commission


The commission will be managed by Adam Milford, Learning Development Officer (formal learning).


We expect a commissioning meeting and regular communication throughout the project. 


7.     Requirements of the submission


Your proposal should include:


·         Cover letter, detailing how you meet the skills required (below)

·         Approach to the project including your timeline, how you would use the budget and methodology

·         Your CV

·         If applying for Stage 2: x2 examples of previous sessions designed for schools

·         Two references.


8.     Skills required


We are looking to engage the services of a Learning Specialist who can use the richness of The Box’s collections to add value to an enquiry-led approach to teaching and learning.  The skills we are looking for include:


For Stage 1:

·       Experience of conducting market research with teachers and students

·       Ability to develop a methodology for conducting market research with teachers and students

·       Ability to create any support materials needed for conducting market research with teachers and students (for example presentation material).

For Stage 2:

·       Substantial experience of having designed sessions for schools delivered in a museum, gallery or cultural setting 

·       Knowledge of national curriculum and other curriculums, and how museums and/or galleries can meet these through facilitated sessions

·       Experience of planning and delivering sessions for formal learners in museums and/or galleries

·       Experience of engaging children across a range of curriculum subjects and a range of Key Stages

·       Secure pedagogical knowledge gained through practice, leading to a thorough understanding of learning styles, and how these can be integrated into facilitated learning sessions to support enquiry-led and experiential learning

·       Experience of being experimental and trying new things with learners in museums and/or galleries, and not being afraid to challenge expectations of audiences

·       Confidence in the use of ICT for teaching and learning purposes

·       Knowledge of Special Educational Needs and the confidence to work closely with this sector to develop a high quality response to teaching needs

·       The ability to form and sustain good professional links of benefit to the learning programme and The Box, Plymouth Learning team


We are looking for a consultant/s with excellent communication skills, able to inspire and talk to people with a wide range of backgrounds and skills.



9.       Date of submission and timescale


The closing date for submissions is midday 4th September 


The submission should be emailed to

Adam Milford


Learning Development Officer (Formal Learning)
Economic Development
Plymouth City Council
37 Tavistock Place
PL4 8AX  


The interview date is planned for 15th September 


The start date for the commission is 20th September 


The completion date for the commission is

Stage 1: 28th February TBC depending on start date

Stage 2: 30th July TBC depending on start date


10.    Fee


The fee available for each stage of the consultancy is:

Stage 1: £10,000-£15,000

Stage 2: £10,000-£15,000

Excluding VAT.

£1,000 is available for consultancy meetings, but all other costs and expenses must be included in the fee available.

Your application should include a break-down of how you intend to spend the budget available.


11.    Terms and conditions


We will require evidence of Professional Indemnity insurance cover.


12.    Further information


For further information and/or a site visit, please contact Adam Milford.

The seven galleries include Port of Plymouth, 100 Journeys, Our Art, Media Lab, Mammoth Plymouth, Plymouth People/Photo Album and Active Archives


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