Canals and cars in the midlands

Date Posted: 15/03/2012

Part of our ongoing Quality Badge series.

In a county known for its industry, consider a transport-themed school trip at one of these two lesser-known Learning Outside the Classroom-accredited venues.

Dudley Canal Trust

Dudley Canal Trust (pictured) has actively restored, cared for, and promoted the use of canals in the Dudley region for more than 30 years. Its base at Blowers Green Pumphouse, a former canal pumping station, has been adapted to provide facilities for school groups to learn about canals and canal life. The building incorporates a purpose-built lecture theatre, an upstairs area for activities, and a space for students to eat their packed lunches.

In the immediate vicinity of the Pumphouse is Blowers Green Lock, with canals that lead off in three directions. A 45-minute environmental walk can incorporate Blowers Green Lock, a toll office and Canal Company Cottage, two canal arms, a railway viaduct, three locks at Parkhead, and the entrance to the Dudley Tunnel.

A typical canal day comprises a talk on the history of the canals, to incorporate Living History and Environmental studies; open canal boat trips or limestone caverns for Geology and History; a demonstration of the costumes worn by canal people, with the chance of dressing up; and a talk on canal art with the opportunity to design and paint a lace-edged plate.

A variety of educational options are available, which can include any special emphasis to fit in with the class’s Key Stage programme. Dudley Canal Trust is registered with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for boat trips, and has Risk Assessments available for all trips.

Land Rover Education Partnership Centre

The Land Rover Education Partnership Centre is based at the Solihull Land Rover manufacturing plant, where the Defender, Discovery, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover models are produced, and the Jaguar Education Partnership Centre is located in the Castle Bromwich Jaguar manufacturing plant, where the XK, XF and XJ models are produced. Both sites deliver bespoke curriculum-based sessions in a real business environment, for students of all ages, abilities and qualifications.

Visits to the centres include a factory tour, a demonstration of the Just-in-Time and Right-First-Time manufacturing processes, teamwork exercises, production line challenges, and programming robotics. A typical school trip starts with a safety presentation, followed by a look at the range of cars and an account of Jaguar Land Rover’s history. There are a number of activities available to support a variety of curriculum areas, and it can be arranged for guest speakers from within the company to talk about a particular subject.

The centres deliver a number of different modules and can support most areas of the curriculum, from Key Stage 2 to degree students. Half and full-day sessions are available, and these can include a driving experience around the Jungle Track in a Land Rover or a Range Rover. Risk assessments are also obtainable for teachers.

Useful contacts:

Dudley Canal Trust:

Jaguar Land Rover Education Partnership Centres:
0121-700 3035

Quality Badge: the facts

This feature forms part of an ongoing series looking at venues and attractions throughout the UK which have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, exploring the educational opportunities and learning programmes available at each site.

The Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge is a national accreditation developed by The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. Assisting educational organisers in identifying venues which deliver quality teaching and learning experiences, Quality Badge holders have been recognised as operating in a healthy and safe environment, taking account of user needs, emphasising learning/skills outcomes, and offering ‘exactly what it says on the tin’.

For further information log onto

School Travel Organiser's Guide