The Education Programme
1. What does STEAM Education offer?
STEAM Education has been awarded the Campaign for Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge.
Details of all the Discovery Sessions on offer for school groups can be found on the Discovery Sessions page of the website. These run every day of school term time except when our We'll Meet Again, WW2 event for schools is running.
Details of We'll Meet Again can be found on the Themed Weeks page. This event happens twice a year for two weeks during the autumn and two weeks during the spring. There are also photographs of some of the resources that we use with schools on the Discovery Sessions and Themed Weeks pages.
Schools are also welcome to come on a Teacher Led only visit. However, there may be restrictions on available dates for this type of visit because of the amount of teaching that happens every day amongst the Museum displays.
2. What happens during a Discovery Session?
All of our sessions promote cross-curricular learning through handling original objects and ephemera and story telling using characters, costume, drama and role-play.
There are a range of cross-curricular learning outcomes, which the Education Team work towards, focusing on learning and thinking skills e.g. investigating, creative and speculative thinking, generating ideas, reasoning, problem solving, using imagination, communicating and reflecting.
We also focus on personal attitudes and values (like self esteem and confidence, pupils' own feelings and the feelings of others) and social skills (e.g. listening and responding, empathy, working together and taking turns).
Most of all, we want the children to enjoy themselves and use their imaginations to explore possibilities and be inspired to learn more. All Discovery Sessions are delivered by qualified teachers with CRB clearance, experienced at all Key Stages and in Special Needs.
3. What happens during We'll Meet Again?
Details of the We'll Meet Again experience can be found on the Themed Weeks page of the website and in 'We'll Meet Again Support Materials' on the Planning Your School Visit page (see 'Overview of We'll Meet Again Sessions').
Forthcoming dates for We'll Meet Again can be found on the Themed Weeks page. We'll Meet Again is a whole day experience for you and your pupils. The organised part of the day startes at 10.15am and finishes at 1.45pm.
4. When do Discovery Sessions run?
A Discovery Session lasts one hour. Standard session times are 10.15 - 11.15am, 11.30am - 12.30pm and 12.45 - 1.45pm. Each group will be slotted into one or two of these times with an associated lunchroom time, depending on availability.
There is one exception, and this is A Wartime Childhood. This session lasts one and a half hours and standard session times are 10.15 - 11.45am and 12.15 - 1.45pm.
5. What is the maximum group size for a Discovery Session?
33 pupils. Any larger groups need to be divided up into smaller groups.
6. How many classes can I bring on the same day to do Discovery Sessions?
We can accommodate up to three classes a day for our Standard Programme and the same for our WW2 Programme. The maximum group size is 33 pupils, so if you have 99 pupils or fewer, they can all visit together on one day, as long as there is availability.
There is one exception and this is A Wartime Childhood. For this session, we can accommodate up to two classes a day. If you have 66 pupils or fewer, they can all visit together on one day, as long as there is availability.
7. How many classes can I bring on the same day to experience We'll Meet Again?
During the two weeks of We'll Meet Again in autumn and spring, we have 5 available slots each day. Each slot accommodates between 25 (minimum) and 33 (maximum) pupils.
The children follow a carousel of 5 different half hour WW2 workshops plus a half hour for lunch. Further details about We'll Meet Again can be found on the Themed Weeks page of the website or in 'We'll Meet Again Support Materials' on the Planning Your School Visit page.
8. How many Discovery Sessions can my class do in one day?
STEAM is a Victorian Social History Museum, so we don't recommend booking more than one Discovery Session that links with the STEAM or Victorian story, as the Museum itself is a wonderful resource for children.
However, with our WW2 Programme, teachers frequently choose a combination of two Discovery Sessions. The Air Raid and Evacuation Experience combination is most popular. Three Sessions in one day is not recommended as, however interactive they are, we have found that two hours is about the limit for concentration even amongst the most motivated of pupils! On the practical side, three sessions would also leave no time for the children to have lunch during a visit of standard duration (from 10 - 10.30am to 2 - 2.30pm). Two sessions also leaves time during the day for you to take advantage of looking around the Museum, as well as enjoying your Discovery Sessions.
9. What do I do when my pupils are not involved in Education Officer led Discovery Sessions?
STEAM is a Victorian Social History Museum and is a fabulous resource for children with lots of interactive things to see and do. Pupils need at least an hour, preferably two, to do it justice.
Our 'Standard Teachers' Pack' (see Planning Your School Visit page of the website) contains a range of activity sheets, which can be photocopied and brought along on the day. Alternatively, you might like to devise your own activities for your class/es during your Familiarisation Visit.
If you are visiting during the summer months and are studying something that links with the social history of Swindon, you might like to use the map and notes supplied in the 'Standard Teachers' Pack' to plan and conduct a self-guided tour around Swindon's Railway Village, which is located a five minute walk from STEAM. This takes about an hour. There is also a Risk Assessment supplied for this tour in 'Risk Assessments and Health and Safety Guidelines' on the Planning Your School Visit page.
The Railway Village is a unique, planned and preserved Victorian community built to house the workers of the new GWR. The tour might include terraced housing, the GWR School and Park, Medical Fund Society buildings, Church and Mechanics' Institute.
If you are coming on a WW2 visit, there are links between our displays and WW2 if you know where to look and a simple trail for accompanying adults is provided to help adults encourage children to make these links. A detailed document which outlines the role that the railways in general and the GWR in particluar played during WW2 is also provided. If the children are well prepared beforehand through discussion of some of these functions, this also helps them to make more sense of what they see in the Museum. These materials can be found in 'WW2 Support Materials' on the Planning Your School Visit page. We find that when children engage in two WW2 Discovery Sessions, by the time they have had a half hour for lunch and a shop visit, there is just enough time for them to do a whistle stop tour of the Museum. 87% of our business is WW2.
Booking a Visit
1. When can I visit?
STEAM welcomes c. 20,000 school visitors a year. Availability changes all the time and our WW2 Programme in particular is highly oversubscribed. Email enquiries from teachers about availability are frequent but the reply becomes out of date as soon as it is sent.
The best approach is for you to pre-agree a range of dates within school that would suit you for a visit, check your potential travel arrangements and costs and then phone us to make a definite booking. We do not take provisional bookings.
2. Are there cancellation charges?
Yes. Details of our Cancellation Charges are found on our Terms and Conditions, which will be sent to you after you have booked a visit along with your Booking Confirmation Form and letter.
Cancellation charges for visits with booked Discovery Sessions and for We'll Meet Again will be applied as follows:
0 - 3 weeks prior to the visit: 100%. The charge will be the full price per pupil for the number of pupils stated on the Booking Confirmation Form OR the minimum group/s charge (whichever is the greater).
3 - 6 weeks prior to the visit: 50%. The charge will be half of the full price per pupil for the number of pupils stated on the Booking Confirmation Form OR half of the minimum group/s charge (whichever is the greater).
Please ensure that you have fully costed the visit including transport charges, before making a Booking.
3. Why can't I get through on the phone?
There are only two members of staff that deal with schools and both have other wide-ranging responsibilities including teaching the Programme. When our phonelines are busy, the caller will go through to voicemail. Please leave one message only with a clear return telephone number and a best general time to call you back and messages will be responded to in date received order.
During the first week of each term and throughout the whole of September and October, we receive an extremely high volume of telephone calls from schools, so please be patient. We will get back to you. During these busy periods, telephone calls take precendence over email enquiries, so one telephone message is enough to ensure a response.
1. How much does it cost for pupils?
With effect from Autumn Term 2012
Single Discovery Sessions
|Air Raid Experience||Evacuation Experience||
A Wartime Childhood
|Any Victorian or Non-WW2 Experience|
|£6.70 per pupil||£6.70 per pupil||£8.30 per pupil||£7.50 per pupil|
Double Discovery Sessions
|Air Raid AND Evacuation Experiences|
|£10.90 per pupil|
Prices quoted above include Admission to the Museum. Prices quoted above are for a standard class of between 25 and 33 pupils. Prices are higher for smaller groups.
If you wish to book Discovery Sessions for a group of fewer than 15 pupils, there is a minimum charge per session booked. Please call for details.
Teacher Led visits to the Museum, with no Discovery Sessions, cost £4.50 per pupil.
Swindon Cards cannot be used on organised school visits.
Our special school event We'll Meet Again runs for two weeks every autumn and spring. From March 2013, the price per pupil is £12.50. There is a minimum group charge of 25 pupils per slot booked.
2. How much does it costs for adults?
Adults are free at the ratio of 1 to 5 at Key Stage 1, 1 to 8 at Key Stage 2 and 1 to 12 at Key Stage 3 and above, which is the minimum supervision ratio required at STEAM.
One to one supports for individual pupils with Special Needs also go free on top of this ratio. Any further additional adults will be charged the current full adult admission charge for STEAM and must be declared at the time of booking.
3. How much does it cost for pre schools and nurseries?
For family visitors, 3s and under go free at STEAM. For our Education Programme, we charge 3s and under our standard school pupil admission of £4.50 per pupil.
An educational visit involves additional services such as meeting and greeting, collection and storage of bags, coats and lunches, slots in the school lunchroom, delivery and collection of lunches to and from the lunchroom, Teachers' Packs, Risk Assessments, booking and administration time etc.
One the other hand, we apply the principal above of not charging for the number of adults required to supervise the children. As this number is usually high for pre school children, the visit works out cheaper for the organisation by paying for the children rather than the accompanying adults.
Health and Safety
1. Is there a Risk Assessment for educational activities?
Yes. We have detailed Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of Work for all educational activities. Please see 'Risk Assessments and Health and Safety Guidelines' on the Planning Your School Visit page of the website.
Please fully familiarise yourself with these documents and also make yourself aware of the responsibilities we expect from you whilst at STEAM. The Group Leader should brief all accompanying adults and, where applicable, the children before the visit.
We would also encourage all Group Leaders to conduct their own additional Risk Assessment if they make a preliminary visit.
2. What about Health and Safety, supervision and behaviour of pupils?
The 'Risk Assessments and Health and Safety Guidelines' on the Planning Your School Visit page of the website also include procedures for Fire and Emergency Evacuation and for Children becoming Lost or Separated.
There are also Standard Conditions for School Groups visiting STEAM, including behaviour, minimum supervision ratios and STEAM Education's Safeguarding policy.
Please fully familiarise yourself with these documents so that you are aware of your responsibilities whilst at STEAM. The Group Leader should brief all accompanying adults and, where applicable, the children before the visit.
Preparation for the Visit
1. What do I do about a preliminary or Familiarisation Visit?
Because of the high volume of schools using STEAM, it is not necessary to book a Familiarisation Visit or to tell us you are coming. Simply bring along a copy of your Booking Confirmation Form to show at the Ticket Desk on arrival and you will be let into the Museum free of charge.
If you have not yet received your Booking Confirmation Form, give the staff at the Ticket Desk the date of your booked visit.
STEAM is open 7 days a week except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.Our standard opening times are 10am to 5pm although we operate shorter hours during the winter months, so check these on the website if visiting between December and March. Occasionally the Museum is closed for whole staff training, but details are always posted on the website.
We are happy for any school staff that will be accompanying the children on the day of the actual visit to attend the Familiarisation Visit, so that everyone feels fully confident about planning for their visit.
2. How do I pay for our visit?
Please pay at the Ticket Desk on arrival. Payment must be made in full on the day of the visit before admittance to the Museum.
Cards, cash or cheques made payable to Swindon Borough Council are all accepted.
Because of the high volume of schools using STEAM, invoice facilities are not available. A £25 charge is incurred where payment is not received on the day or where it is necessary to issue a refund or an invoice.
However, you are welcome to pay in advance of your visit for the number of pupils you have booked by card over the phone on 01793 466637.
Please note there is a 1.75% surcharge on all credit card transactions. This does not apply if payment is made by purchase card or debit card.
3. Is VAT charged on educational activities?
No. Educational activities at the Museum are VAT exempt.
4. Do you supply clipboards and pencils?
Yes. The Museum supplies clipboards and pencils, which can be collected from and returned to the STEAM Ticket Desk on the day of your visit.
Please ensure that pupils do not have clipboards and pencils during their Discovery Sessions with Education Officers, as they are a huge distraction.
5. Do you have a shop?
Yes. The STEAM Gift Shop is stocked with a range of child friendly and pocket money priced items. We recommend at least £2 per pupil for a shop visit.
Pre-ordered Goody Bags (to pick up on the day of your visit) are also available from £2 per bag, but must be ordered at least 2 weeks in advance. Please email email@example.com or call 01793 466637.
Please be aware that Standard Conditions still apply during a shop visit i.e. minimum supervision ratios need to be adhered to and behaviour of pupils closely monitored.
The maximum group walkabout number also still applies i.e. at KS1, the group needs to be divided into smaller groups of no more than 5 (under the supervision of an adult) and at KS2, the group needs to be divided into smaller groups of no larger than 8 (under the supervision of an adult).
PLEASE NOTE: During busy periods, the number of children allowed in the Shop at one time may be limited to 8 pupils. Please build this into your planning on the day.
During our 'We'll Meet Again' event, which runs twice a year for two weeks, there is no opportunity to visit the Shop until after the event has finished at 1.50pm. Because of problems relating to 200 school children unavoidably all needing to access the Shop at this time, we strongly suggest that you pre-order Goody Bags (see above), unless you are planning to stay at the Museum beyond 2.15pm with your class.
6. Do you have a lunchroom for school groups?
Yes. We have a purpose built lunchroom on the second floor of the Museum with toliets and a water fountain.
30 - minute lunchroom slots are allocated at the time of booking. Your lunches will be collected from you on arrival and delivered to the lunchroom, so please ensure that no valuables are left with lunches.
The lunchroom accommodates up to two classes simultaneously, so you will usually be sharing it with another school.
7. Can I choose the lunchtime for my class(es)?
No. The Programme for Schools has been developed operationally to enable us to deliver the maximum number of sessions in different locations at the same time on a school visit of standard duration (10.00am-10.30am to 2.00pm-2.30pm). There is no negotiation over allocated lunchtimes.
Each Session/combination of Sessions has its own pre-determined lunchtime slot to enable us to deliver the maximum number of Sessions per day. Depending on the combination of Sessions you choose and pre-existing booking on that day, you may be allocated an early lunch (11.00am-11.30am) or a late lunch (1.05pm-1.35pm).
If you are bringing more than one class, it is very unlikely that the different classes will eat at the same time.
8 Is the Museum accessible for wheelchair users?
All parts of the Museum (including some toilets) are accessible by wheelchair, and lifts and ramps connect all floors. One toilet in the Museum foyer is equipped with an adult changing table.
Two manual and three electric wheelchairs are also available. Please call the Ticket Desk on 01793 466626 to check their availability.
If you have any wheelchair users in your party, please let us know at the time of booking. All of our Discovery Sessions are fully accessible, but special arrangements need to be made in advance for Evacuation Experience and also for two of the We'll Meet Again workshops.
On the Day of the Visit
1. Where do we park?
If you are coming by coach or minibus, you can park in the Designer Outlet Centre coach park close by STEAM. Directions are in the 'Standard Teachers Pack' on the Planning Your School Visit page of the website. However, children can be dropped off right outside the front doors to the Museum.
If you are coming by car or people carrier, you will need to follow the brown signs to the 'Designer Outlet Centre' or 'Outlet Centre North Car Park'. You will need to retain your STEAM admission ticket after paying for your visit and present this, together with your car park ticket, to the attendant in the North car Park when you return to your car/s. The attendant will then validate your parking ticket so that you don't have to pay for the parking.
If you are arriving by car and you are a Blue Badge holder, you can call 01793 466626 and request disabled parking. There is currently a small area providing disabled parking alongside the Museum.
2. What do we do with coats and bags?
STEAM staff will meet and greet your group/s and supervise while coats and bags are collected and locked in a secure cloakroom. The cloakroom will be available to the group/s again only at lunchtime and on departure. Please take any essential medicines that pupils may need into the Museum with you.
Lunches are collected separately and will be taken to the school lunchroom, so please ensure no valuables are left with the lunches.
Where a school has planned a visit to the STEAM Gift Shop, we find that the Group Leader usually takes charge of the pupils' money and takes this into the Museum with the class/es. This is what we prefer, as money can become a distraction to individual pupils during their Discovery Session/s. Parents can be asked to provide a named purse containing spending money, which is easier for the Group Leader to manage.
3. Where are the toilets?
Please refer to the 'Standard Teachers' Pack' on the Planning Your School Visit page of the website (see 'map for teachers and adult helpers').
The main toilet block is located in the Museum foyer (general use). There is an additional single male and single female toilet on the Station Platform (general use) and further toilets alongside the school lunchroom on the second floor (school groups only). There is an accessible toilet in each location.
4. What is my programme for the day?
You will receive a Booking Confirmation Form and letter after you have booked. The groupings for your pupils, timings of Discovery Session slot/s for your class/es, locations of Discovery Sessions and timings of lunchroom slot/s will all be itemised.
Please make sure that the children are pre-divided into their groups before arrival at STEAM. Also ensure that all of your accompanying adults are aware of these timings on the day to avoid difficulties for other groups using STEAM Education on the day of your visit.
You might find it useful for every adult to have a copy of the timings of the day along with a copy of the 'map for teachers and adult helpers' (see 'Standard Teachers' Pack' on the Planning Your School Visit page).
|STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway is strongly committed to protecting and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff, volunteers and visitors to embrace this commitment.|