Shipshape trips to Cardiff Bay

Date Posted: 21/03/2015

School: Raglan VC Primary School, Raglan, south Wales
Destination: Cardiff Bay

A visit to Europe’s largest waterfront development and the site of Wales’ oldest multi-ethnic community provided youngsters with the chance to see the area from an exciting and new perspective.

Marc Bowen, deputy head and Year 5 class teacher from Raglan VC Primary School, liaised with the harbour master’s education department at Cardiff Harbour, Cardiff Bay, for a day out that included a boat trip.

“The project was part of a local geography study, comparing our village location with an urban area, and also linked to our study of the historical development of Wales in line with social and demographic changes throughout the Industrial Revolution and beyond,” he explained.

“The session was organised by the harbour master’s education service, including all resources. I simply needed to organise coach travel.

“The transitions on and off the coach were very easy and safe, as the drop-off point was a two minute walk away from the Norwegian Church, which was our base for the day.”

Formerly known as Tiger Bay, the area was once home to sailors and workers from over 50 countries.

A huge regeneration programme in the 1990s transformed the bay, and the Cardiff Barrage created a large freshwater lake. Boat tours provide an understanding of the history and fauna of the area.

The church, now a cultural venue, was built in 1868 for the thousands of sailors employed in the Norwegian merchant fleet and is the oldest surviving church in Britain to be founded by the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission.

“We were greeted by the education lead at the church and given a brief orientation of the bay, with a mapping task where the children were challenged to give the coordinates of different landmarks and key buildings using a compass and map,” said Marc.

“This was followed by a ride in a covered water bus, where the children were given the historical context of the bay’s development, as well as views that were unique to the boat trip such as the white water course of the watersports centre.

“During the tour the children were asked to focus on an undeveloped area of the bay for later activities.”

After lunch the pupils were tasked with creating a new building for the area of land, discussing potential uses, what amenities were needed and how local people could utilise the facilities.

The group then re-visited the site and completed a Maths task, working in teams, to calculate the dimensions of the plot.

They produced annotated sketches of a building, with consideration for ecological issues, and created clay models which they took back to school.

Cardiff Harbour can assist with school trips and organising boat hire, in addition to providing work sheets linked to the Geography and Science curriculum and hiring out equipment, such as the trundle wheels, compasses and clipboards used by the Raglan group for the Plan the Bay session, or pond dipping equipment for the Bay Explorers itinerary.

Marc concluded: “I would definitely recommend a trip. The broad spectrum of activities meant that all the children were engaged and enjoyed themselves.

“The church was an ideal base for workshops, lunch and toilet stops and the education team were excellent and provided all the appropriate risk assessments and clear, detailed planning for the activities.

“The boat trip was a definite high point for everyone as it gave the children a new perspective of the bay and helped to put the other learning activities in context.”

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Photo credit: Visit Cardiff.

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