The Education / Learning Team of the Year Award recognises a group of people, big or small, whose collective inspiration has led to fantastic support and outcomes for school groups. Read about the finalists and find out who won in 2022.

As part of the School Travel Awards, every year we ask teachers, parents, pupils, and providers to nominate an Education / Learning Team of the Year.

Thank you to everyone who made a nomination for this year’s award and congratulations to the Disney Theatrical Teaching Artist Team which was announced as the 2022 winner at the School Travel Awards ceremony in London on 25th May.

 

All our 2022 finalists were brilliant, find out about them here…

Conisbrough Castle Education Team (English Heritage)

This is a team that really loves to bring history to life for the many pupils and teachers who visit Conisbrough Castle in Yorkshire. It boasts nearly 30 years’ experience delivering hands-on, expert-led Discovery Visit sessions, which are tailored to the curriculum and incorporate current teaching practices and learning styles.

The education team, including a local historian, scout leader and staff with a wealth of classroom teaching experience, have buckets of skill and enthusiasm so they can inspire and entertain. They encourage learning through interactive, fun and historically accurate sessions, rather than simply instruction, and have been recognised with a Sandford Award for excellence and a Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge.

School visits to Conisbrough Castle give students the chance to stand where history happened, with the grounds and the bailey acting as a backdrop to the spectacular circular keep. For younger pupils, the team uses role-play and hands-on activities to encourage them to use their imagination. To achieve this, activities include dressing up, handling medieval objects and even utilising replica smells of medieval life in order to help immerse pupils in the past.

For older students the team tailor Discovery Visit workshops to support the curriculum through hands-on investigations. The result is school groups being able to place the castle in the context of the 1066 invasion and the medieval period as experienced by the people of the area.

With a wealth of experience, and by working closely with teachers, the team at Conisbrough Castle has come to understand the practical needs involved in organising a school trip. The aim is simple: to ensure that pupils and teachers get the absolute most out of their day and leave with lasting memories of their school visit.

 

Disney Theatrical Teaching Artist Team

Disney theatrical education offers a range of creative resources designed to enhance any theatre trip. Each of its West End and touring productions is supported by an education programme, developed closely with teachers and educators.

The teaching artist team play a vital role in supporting schools to engage with live theatre by unlocking its learning potential. It was also created to nurture future audiences and industry professionals.

The team runs all of the pre-show workshops for school groups, which is normally more than 150 per year across the four shows. They also work as artists-in-residence, during the autumn and spring terms, in primary schools. This sees them leading schools through the process of producing their first ever musical as well as empowering and upskilling teachers to become directors, musical directors, choreographers and stage managers.

The team not only delivers workshops, but produces musicals in schools and runs ad-hoc events such teacher CPD days. Team members also play a critical role in the development of workshop content, both advising and sharing best practice.

Created seven years ago, there are 13 people in the team and the teaching artists come with a variety of performance and facilitation skills. They are all musical theatre professionals: actors, musical directors, dancers, directors and storytellers in additional to being fantastic educators who have a passion for working with young people.

 

WWT Martin Mere

Martin Mere in Lancashire was set up by Peter Scott in 1975 with a special emphasis on education, as well as nature conservation and recreation.

There are two people currently contracted and one casual in the education team, although they are aiming to build back after the Covid pandemic to help serve the large numbers of schools that are once again making bookings. There are also 15 education volunteer teachers and ground workers.

The team’s aim is to facilitate learning, both in nature and through nature, in addition to exploring our role in nature (wetlands in particular) in an engaging, relevant and stimulating way.

For schools the learning team at WWT Marin Mere provides day visits and will help with advice and resources, from the planning stage through to follow-up learning after a trip has taken place.

The team do a fantastic job of inspiring young people to love and care for wetlands and for nature more widely. Changing its focus from knowledge-acquisition to nature connection the team believes that it can help pupils to, not only fall in love with nature, but want to protect it too.

To achieve this it is not enough to just teach them about nature; they need to experience it directly; see it, hear it, smell it, touch it and ultimately feel part of it. The team has really taken this on board, developing new sessions such as ‘Wellies and Wellbeing’ that encourages children to become immersed in nature and experience it using the full range of senses.

There are around 15 outdoor workshop topics on offer, from Reception age up to post-graduate level. With four classrooms, a lecture theatre, four outdoor classroom spaces and a dedicated school toilet block, the site is well equipped. The team manages ponds, woodlands and other wetland habitats for its workshops throughout the year.

For something really fun and engaging, for living history visits the staff and volunteers all stay in character throughout the day so the children feel like they have really stepped back in time.

WWT Martin Mere currently offers a free visit including free transport to schools with over 35% free school meals, alongside five other WWT centres. Prior to Covid the team was delivering its on-site workshops to 10,000 school children per year and they hope to reach and exceed that benchmark within a couple of years.

 

Surrey Wildlife Trust

Surrey Wildlife Trust is a charity and one of 46 wildlife trusts operating across the country delivering a common aim of connecting nature, restoring 30% land and sea for nature by 2030, and empowering one in four people to take action for nature.

Surrey Wildlife Trust has delivered outdoor learning sessions from its reserves at Nower Wood and Bay Pond for over 50 years.

There are seven officers delivering tutor-led sessions for schools out of the education centre at Nower Wood – four of which are involved with school visits, with two focussed on delivering accredited training for teachers in forest schools and outdoor learning. The team also aims to empower teachers to use the facilities available to deliver their own outdoor learning sessions in nature and support this through curriculum linked session plans and expected learning outcomes, equipment, marked woodland routes and risk assessments.

Ultimately, the mission is to provide a whole cross section of educational opportunities and professional qualifications. This is based on a deep experience of managing land for nature to inspire everyone to not just take action in support of nature but to do so in a way that truly helps connect it too.

There are a range of services from tutor-led curriculum linked visits at Nower Wood in Leatherhead, to a safe and wonderful woodland resource for schools to use for their own self-guided outdoor learning opportunities. Teachers who opt for the self-guided sessions are supported by volunteers who know the woodland and programmes with help available when needed.

The outdoor learning team are now also working with schools under the banner of ‘Team Wilder’. This project works more deeply with a selected cohort of schools every year to help co-create improvements in the school’s own grounds for biodiversity and learning, to train teachers to increase their confidence to deliver their own sessions in the school grounds, and to empower students to take action for nature and the climate, both in school and in their own gardens.

 

UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team

The Education team was established in 1980 by both houses at UK Parliament and in 2016 was expanded to include Engagement. It offers free education services for teachers and schools, including face-to-face tours, online and outreach sessions, learning resources, and professional development for educators.

Visiting the UK Parliament Education Centre, pupils can see history being made first-hand with a tour of the Houses of Parliament. Interactive sessions are available in-person and online for school groups of all ages and are tailored to the UK’s four curriculums. Travel subsidies are also available for schools outside London and the south east.

Plus, every year schools are invited to participate in UK Parliament Week, its flagship annual public engagement festival.

The Outreach team brings UK Parliament directly to schools by delivering engaging assemblies and workshops. Each assembly equips students with an understanding of how UK Parliament works, the roles and responsibilities of MPs and members of the House of Lords, and how young people can get their voices heard.

There are also digital events which are an interactive approach to engage pupils with the work of the UK Parliament. These include Learn, Live and Learn with the Lords formats. Free resources, loan boxes, education packs, educational games, lesson plans, presentations, educational videos and worksheets are provided for teachers to download and use.

Online training sessions from the heart of democracy are available for teachers to enable them to better nurture students’ understanding of UK Parliament’s work. Teachers can also join the UK Parliament Teacher Network and enjoy opportunities to share teaching ideas with Network members across the UK. 

About the School Travel Awards

The Education / Learning Team of the Year is part of the School Travel Awards which recognises inspiring people and the very best companies, venues and attractions providing school trips. 

Organised by School Travel Organiser magazine, it’s an important annual initiative celebrating learning outside the classroom, that raises the profile and highlights the importance of school trips for children - with exciting opportunities for schools to also win big prizes.

To find out more click to schooltravelorganiser.com/awards.