Why Warwick Castle is a Top Location for School History Visits

With so much fascinating history and heritage here in the UK, study tours based on home soil have the potential to be both inspiring and educational. Warwick Castleis one of the most popular venues for UK study tours and, considering the stunning interiors, pretty gardens andincredible range of displays and activities, it’s certainly not surprising.
If you want to make history evenmore appealing to your pupils, take it outside the classroom and head to Warwick Castle, to guarantee your students a day to remember.

Below are just some of the highlights.

Horrible Histories Maze

A maze can be a lot of fun, especially when it’s been created like this one, with a host of challenges along the way. As your students choose their path through the centuries, history unravels before them and some of the world’s best-kept secretsare revealed.

Youngsters will be able to act out invading a Viking ship or living in the trenches; theycan get involved in uncovering evil plots; and they’ll be able to get up close and personal to the ‘Slimy Stuarts’ and ‘Terrifying Tudors’. Asthey make their way through the maze, they’ll earn stamps for their time passport and collect a prize at the end when they’ve conquered the challenge.

Time Tower

This castle was once the most powerful in middle England – an accolade it held for more than 1,000 years. Through the audio-visual multimedia in the Time Tower, students follow characters that recount stories ofwhat happened in this historic monument through the ages. Death, treachery, bloodshed and destruction were all part of Warwick Castle’s past, and it’s a story that is only now being told.

The Dungeon

Dungeons are always popular withschool groups and this one is no exception. Some of the most horrific of times from the history of the castle are re-enacted here, with live actors and plenty of bangs and flashes bringing the ancient stories to life. This somewhat chilling experience is geared specifically for students of secondary school age, which goes some way to showing the level ofimmersion into this gruesome encounter.

The Mighty Trebuchet

As military warfare developed, no castle worth its salt was without a catapult. Recognised as the largest siege machine in the world, the Trebuchet is an enormous catapult once aimed at enemy walls with the intent of firing rocks to break them down. Today, this replicated piece of awe-inspiring weaponry is still fired on occasion,although not for the same reasons!

Tours, Talks and Workshops

We’re very lucky to have a host of excellent attractions that are geared up for school visits in theUK. Study tours for both primary and secondary pupils are well catered for at Warwick Castle, with plenty of talks and workshops available to book.

Primary Packages

Younger minds will enjoy the range of tours on offer, which includeMeet the Monarchy, toteach them about three of England’s most important Kings and Queens, andthe Castle Life tour, a lively introduction to the social and cultural aspects of life in the lead up to the War of the Roses.

A range of subjects is accommodated, with Design Technology emphasised in the Swords and Shields Workshop, and Citizenship (and history) being the focus of the Power of the Monarchy tour.

Secondary Packages

Older children will have the chance to explore the castle’s medieval defences in Attack and Defence, or to learn about the judiciary system, common crimes and capital punishment in Crime and Punishment. The Battle Skills workshop, which incorporates an element of drama, is always a popular and there are not many pupils who don’t like a bit of gruesome storytelling! The Student Ultimate Tour is the top recommendationfor those looking for a general overview of the castle’s history.

UK study tours are best booked through a specialised educational tour operator. These companies have all the required information at their fingertips and can help withthe logistics and planning of the trip. Let the experts do the organising so you can focus on making the trip to Warwickshire as fun and interesting as possible.

Author Plate

John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational travel for school and youth groups. Whether you’re planning UK study tours, Iceland geography trips or trekking expeditions to India, you can trust both the educational and economic value of their itineraries, whether ready-made or specifically designed to suit the needs of your group.

Primary School Trip Ideas for Your Class: Bristol Aquarium

Class outings are very exciting for both the pupils and teachers in primary school. Trips to various sites and museums are met with a sense of wonder and genuine curiosity by young students eager to learn. One of the most fascinating and popular places to visit in the UK is the Bristol Aquarium. The facility is packed with interesting exhibits and the staff are passionate about sharing their knowledge of all living things, above and below the water, with you and your class.
Bristol Aquarium

The Bristol Aquarium is a nicely sized facility to visit with a class from a primary school. Trips can be accurately tailored to various age groups and the place is not so vast that either the educators or children get overwhelmed. With more than 40 different themed displays the learning opportunities are endless.

From seahorses to puffer fish, piranhas, rays and even tropical sharks, the aquarium has an excellent collection of tropical and native UK fish on display. It also boasts a huge botanical house, which is home to a massive number of exotic plants and trees from around the world.

Year-Appropriate Curriculum

The Bristol Aquarium does a wonderful job of actively conducting curriculum-supported guided tours to make a teacher’s life that bit easier. Each tour has similar features including: • A tailored tour focusing on different themes or subjects • One hour of educational instruction • Engaging the children in interactive workshops during the tour

Teachers are also invited to the aquarium prior to bringing the children from their primary school.Trips can then be accurately planned, even down to finding a designated space for the children to have lunch.

Year 3: Animals – While Year 3 pupils begin to learn about animals and their needs to sustain life, the Bristol Aquarium offers multiple tours focusing on creatures and their diets – and even provides the opportunity to watch them at feeding time.

Year 5: Habitats – Students in Year 5 are encouraged to develop their scientific investigative skills during a visit to the aquarium that introduces an in-depth look at life cycles and their supportive habitats. Children will see baby seahorses, the developmental cycle of the Lesser Spotted Catshark and possibly even tadpoles.

Year 6: Evolution – The Bristol Aquarium is well equipped to tackle the topic of evolution with any class. Excursions focusing on this topic will begin with an exploration of rocks and fossils and builds on the understanding that things change over time.

Fun and Learning in One Place

The Bristol Aquarium is a favourite destination for children of all ages attending primary school. Trips are always exciting, informative and inspirational for the pupils and offer a greater understanding of topics being discussed in the classroom. Visits to the aquarium are best when planned and organised by a specialised educational tour operator. They will manage all the details, from bookings to making sure that there is ample parking for coaches on the day of the visit.

The aquarium is a place you might potentially visit numerous times, with various classes and ages from your primary school. Trips to this one location can be entirely different from each other, depending on the subject focus, so that the information remains fresh and engaging. Contact a school travel operator today and begin your class’s journey into the wonders of the natural world.

Author Plate

John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational travel for school and youth groups. Whether you’re planning primary school trips in the UK, Iceland geography trips or trekking expeditions to India, you can trust both the educational and economic value of their itineraries, whether ready-made or specifically designed to suit the needs of your group.

5 Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Insurance

Buying insurance can be confusing, but when the unexpected happens – a house fire, a car accident or a bone fracture – it is a relief to know that some of those financial losses are going to be covered. But how do you know how much coverage you need? And what questions should you ask before buying a policy? Many consumers aren’t very sure. Insurance coverage is far from one size fits all, so here are mistakes some consumers make when buying insurance.
1. Assuming insurance is out of reach. In some cases, consumers skip insurance because they think it’s out of their budget. Often, that’s not the case, according to Marvin Feldman, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that educates consumers about financial planning and insurance. The LIFE Foundation collaborated with LIMRA, a worldwide research and consulting organization for insurance and financial services, on the 2013 Insurance Barometer Study, which found that the average consumer thinks life insurance is three times more expensive than it actually is.

When buying health insurance or property and casualty insurance, ask about potential discounts. While health insurance discounts are often income-based, homeowners and auto insurers offer discounts for everything from being a member of groups like AARP, to being a good student or a good driver, to having a home security system.

2. Relying on assumptions or outdated figures. Changing economic conditions mean you might need more insurance coverage than you had in the past. Take life insurance. In the past, consumers might have based their life insurance coverage on their current income, but if something happens and you’re no longer around, you need more capital at work to provide the same income to your beneficiaries. Disability and long-term care insurance are even more complicated than traditional life insurance.

In the case of homeowners insurance, your home could be underinsured if you’ve renovated or if the cost to build a home has increased due to higher material costs or other factors. That’s why experts recommend reviewing insurance coverage once every year to make sure it still fits your needs. Talk to your insurance agent if you’re unsure.

3. Shopping on price alone. Resist the urge to simply choose the policy with the lowest premium. Consider the company’s reputation and the coverage you’d get for that premium. In general with health insurance, the higher the premium, the lower the amount you pay when you go to the doctor. Private health insurance plans must provide coverage examples showing what your estimated out-of-pocket costs would be for, say, having a baby or managing Type 2 diabetes. Some examples might not apply to you, but they can help you compare plans and see how much you might have to pay in coinsurance and copays.

Your property and casualty insurance may not cover things like food spoilage in the event of a power outage or stolen electronics worth more than $1,000, so you may want to purchase extra endorsements to cover those possibilities.

With disability or long-term care insurance, prices can vary depending on the length of the elimination period – the amount of time you must wait before coverage begins – and whether the policy includes inflation protection, so consider these factors, too.

4. Overlooking details. Make sure you understand what your insurance policy covers. For health insurance, it’s cheaper to see doctors who are in-network and buy prescription drugs covered by the formulary, so check to see if your doctor is in-network and if your prescription drugs are covered before you buy a policy. Otherwise, you could get an expensive surprise.Read your insurance policy and contact your insurance agent if anything is unclear.

5. Setting your deductible too low. Setting a low deductible typically means higher premiums, and in the case of property and casualty insurance, a greater likelihood of small claims that could ultimately raise your premiums. Insurance is designed to protect against losses you could not cover yourself, so if you can afford to pay the first $500 or $1,000 in losses yourself, you may not need a lower premium.