Primary School groups have been able to access Ingestre Hall to study mixed arts residential courses for many years, but we were not making the most of our unique building, grounds and heritage within our offer to school groups. Although we had amassed a large amount of knowledge and information about the history of Ingestre Hall, the Information available to children regarding the history was dry and unappealing, simply not matching the creative nature of other aspects of our provision.
Ingestre Arts was then successful in applying for and being awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the ‘Ingestre Arts Heritage Trail’. This trail, around the hall and grounds, introduces children to the 400 year history and heritage of Ingestre Hall, including the centre’s more recent heritage as a residential art centre.
The trail was designed in conjunction with key stage 2 children from Moat Farm Junior School in Sandwell and launched last year. Each point on the trail explores a different aspect of the Hall’s heritage and links with the key stage 2 school curriculum in arts, science, history, literacy and geography, as well as promoting teamwork and social skills. Each child is given a heritage trail quiz book to complete which documents the various activities found around the hall and grounds.
The trail has enabled Ingestre Arts to offer purposeful day visits to key stage 2 schools, based on the heritage trail, as a cross-curricular alternative to a residential visit. These heritage days can be more easily staffed than mixed-arts day visits, which were proving difficult to offer due to our tutors being committed to teaching residential groups throughout the school year.
The Ingestre Arts Heritage Trail has also become a core component of all key stage 2 residential courses at the centre and has been used by some key stage 3 groups as a valuable and purposeful recreational activity that relates directly to their stay in our historic mansion. The attractive trail stages have become unique points of interest for all groups visiting Ingestre Hall, including the families of members of the public when the hall has been open to visitors.
All courses at Ingestre Hall promote creativity, independent learning and social skills within a unique residential and historic environment and schools are now regarding us as a viable place to visit for a day, not just for a residential stay as before.
The consultation with children from Moat Farm Junior School has enabled the trail to be developed in a child-friendly way and incorporating their ideas and designs has produced information for children that is both educational and engaging. Teachers and children using the trail have been extremely positive, with 100% feedback from teachers as ‘very good’.
For more information, see the Heritage Days section on our website, and call us if you want to come and see the trail for yourself.
Head of Centre, Ingestre Arts