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A Q&A with… Warwick Castle

Date Posted: 25/11/2014

We spoke to Jamie Chegwin, education executive at Warwick Castle about the importance of education as ‘edutainment’ amongst discussing some of the castle’s education plans for 2015.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about Warwick Castle?

A: As well as running epic attractions, shows and activities all year round, the castle welcomes around 75,000 students every year.

This includes pupils from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5, to whom we offer a focussed selection of curriculum based tours and workshops tailored to provide schools with an ‘ultimate’ outside the classroom learning experience.

Although the core subjects we teach at the castle include History, Citizenship, Science and Design and Technology, we also offer tours and workshops as varied as Drama and Art and Design.

We are introducing a new tour this year that works with students at Key Stage 1 level, and teaches them the fundamentals of History by introducing them to significant individuals of the past.

The tour demonstrates how their lives have contributed to national and international achievements, and opens their minds up to classification and social hierarchy.

Q: Why do you think it is important for education to be entertaining and interactive for students?

A: We understand that in order for a teacher to take learning outside the classroom the experience needs to be relevant and focussed around the National Curriculum.

However, we’ve learnt from working with teachers that a student’s learning experience needs to be equally engaging and fun at the same time.

This way, students tend not only to learn more but they retain knowledge that they’ve gained because they want to remember exciting experiences. Therefore this is the standard that we set ourselves here at Warwick Castle.

Q: What do you believe are the most important features of a school trip that a teacher expects from the experience?

A: Obviously, the learning content and experience their students are receiving is primarily the most important factor.

Having said this, we understand that teachers have time limitations around planning and preparing for large school trips.

Therefore, one of our key missions in 2015 is to the make pre-visit, during and post visiting the castle as simple and informative as possible.

We aim to achieve this by supplying a very detailed online risk assessment, along with downloadable permission slips to ease planning preparation.

It is also important that we allow learning to continue after the school leaves so there will be downloadable online activities worksheets for students to use during and after leaving the castle.

It is worth a mention that teachers can access planning tips online, as well as book a free teacher visit prior to their school’s trip.

Q: Why should schools bring their students to Warwick Castle in 2015?

A: It’s been very exciting the last few months at the castle as we have been developing lots of new ideas for our 2015 educational packages and workshops.

We plan to introduce over five new school packages which are based around the castle’s specialist topics including Science, Design and Technology and, of course, History.

From witnessing medieval instruments demonstrating the forces of physics to getting creative with Art and Drama, we allow students to engage with more subjects, meeting the 2015 curriculum demands.

For example if it’s History you’re interested in, students can learn about the changing power of various monarchs, famous battles that occurred from Norman the Conquer up to World War Two, and changes in crime and punishment with interactive surprises.

Q: Are there any educational events occurring throughout 2015 that schools can book?

A: Yes. There’s lots coming up in 2015, starting with National Storyweek to kick start the New Year.

You can find out more on the castle's events page at www.warwick-castle.com/schools including updates on its British Science Week 2015 event.

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