The Devils and the detail

Date Posted: 02/01/2015

A visit to Manchester United Football Club is always going to score highly. A typical session involves a tour of Old Trafford, interactive education elements, and time for individual learning within the museum. Linked to the National Curriculum, the museum offers programmes for students of all ages. Teachers are provided with follow-up lesson plans after the visit to the ‘theatre of dreams’.

Laura Flint, the curriculum manager, has worked at Manchester United Museum and Tour Centre for seven years. Prior to her appointment she was a Primary school teacher for five years, working in two local schools during this time. She is also a massive Manchester United fan!

Q How long has there been an education department and what do you do?

A I set up the education department myself when I was appointed seven years ago. There was no education provision in the museum prior to this. I devised the programme and we have gradually increased the department to include one additional permanent member of staff and one part-time member of staff.

There are two sides to my role. The first involves planning all the education sessions, preparing resources and delivering sessions. The second involves the admin - I liaise with the teachers, complete all the admin and book the visits.

Myself or my colleague Matt are the main contacts for all teachers at every point during the planning and deliver stages of their visit. This makes it feel personal.

Q How many school trips do you host per year?

A We have approximately 30,000 educational visits per year. These visits are ‘true’ educational visits i.e. they have some sort of classroom-based session as well as their stadium tour and time in the museum.

Q What do you cover in the tour?

A The stadium tour includes all the behind-the-scenes areas like the players’ changing rooms, dugouts, press conference room etc. There are also some fantastic views of the stadium and plenty of information about the history of the club, the stadium development and the modern-day Manchester United is given to visitors during the stadium tour.

The education sessions are additional to the stadium tour and museum. They cover a wide range of areas and can be accessed by any type of learner.

The sessions link to the National Curriculum, so for primary schools this can mean Literacy, Numeracy, Science or History, whereas for secondary schools and colleges this means Business, Science and PE.

Q Is the tour just for football-mad pupils?

A The museum has so many interesting artefacts, from the 2012 London Olympics for example, meaning anyone can enjoy a visit here. The education sessions are all linked to Manchester United, but we have many visitors who are not Manchester United fans or even football fans! The sessions are fun and engaging so they can be enjoyed by anyone.

Q How has your educational offer changed over the years?

A The educational visits are now fully educational. They include tailored sessions for all groups who request them. The educational visits are also cheaper than the standard group visits, because we're very keen to encourage all groups to have some additional learning experiences.

Q What topics do you cover?

A We cover Literacy, Numeracy, History, Science and Citizenship with primary schools. The Literacy workshops are mock press conferences which ask the children to use question and answer as well as hot-seating.

The session is based around the Munich Air Disaster and the children will write a newspaper report about it when they get back to school. The Numeracy session is linked to data handling, where we look at the different types of averages using player facts, as well as problem solving and estimating skills.

The Science session is about healthy eating and exercise, where children discover the routines followed by the Manchester United players. History is a local study of a significant event.

The stadium and surrounding areas were bombed during WWII. Finally, Citizenship is about equality and diversity, where we look at the similarities and differences between players and why this is important in a team.

For secondary schools, colleges and universities, we link to Business, PE and Science. For Business, we cover sponsorship, marketing, event management, finance and global strategies. In our PE sessions we cover fitness and nutrition, which is also used as a Science session, as well as event health and safety.

Q How do you help teachers prepare for visits?

A We liaise with the schools at every stage. We send out all the information and we collect as much information about the learners as possible so we can tailor the sessions effectively. We also send out full itineraries of the day as well as risk assessments and group guidelines.

Teachers are welcome to come and carry out their own pre-visit risk assessment to familiarise themselves with their surroundings.

Q What makes a great educational visit?

A The most rewarding thing about working in this field is engaging with learners who may not normally take part in learning, as well as delivering a full learning experience without the children realising until afterwards that they have just taken part in a Literacy or Numeracy session.

Football is a very powerful industry so it’s very encouraging when this power is harnessed and used to motivate young learners.

For more information visit www.manutd.com

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