Uk grocer M&S has launched a series of free engaging online learning resources – spanning food, fashion, and business studies – for parents, caregivers and teachers of primary and secondary aged children to download at home as schools across the UK remain closed.

Created by the M&S Company Archive, the four digital resources bring to life M&S’s heritage in leading on quality, innovation and service – teaching topics including the history of food, the science behind textiles, the process of designing M&S private brand packaging, and delivering for customers as a business. The resources feature short films, printable worksheets and fun, practical tasks, from pitching business ideas to creating food packaging to inventing garments of the future.

As well as offering children the unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes insight into working at M&S, the resources aim to support skills in math, science, art and design, and business studies and have been developed by education experts in collaboration with teachers and home-schooling coordinators for Key Stages 1 to 4.

Caroline Bunce, Education & Outreach Officer at M&S Company Archive, said: “Over the last decade, so many school children have enjoyed learning about the world of food, fashion and retail through the thousands of items held within our archive. As schools remain closed, we know families and teachers are looking for more ways to help kids learn at home, and that’s why we’ve teamed up with experts to create a new fully digital program that brings our rich history of innovation and product design and development to life through fun educational videos, interactive packs and activity sheets.”

Robert Fairbairn, Careers Lead at Oastlers School, Bradford has been using the business studies resources for GCSE pupils. He commented:

“The M&S resources are invaluable as they help learners link curriculum activities with real-life experiences of an established UK brand that they can recognize and relate to. They are adaptable enough to be used within a range of subjects, both for learners that attend school and those working remotely during the current lockdown restrictions.”

The M&S Company Archive is based in Leeds – the birthplace of M&S – and is home to over 71,000 items, dating from 1884 to the present day. For almost 10 years, the Archive has been running educational programs for schools at its exhibition. However, in response to the pandemic, the Archive accelerated its plans to launch a full digital offering to extend its learning to the homes of hundreds of children.

The resources are available on the M&S Company Archive website and the Times Educational Supplement.