Educational visits

10th June 2011 at 01:00



English Heritage offers a vast range of offline and online resources to help pupils learn more about their historic sites. The TES Resources collection of English Heritage links includes detailed guides to many popular destinations, useful information on preparing for visits, making the most of the visit itself and extending the learning once back in the classroom.

A teachers' kit on Tintagel Castle, famous for its links to King Arthur, asks pupils to consider what homes were like a long time ago and how the medieval church affected people's lives. There is also a fun activity where pupils pretend to be a spy working for an enemy of Earl Richard of Cornwall.

Another resource on Down House - home to Charles Darwin for 40 years - involves pupils looking at the history of the house through photographs and objects around his home. There are suggestions for group activities while pupils are there, such as drawing and describing typical Victorian items or furnishings.

For teachers planning a visit to a Roman site, English Heritage has put together a useful handbook on using evidence left behind during the Roman occupation of Britain and putting it into context.

All of these resources are available at


Museum days and canoeing in the lakes

If you are planning a residential visit, it is worth taking a look at some of the Teachers TV videos now supplied by TES Resources. "Eco adventure in the lakes" follows a group of Year 9 pupils from Chessington Community College in Surrey on a trip to Castle Head Field Centre in the Lake District. The school's director of sport, Alan Lammas, is keen to promote a love for outdoor pursuits, and for many pupils it is their first experience of the British countryside. The video includes activities such as ghyll scrambling (descending mountain streams on foot) and canoeing, and pupils raise their awareness of ecological issues.

There is also a film on a Year 6 visit to Duxford's Imperial War Museum, where pupils learn about the architectural challenges of designing an aircraft hangar and have the chance to put their own ideas into practice by building scale models.

Finally, a video on a visit to Nottingham's Galleries of Justice shows how teacher Tom Barrett deals with the challenges of taking 30 children on an off-site visit.


A stamp of approval for postal history

New to TES Resources is a range of material from the British Postal Museum, relating to stamp collections as well as famous sites in history. Activities for primary school children include a maths lesson on adding up postage rates from different countries around the world, and a history lesson looking at stamps celebrating the Festival of Britain in 1951.

A picture-led lesson on Victorian post office messenger boys is also available, useful for a wider history project looking at childhood in the 19th century. At secondary level, there is a comprehensive resource for key stage 3 history classes, looking at compiling evidence. It includes examples of telegrams sent from the Titanic, coded letters and censorship during the First World War.

Pupils at all levels will love the tile-printing activity, where they design a stamp and produce it using a paint-roller and a polystyrene ceiling tile. Pupils could consider which factors make an effective stamp design and produce their own, perhaps featuring famous Victorian inventions, or simply recreate the iconic Penny Black.


Nature's way

Pupils can share podcasts, videos and blogs as part of the WWF's My True Nature project using Radiowaves, a social learning environment. Schools can use Radiowaves' free online platform to upload their entries and receive feedback from friends, families and peers to help them reconnect with nature. The project runs until 9 September.

Engineer award

EEF, the UK manufacturers' organisation, has launched an award in partnership with Rolls-Royce to reward outstanding achievements of key stage 4 engineering students. Entry is free and the closing date is 31 July. Visit EEF's awards website:

Racing ahead

Manchester Communication Academy has become the home of the UK's first Bloodhound Education Centre, inspired by the Bloodhound Project, an international education initiative focused on a 1,000mph land speed record attempt. It aims to inspire young people to pursue science and engineering-based careers by showcasing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. Visit

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