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Rothschild grant enables COAM to subsidise school visits

Head of Learning, Jo Lonsdale, tells us how a grant from the Rothchild Foundation enabled us to welcome school children who would not have otherwise been able to visit and take part in our award winning learning programme due to financial barriers….

As a direct result of the Rothschild Foundation’s 2018-2019 Local and Community Grant contribution, we have been able to provide 462 primary aged children with access to our immersive Sandford Award winning Learning programme.

School children building shelters

Through this Rothschild grant, we were able to offer outdoor learning opportunities to pupils from schools within ten miles of the Waddesdon Estate. These children would otherwise have not been able to benefit from such learning and enrichment outcomes due to the geographical distance of their schools; The Museum is not accessible by public transport and so schools face costs of coach travel and charges for admission and learning provision as financial barriers to entry.

COAM subsidised visits for 462 school children in Years 1-6 across eight different Buckinghamshire schools.  Through the funding, 27 authentic, experiential educational workshops were delivered during March – October 2019.

During these sessions the children engaged in cross-curricular hands-on activities allowing them to access the formal curriculum across subjects such as history, science, english, maths, and design & technology.

Not only did these workshops bring the curriculum to life, but the beautiful environment of the Museum site itself promotes positive mental health and well-being. There are many benefits to being immersed in our environment: children can travel back in time and be inspired by our rescued historic buildings and explore the outdoor setting of woodlands, meadows, ponds and beautiful gardens. Being able to enjoy the historic working farm with its animals and playground spread across wide open spaces connected to nature and greenery helps develop happy, healthy children to become confident, independent and resilient learners.

COAM delivers excellent outdoor learning provision in bushcraft, orienteering and archery (having a permanent Outdoor Learning specialist and qualified Forest School practitioner) designed to facilitate team building, problem solving and survival/life skills, along with encouraging social interaction and communication.

Direct outcomes of the Rothschild grant have been:

  1. Subsidised engagement and inclusivity for pupils from mainstream and special schools.
  2. Stronger relationships with those schools to encourage repeat visits and provide access to new children.
  3. Improved SEND provision and enhanced learning activities to promote local children’s cultural capital.
  4. Support for teachers to meet the demands of the new Ofsted framework from May 2019 to provide teaching and learning opportunities within a broad and balanced curriculum.

Teacher and pupil feedback

Teacher evaluation stated their visit benefited their pupils by:

‘The trip was a very positive experience for the children. There were many comments such as “I wish all of our days could be like this”.’

‘Providing practical activities made the learning more relevant, supported our topic and reinforced knowledge and understanding.’

‘Visiting a historical environment made them think about life in a different era without modern comforts and supported the development of empathetic skills. One child asked ‘why didn’t they have lights?’ – before visiting this child had no concept that life in the past was different to now.’

‘Provided an opportunity to be taught by other adults other than school staff and gave pupils the chance to show them the same level of respect as they do school staff.’

‘Provided the opportunity for the children to receive lots of praise and help build their self-esteem.’

‘Enabled the children to look forward to other school trips without anxiety, some children could potentially find trips offsite stressful and difficult.’

Jo Lonsdale
Head of Learning at COAM


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