by Jane Hack, senior learning officer
Bristol Museums has offered a Formal Learning programme for more than 50 years. It is now one of the largest museum learning programmes in the South West, providing a range of facilitated Art, History and Science workshops suitable for Key Stages 1–5. Our museums and historic houses are visited by over 50,000 children and young people in formal education each year.
The full programme includes facilitated workshops, supported independent visits, outreach activities, collaborations with external stakeholders such as universities, talks, specially funded projects, events, professional development for teachers, adult learning courses and study days. All of which keeps our Learning Team very busy indeed!
We have set ourselves the ambitious target that 100% of all Bristol schools will have visited one of our museums or participated in museum-led activities at least once in a three-year rolling cycle. Over the last three years we’ve had contact with 95% of schools in the city.
Bristol Museums Development Trust provides funding each year that enables the Learning Team to reach out to schools that have not visited our museums for several years and to provide cultural learning opportunities for school-aged children.
This year the Trust contributed towards the creation and testing of a new learning programme at Blaise Museum. New workshops for KS1 and KS2 included WW2 Evacuation; Iron Age Experience; Investigate Seasons and At Home with The Harfords: Victorian Life in collaboration with professional actors Acting Out. A total of 200 children participated in the new workshops.
The Learning Team also ran free Rocks & Soils workshops for 87 Year 3 and 4 children and three free in-school Dinosaur sessions for 90 Reception children.
In addition, the Trust supported three free workshops for 20 children with SEND (special educational needs and disability) who experienced workshops at Blaise and activities in our Egypt gallery. We received excellent feedback including the following from a teacher:
“This was brilliant! I love the characters, the hands on activities and the quick movement from one task/game to the next. Thank you for a lovely experience.”
The Trust also contributed towards a Philosothon, a free annual event aimed at GCSE and A Level students. Working in partnership with Bristol Grammar School and the Philosophy departments at the University of Bristol and UWE, this evening event was attended by 50 students from seven different schools from across the Greater Bristol area. Our next Philosothon will take place in March 2020 and will be linked with our current exhibition, Do you believe in magic?
The annual Learning Fund is made up of donations from visitors to our museums. Every time you donate, you could be helping us to reach more schoolchildren across Bristol. Thank you for your support.
Just £5 could pay for one child to attend a workshop at the museum. Please consider making a donation.