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Museums and Schools

Museums and Schools is a new project supported using public funding by Arts Council England. It is part of part of a national initiative which is trying to increase school pupils’ engagement with culture.

The ss Great Britain Trust is partnering with the Science Museum in London and aims to see over 8,000 school children visit across the three years of the project, starting in May 2013.

This scheme will provide opportunities for Bristol pupils in years 6 and 7 to visit Brunel’s ss Great Britain with their class, as well as to attend organised events with their families during the summer between primary and secondary school, known as the transition period. They will also receive a free ticket to return with their families.

The ss Great Britain Trust’s education team will work closely with local schools to engage children in their final year of primary school and their first year of secondary school through group workshops and self led activities onsite at Brunel’s ss Great Britain. Pupils involved in the project will have the chance to learn about the history of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his engineering talents, as well as the story of the ship and what life was like on board for passengers and crew.

Information for schools

To ensure that each pupil participating can benefit from the Museums and Schools project, the ss Great Britain Trust is inviting clusters of secondary schools and primary schools to participate in the project together.  The first cluster has already been invited to participate in the 2012/13 school year and we will be sending out invitations for next year soon.

If your school has been invited and you would like more information please get in contact with our Museums and Schools Project Officer at

If your school has not yet been invited but you would like some information on how you can get involved, please contact the Museums and Schools Administrator  

Once schools have booked their visit they will receive a confirmation letter and an education pack which includes ideas for pre and post-visit activities to enhance pupil experience and make sure the class gets the most out of their trip to the site. Teachers will also be given the chance to visit Brunel’s ss Great Britain before-hand.

The Museums and Schools project can also support pupils working towards an Art Award.  The ss Great Britain Trust and the Real Ideas Organisation can provide support with pre and post-visit activities which can support pupils working on their Arts Award portfolios.

The Museums and School project offers your year 6 and year 7 pupils a unique opportunity to engage with Brunel’s ss Great Britain as a place of familiarity during their transition from primary to secondary school.  Through school visits to the site, access to the online game, family visits, and our summer evening transition events pupils will not only get a chance to engage with Bristol’s heritage and culture, but will also benefit from important opportunities to meet their fellow classmates and build confidence as they prepare for and begin their secondary education.

Information for families

Family Ticket

When your child visits Brunel’s ss Great Britain with their primary school they will receive a free family ticket which invites them to share their experience with you by coming back to the ship with your family free of charge.  You are invited to take up this offer at any time, but tickets do have an expiration date so be sure to use them while you can!

Summer Event

As the end of the school year approaches your child will receive an invitation to one of our summer transition events through their school.  These events will take place on weekday evenings throughout the summer and are an important part of the programme: offering your child a chance to attend an exclusive event at Brunel’s ss Great Britain along with their future fellow classmate.

We know that schools and families already work together to ensure that children make a good start to their secondary education, and we hope that our offer will compliment this work.  As your child makes their transition from primary to secondary school they will face a range of new challenges and our aim is to provide a place of familiarity during that transition, while offering opportunities for children to build new skills.


Once invited to the project, how do I sign up?

To sign up you only need to ring us and book a visit for your school. We also suggest that you might like to speak with other teachers within your cluster to encourage take-up of the project across all schools.  You don’t need to wait for your entire cluster to sign up before we can take your booking though, so please call to book today!

Can we bring other year groups along to the museum?

This project is specifically aimed at engaging year 6 pupils. If your year 6 group does not make up a class, we can host year 5/6 split classes; please contact us to discuss your group’s needs.

How will pupils receive their family tickets and invitations to summer transition events?

Free family tickets will be distributed to pupils on the date of their first year 6 visit, while pupils will receive their invitations to the summer transition events towards the end of the academic year. We will be contacting primary and secondary schools to discuss the best ways to distribute the invitations and encourage participation amongst families.


We have joined forces with Aardman to create a brand new interactive game called Full Steam Ahead which has been designed to teach pupils that Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s determination and resilience to persevere, solve problems and learn from mistakes helped him succeed.

The game takes the player through a series of ship building challenges, based on those that Brunel faced throughout his career. Successfully completing the challenges earns the player more money and stars so they can buy extra parts (engines, propellers, sails, coal and paddles); eventually resulting in the ‘ultimate ship’ that can cut through rough seas, carry more cargo, go the furthest distance and destroy opponents in tug-of-war battles.