We welcome school groups to the Stanley Spencer Gallery.  We make no charge for our educational provision.

Although we are a small venue, we have the ability to be flexible and can tailor visits to suit your school and the needs of your curriculum, whatever the level. A visit to SSG is the perfect introduction to an art gallery for young children as it is small, safe and intimate. And for the older student, it is a gem of artistic brilliance and information which will support their creative studies.

We offer a programme of opportunities for pupils of all ages and abilities, from KS1 through to GCSE and A level, and can help them to explore the genius of Stanley Spencer. From talks in the gallery, walks around Cookham, and practical workshops, there are plenty of ways in which pupils can engage with and learn about the life and work of one of the greatest British artists of the 20th century.

We can help them to evaluate and analyse paintings using artistic language and give them the opportunity to use a sketch book to record observations.

We have an extensive archive of files, books and pamphlets which older students can investigate and research as well as postcards, leaflets and mementos that the younger ones might enjoy collecting.

Our guides have a wealth of knowledge and teaching experience and will offer you an interesting, informative and creative experience.…. 


– KS1 and KS2 –

An introduction to Stanley’s world and a walk around Cookham, his ‘Village in Heaven’.

  1. ‘Walk and Talk’
  • A talk in the gallery plus a walk around Cookham, discovering all about Stanley’s idyllic childhood in Cookham, his home and family life, his paintings of Cookham locations and how different stories inspired his paintings.
  1. ‘Talk and Practical Gallery Sessions’
  • A brief introduction to a selection of paintings from the current collection in the gallery and an opportunity for the pupils to draw directly from Spencer’s work, either by observation of carefully chosen sections of a painting or by individually interpreting his images using their own ideas. This practical session could also be based outdoors, around Cookham locations which inspired Stanley (weather permitting!)

Hopefully, pupils will leave the gallery inspired to create their own art projects celebrating their homes, families and friends.


– KS3 –

The sessions are designed to enhance and enrich art teaching in Years 7, 8 and 9 and provide an introduction to the work and world of Stanley Spencer and his development as an iconic artist.

  1. ‘Walk and Talk’ – an introduction to Spencer, his childhood, his artistic career and his paintings and find out how his much of work was inspired by his love for his village of Cookham.
  • We will study the paintings and drawings on display in the gallery and, if time, have the chance to sketch some of them some from observation.
  • We will walk around the village and look at some of the scenes Spencer portrayed in his Cookham landscapes and learn about some of the stories attached to them. Weather permitting we will be able to do some sketching on location.
  • also do some sketching from observation.
  1. ‘Talk and Practical Workshop – we can offer a variety of theme-based sessions relating to works in our current collection based either in the gallery or around Cookham itself e.g.;
  • Spencer, Portraiture and People – A practical session looking at Spencer’s self-portraits, his commissions and his portrayal of the people included in his compositions, looking closely at personality, character, identity and relationships.
  • Spencer, Composition and Technique: Realism, Detail, Simplification, Abstraction, Composition and Grids. Studying the paintings in our collection, we will look at the key elements of Spencer’s different styles to convey different subject matters, and how his style changed during his lifetime as influenced by his personal circumstances. We will also see how he composed his paintings and his use of grids and ‘squaring up’.
  • Spencer and Landscapes – We will look at the locations in and around Cookham where Stanley grew up and which featured in his paintings and discuss composition, atmosphere, his sense of place, the ways in which he painted detail and distance. We will also do some sketching from observation.


– KS4 and KS5 –

We aim to support GCSE and A level Art and Design students in the development of their individual portfolios, sketchbook work, personal studies and group projects.

Our themed workshops will enrich and develop students’ exam and coursework and could cover the following areas;

Portraits – How does Spencer convey facial expression, body language, mood, character, feelings? Focusing on self-portraits and commissioned portraits.

  • Landscapes – How do Spencer’s Cookham landscapes define his sense of place? Looking at Spencer’s observational and compositional skills through his Cookham landscapes and flower paintings.
  • Narrative and visionary paintings – Discover the mysteries of Spencer’s visionary paintings and try to unravel the meaning behind them.
  • Construction, composition and structure of a painting – How did Spencer put together a painting in terms of composition, shape, form, tone, colour, grids etc. ?
  • Simplification and abstraction of images – Are realism, accuracy and detail always the most important aspects of a painting? To what effect does Spencer abstract and simplify his subjects?
  • Pattern and texture – Describe how Spencer’s paintings demonstrate his fascination for and love of intricate detail and decorative pattern making?
  • Domestic Scenes – How does Spencer’s love of home and family life come across so effectively in his paintings?

VISIT THE SSG… and tick off the GCSE and A level assessment objectives!

Draw from direct observation from Spencer’s workmake quick sketches to analyse his compositions or make detailed drawings which investigate his techniques for painting detail. Observe how Spencer portrays the minutiae of textures and patterns, how his portraits reveal the inner character and identity of the subjectDiscover and be inspired by Spencer’s visionary narratives and appreciate his creative and imaginative powers. Engross yourself in his landscapes and recognise how Spencer demonstrates his passion for and association with a place. Develop ideas and make connections with Spencer’s work and put these into your own contexts. Research and gather visual and written information from our archives, collect postcards and pamphlets for your sketchbook.

Demonstrate evidence of a personal connection and experience….. 

‘Been there, examined the work, fascinated by the man and ….was greatly inspired!

 We are able to provide drawing boards

  • We can offer art materials, however we encourage students to bring their own sketchbooks and drawing equipment for this session
  • Some pocket money might also be useful so that students can purchase postcards etc.

Students are most welcome to come to SSG independently to draw or study.

The Stanley Spencer Gallery offers educational groups a wide range of visiting opportunities including specialist gallery guided tours, talks and walks with opportunities for practical exploration of Spencer’s art.

We would love to keep in contact with you and be able to send you information about exhibitions, gallery news and new educational initiatives we are involved in and can offer.

To do this we need to store your contact details.  From the 24th May 2018 we need your consent to do this.  To continue to receive information from Learning at Stanley Spencer we would be grateful if you could email your agreement completing the information below.  In accordance with the new data protection rules your information will only be used by us to send you educational news.  It will not be disclosed to any other party and you can request for it to be deleted from our system at any time.