York: your school trip questions answered

Date Posted: 27/11/2015

From the Minster for RE studies to the York Art Gallery for Design, there are a collection of places in the city of York that are ideal for an extended school trip.

Where can I visit for Art and History?

Teachers can choose from plenty of popular and educational attractions including York Art Gallery and York Castle Museum. Both buildings fall under the York Museums Trust umbrella, and proffer workshops for Primary and Secondary students.

York Art Gallery reopened this August following an £8 million restoration project, and is home to new commissions, Old Masters and more than 2,000 ceramic works.

Tie in a visit to the gallery with Art and Design or History topics; a Key Stage 2 workshop entitled The Greek Art of Philosophy: Should Art be Beautiful? covers areas of both subjects by looking at critical thinking about the past and understanding Art techniques.

Is History your forte? Take your students on a journey through York’s historic past by visiting the York Castle Museum. Home to Kirkgate, the recreated Victorian Street, and The York Castle Prison Experience, this museum is an ideal venue for discovering how people lived over the past 300 years.

Teachers can book Key Stage 1 students into a Washday workshop, during which the class will learn about historical concepts such as continuity and change, as well as how to draw contrasts between past and present society.

Organisers should e-mail groupbookings@ymt.org.uk to make a school booking for any York Museums Trust property – others include the York Museum Gardens and the Yorkshire Museum.

Yorkshire museum and Gardens

Pictured: Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. (Photo credit: VisitEngland/VisitYork).

My class love learning interactively: where can I go?

Barley Hall, a Medieval reconstructed townhouse in the city centre, is another ideal destination for a History experience, especially for students who enjoy a little more interaction when it comes to understanding events from the past.

A visit to Barley Hall provides Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 pupils with a hands-on experience in order to discover what life was like for a child living in Tudor times.

Through investigating artefacts and using role play (also linking to Drama), students will learn what children in the past ate and where they slept.

Pupils can spend either half a day or a full day dressed up as a Tudor in specially designed sessions, or you can take a tour of the hall with a guide from Tudor times.

Every school visit includes interacting with costumed characters, who will describe the contrasting lives of the hall’s wealthy residents and their poorer servants.

Organisers should call 01904-615505 or e-mail groups@yorkat.co.uk for more information.

Is there anywhere for Religious Education? 

York Minster offers school trip workshops and resources for a range of topics linking to RE (as well as Art and Design and History) for Key Stages 1 to 5. Teachers can choose from several ways to engage their students with the building and its heritage.

Pictured: York Minster, great for an RE visit. (Photo credit: VisitEngland/Diana Jarvis).

A two hour workshop focusing on the past and present of the minster is available at the Learning Centre in St William's College, adjacent to the East End of the Minster. One hour in the centre is based on interactive teaching, which includes a multi-media presentation, while the other hour is a guided tour of the religious building.

For a shorter visit teachers can opt for a one hour guided tour of the minster, with a maximum of 30 students per guide.

The third alternative option is taking a self-conducted visit, during which your class can climb the 275 steps up to the top of the central tower for views across the city and the Vale of York. Students under the age of eight are not permitted to climb the tower for health and safety reasons.

What other ways can my students explore the city?

If your students enjoy problem solving and working as team, you could set them on a York Treasure Hunt.

Best suited to pupils aged eight and over, the hunt will take students past places of interest including York Minster, the Treasurer’s House, The Dig, Merchant Adventurers Hall, Jorvik Viking Centre, Cliffords Tower and York Dungeon.

Each treasure hunt is pre-written; teachers pre-order a hunt which will have everything included on the day like directions, clues, extra tasks, a map, the answers and a free teacher’s pack. The treasure hunts are also available to download on smartphones and tablets.

Each hunt takes up to two hours to complete and can be incorporated into a half or full day trip by stopping off for lunch and/or visiting other educational sites en route or nearby.

Where can my class sleep if we want to stay overnight?

York Racecourse Centre is a great accommodation option for school groups based on its proximity to everything in the city centre. The residential building is based at the stables complex for York Racecourse, the latter of which hosts a variety of race days each year as well as music events and family days out.

When the racecourse is not in use, the accommodation centre can offer school parties private tours of the stables and the main racecourse site. Pupils can learn about the history of the Knavesmire and the operational side of the horse racing venue.

There are beds for up to 130 pupils across two buildings, a full board package which includes a breakfast, packed lunch and home-cooked two course evening meal, and a recreational room available for organising your own activities.

For further information about the city of York and what it offers for champions of Learning Outside the Classroom, visit www.visityork.org.

School Travel Organiser's Guide