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Plans unveiled for new cultural partnership

School pupil visiting Brunel's ss Great Britain

The ss Great Britain Trust has today launched Museums and Schools, a new project supported using public funding by Arts Council England, which is part of part of a national initiative to try and increase school pupils’ engagement with culture.

Partnering with the Science Museum in London, Bristol’s iconic visitor attraction, Brunel’s ss Great Britain, aims to see over 8,000 school children visit across the three years of the project, commencing in May 2013.

The idea

Ten regional museums are partnering with clusters of local schools and national museums. They will be working with bridge organisations to increase the number of high quality educational visits by schools in areas which currently have lower than average cultural engagement.

Museums and Schools will provide opportunities for Bristol pupils in years 6 and 7 to visit with their class, as well as to organised events with their families during the summer between primary and secondary school, known as the transition period. They will receive a free ticket to return with their families as part of the project.

The 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.

A new partnership

The Science Museum will work with the education team at Brunel’s ss Great Britain, sharing skills, expertise and resources as part of the project.  

Rhian Tritton, Director of Education and Conservation, ss Great Britain Trust said;

“This is a unique and exciting partnership, which aims to help pupils avoid a dip in their performance at school by supporting them during the difficult period of moving from primary to secondary education. Through a series of engaging activities, as well as summer events, we will encourage the continuity of learning at this vital time.

“Our mission is to inspire the next generation. Museums and Schools is not just about kids learning stuff, it’s actually about them going away excited and encouraged. We hope they can feel as passionate as we do about this marvellous ship and the work of Brunel.”

Karen Davis, Head of Museums Learning Resources, Science Museum said;

“We are thrilled to partner with the ss Great Britain Trust on this exciting project to engage and inspire teachers, young people and their families with science and engineering.”

“Sharing our learning expertise and education experience will enable the Trust to run family days and develop character-led walking workshops for students on board Brunel’s ss Great Britain.”

The Game

In addition to the onsite activities, Brunel’s ss Great Britain is working with Aardman to create a game for pupils to play in the classroom and with their families at home.

The game will be designed to teach pupils that Brunel’s determination and resilience to persevere, solve problems and learn from mistakes helped him succeed. They will learn to use aspects of these skills and attributes themselves, to solve problems or challenges.

Ultimately it is hoped that the time the pupils spend visiting Brunel’s ss Great Britain will spark their curiosity and help encourage in them a lifelong passion for culture and learning.