If you're thinking about becoming a teacher in London you’re probably thinking about how great it is as a place to live and how much you'll enjoy being a Londoner, rather than focusing on the available London teaching resources that you can use to make your teaching better and more enjoyable.
And that’s fair enough, because there's no doubt that the cosmopolitan and metropolitan life has a lot of personal benefits and it’s a fantastic reason to come to one of the world's great capital cities to begin or continue your teaching career. Of course, if you're a Londoner, you already know how great it is living and working in the capital.
However, something that you might not have initially considered is that the teaching resources available to you in London are probably some of the best you could hope to find anywhere in the world.
There’s a whole host of amazing galleries, museums, historical buildings and other sites that make excellent immersive field trips for your class of pupils, but even if you can’t arrange to visit all of these with your pupils, most provide an array of fantastic online resources to ensure that the city can help you be a better teacher.
The added bonus when it comes to organising a school trip is that, unlike so many other capital cities, a very large number of the key attractions (especially museums) are free to enter. Given that London schools can arrange free travel using London Transport when running educational visits, you should be able to get your class to many of these key teaching resources for the price of a packed lunch.
Here’s our pick of the best teaching resources in London.
1. Great Fire of London Teaching Resources
This is the topic that every London teacher knows they can teach in a fully immersive way and there’s so much you can do in London and so many resources that this is undoubtedly our number one choice.
There probably isn’t a pupil in the UK who hasn’t studied the Great Fire of London and although it’s not a required part of the National Curriculum, many teachers choose to teach it at KS1, not least perhaps since they studied it themselves at Primary School. And, there’s no doubt that it is an engaging piece of history and this is just amplified if you’re teaching kids in London a stunning story about their home.
Whether you’re able to visit any of the sites of the Great Fire of London, such as the Monument built to commemorate it, or conduct an inspired Great Fire of London themed walk, there’s a whole host of London based entities who can bring extra teaching resources to the study of this historic event.
The mainstay of this topic is a visit to the Museum of London and their in depth collection that covers the period of the Plague and the Great Fire. They are also one of the organisations behind a dedicated and brilliantly interactive website for the Great Fire, which as well as including a timeline and list of artefacts that are tied to other London museums and galleries, hosts an interactive online educational game and a Minecraft experience that can be downloaded and used as a further teaching resource.
Unsurprisingly London Fire Brigade has something to say about the Great Fire and a visit to their pop-up museum in Lambeth brings a firefighter’s view to this piece of living history and their website has some unique facts and figures. To top that, you can arrange for the London Fire Brigade Education Team to visit your school. Their visits are designed to promote fire safety but they are well versed in children learning about the Great Fire and the two topics fit together well in the classroom.
Many other museums and galleries in London have exhibits that touch on the Great Fire of London which you could easily fold into a Great Fire walking tour. There are objects from the fire at the British Museum, the definitive painting at the Guildhall and in-depth sources at the British Library.
The London Metropolitan Archives have an unrivalled set of original documents that can be inspected and The National Archive has reference documents that you can download and interactive worksheets but they also arrange workshops to view their Great Fire archive either by visit or videoconference.
If there’s one thing you can teach in a unique way by virtue of being a London teacher, this is your go-to topic!
You're teaching in the greatest city in the world and your pupils are living in it.
The Museum of London was made for you and your class with an incredible teaching resource that covers the entire history of London from before London existed (450,000BC) through the days of the Romans, right up to the present day that provides a wealth of other teaching opportunities.
Their school provisions are award winning and include museum visits, specialist SEND programmes, in school visits and seemingly endless online and downloadable resources. There’s also the sister museum, the Museum of London Docklands which covers the history of the River Thames and the growth of Docklands and its place in the development of international trade.
The Museum of London is a place of magic for London kids and an unimaginably great educational tool for London teachers!
Although the British Museum is strong on the history of Britain with notably excellent collections on the Anglo Saxons and Vikings and Britain in the Roman Period, it’s not a museum of Britain - it’s a museum of all human history throughout the World.
Whatever you’re teaching (Ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome, histories of Asia, Africa and the Middle East and much more) you’re likely to find a gallery that is worth a visit for your pupils.
One of the three great national treasures in the Exhibition Road area and once famous for the dinosaur skeleton (now replaced by a Blue Whale), this is the world famous home for all things of the natural world.
As with all three of these museums, entry is free and the collections are immense.
Especially good for the study of dinosaurs, evolution and,well, all living things!
Right next door is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole country, home to everything related to science and technology. Permanent exhibitions cover flight, space, medicine, the industrial revolution and much, much more.
Although this makes a great school trip for focused learning on specific topics for later stage science students, it’s a world of excitement for primary pupils too.
The third of the South Kensington trio is the world’s leading museum of art and design.
Clearly a must visit for children studying art or related subjects, the educational offering has plenty to appeal to and inspire children of any age. The V&A offers specific school tour planning for both primary and secondary school pupils with events, workshops and gallery sessions.
London’s castle has existed on the edge of the Thames since the Norman conquest of England and plays a part in much of English history since that date as a palace and a prison.
Take your class on a visit to explore any era of English history, to find out why Ravens keep the Tower safe and, of course, to see the Crown Jewels.
When your pupils live near the seat of power where the decisions that affect every part of their lives are made, why not take them to see law-making and the exercise of power in action?
Parliament has downloadable resources for teaching related subjects and visits are arranged which allow access to the chambers of the Commons and Lords and a wider tour of the Houses of Parliament.
When there’s a replica of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan outdoor theatre in your city you might want to use their resources to help your English literature students get to the heart of the Old Bard.
Equally you might think your primary school pupils could benefit from a trip to watch a play.
The Globe has a vast amount of resources including films of previous productions, downloadable abridged texts and a whole host of Shakespeare related resources. You can also arrange workshops at the Globe or have one of their actors visit your school.
Kids love animals and London Zoo is a world leader in animal conservation, zookeeping and the scientific study of animals.
There’s a range of brilliant online resources broken down by Key Stage and subject. Zoo visits are at a considerable ticket discount and can include education sessions appropriate for age range or Key Stage.
North of London is ZSL Whipsnade Zoo where a similar range of activities are offered and where you’ll need to go if your children are to see the larger animals such as elephants.
For your city dwelling pupils to learn about farm animals you’ll need to arrange an educational visit to one of the capital’s city farms. There’s a few to choose from but Mudchute is one of the largest urban farms in Europe and is very well set up for school visits.
As a working farm, Mudchute has a full range of livestock including cows, sheep, pigs and chickens that can help metropolitan children understand animal husbandry. The farm offers specialist education provision focusing on animals, geography, environmental issues, art, english and maths and the biology of plants. There is also a well-resourced 'living classroom'.
Teachers in Lambeth have the option of the smaller but equally highly regarded Vauxhall City Farm.
More London Teaching Resources
Our pick of eleven teaching resources for London teachers can’t cover everything that might be right for your class. They are simply some of the exceptionally child learning focused organisations that exist in London that you can leverage for the benefit of the education of your pupils.
But there are literally hundreds more.
Kids love a visit to the iconic Tower Bridge where they might get to see the bridge lift, or a panoramic teaching experience from the London Eye, as much as they may enjoy an educational trip to the grandeur of St Paul’s Cathedral or even a visit to the Queen’s home, Buckingham Palace.
Every London child needs to learn about the transport network of their city and Transport for London obliges with great learning resources to give them the life skills to get around safely. Why not take them to learn all about the history of London Transport at the same point in their education.
And, don’t forget the incredible art galleries, many with free entry, across London ranging from the Tate to the National Gallery.
The reality is that London has an almost inexhaustible supply of teaching resources, cultural visits and museums dedicated to advancing learning that you and your students can dive into on a regular basis.
As well as these cultural and educational highlights there are other tools at your disposal.
The London Curriculum is an initiative by the Mayor of London in partnership with many of London’s leading museums, historic sites, cultural organisations and educational experts to put London at the heart of learning in schools for Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 and to use London to ‘bring learning to life’.
There is a focus on arts and culture to inspire pupils to increase their creativity in a range of resources and lesson plans that teachers can download.
This is an ongoing programme that can be tied in with other London focused teaching.
Once (or twice) a year hundreds of museums, galleries and historic sites open their doors to be taken over by kids, with many locations in London taking part.
Children get the opportunity to get involved in the running of the museum or site in any number of roles and the staff get to see how children can be better served by these organisations.
Takeover Day is an incredible opportunity to arrange a full day school trip to a significant museum or site in London and to create an empowering moment for your pupils.
Help to Pay for School Trips
Many of the places that are the best teaching resources in London are part of a scheme called the Culture Mile, managed by the Museum of London.
Up to £300 per trip is available to schools in certain circumstances towards the cost of taking trips of school-age children to a list of venues that the scheme covers, which includes the Museum of London, Tower Bridge as referenced above, plus many others.
There’s no limit on the number of times a school can apply so it’s well worth making an application for every London school trip that qualifies.
And, as we mentioned earlier, all schools in London can arrange free transport for educational trips, further keeping the cost down.
Teaching Resources in Lambeth
As well as the London teaching resources we’ve covered, this site has a directory of the highlights of Lambeth culture, many of which provide amazing teaching resources.
As you’ll find if you browse the rest of this site, Lambeth occupies an amazing position in the heart of London and is the hub of many cultural activities centred on the South Bank which makes for a great place to live and teach.
If you’re coming to London to teach as an NQT or looking to move from another are of London, check out all our information on teaching in Lambeth and living in Lambeth to see why it could be the best place to teach in London.