Latitude Festival: a school trip case study

Date Posted: 22/09/2015

This year the Latitude festival launched a schools programme. Picture credit: Victor Frankowski.

A school trip to Latitude Festival? That’s where Benhall St Mary’s C.E.V.C Primary School students went at the end of last term. School Travel Organiser spoke to Katie Jenkins, deputy head teacher of the school in Suffolk, about the trip and the importance of providing students with new experiences.

The Latitude Festival is perhaps not the sort of place you would expect a school trip to take place. However, it holds the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge and this July invited Key Stage 2 classes within a 20 mile radius of the festival to take part in its schools programme. 

For Katie Jenkins taking her Year 5 and 6 students to the festival gave them the opportunity to experience something new and exciting. “It was the end of the year and we were looking for something to do with the leavers and going to the Latitude Festival is something that really stood out to us,” she said. “The children hear all about it because it is only five or six miles down the road, so it was something they could get really excited about.”

She added: “I think taking them out of their comfort zone is a really important thing to do. We did have a few children that were a little bit nervous as it was incredibly busy, but they just loved that new experience. Things like that I think are really important, just giving them new experiences.”

There were, however some concerns from parents before the trip: “Because of the reputation that it can have with the locals and the picture people get of what a festival is like, there were concerns about what their children were going to,” Katie revealed.

“I think people were worried about the pupils seeing lots of drunk people, but we weren’t in that area, we were in a very safe environment. It was very busy, but it was very safe.”

The Latitude Festival was a whole new experience for Key Stage 2 students from Benhall St Mary’s C.E.V.C Primary School in Suffolk. Picture credit: Dan Medhurst.

Latitude Festival Schools Programme

The programme was designed to support a range of Key Stage 2 topics in Music, Art & Design, PE, Drama and English.

From the Children’s Theatre with a range of live theatre, puppetry and music performance and visiting authors and illustrators holding interactive readings to astronomy and geology activities, the programme covered curriculum subjects in interactive and hands-on ways.

“We did the astronomy activity where there was a lot of learning about the planets. They set it up so they pretended the children were reaching Pluto and were looking for crystals,” Katie explained.

The Astronomy session, led by Derek Langley, a STEM ambassador and design engineer, explored the size of planets and also showed a video of a NASA rocket launch. 

“We also did beat boxing, which was very good as it was completely different to anything we’d normally do in school and I was trying to pick things that would be very different to a normal school lesson.”

Finding inspiring, engaging and different school trips for her students is the main criteria for Katie when she looks to arrange a visit. And the Latitude Festival certainly ticked all those boxes.

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