Class Trip to an Airport

person icon Runway Visitor Park

This week we spoke to the team at the Education Centre at Manchester Airport to find out what they can offer school groups across a range of different key stages. We asked about the curriculum linked subjects and topics they can cater for, and how children get the opportunity to climb aboard a real aircraft, learn about the job roles, and about the various airport functions.

Hi Annette I would like to begin by asking you to give an overview of your company and your company ethos?

"Established in 2005, the Education Centre at Runway Visitor Park, which is a part of Manchester Airport, continues to educate and inspire.

We are located right at the end of the busy runways Runway Visitor Park and we have breath-taking views across both runways. It is a very exciting environment for children of all ages, to enjoy & learn in!

On average, 14,500 pupils take part in our Educational Tours each year.

airport learning

What type of curriculum subjects can be covered with a trip to Runway Visitor Centre and what are some of the most popular?

"We have linked our tours to areas of the National Curriculum actively, encouraging and involving children in their learning.

Our tours easily link to Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Design Technology and History. We have some great resources on our website including lesson plans and worksheets to use following your tour with us!

It seems to be a very interactive and engaging trip, what sort of activities are available?

"The interactive nature of our tours is what truly brings them to life.

Visitors taking part have the opportunity to board real aircraft, whilst learning about the different job roles that help ensure the airport runs smoothly. Many of our Tour Guides are ex airline industry professionals, which helps to bring our tours to life and give realistic interpretations of life at the airport.

From exploring what we might need to take with us on holiday, by packing a suitcase with our Early Years Groups, right the way through to touring the terminal building with our KS4 groups, we have amazing activities for everyone, to cover all aspects of Airport life from who the people are that help us at the airport, right the way through to the developments in the IT systems that are used! We really do have it all.

The most popular activity for all of our groups has to be hopping into the pilot's seat and of course watching the awesome A380 land into Manchester.

What does a typical day at Runway Visitor Centre look like, and what are some of the most popular aspects with School groups?

"Our school tours start at 10:30, but our team is here way before then, ensuring that we have everything ready for the schools arrival. We can accommodate up to 120 children per day on our tours, so you can imagine that a lot of planning and running to strict timings is a must, to ensure that our groups get the best experience possible from their time with us!

Some of our groups will be enjoying some role play activities in the cabin of our retired DC10, whilst others will be learning about some of the different buttons & switches help us to fly the aeroplanes in the Flight Deck, other groups may be exploring some of the other aircraft we have at the Park, whilst others may be "plane spotting" up on our viewing mound, so there is always lots to learn and lots of activity taking place!

Our tours finish at 14:30, when our Tour Guides come for a well-deserved cup of tea before starting to look at what we have happening for the rest of the week!

Visiting Concorde is always a highlight for our school groups, this activity is not included in the tours, but, if the Hangar is free we will always try to sneak in to have a little look at this Iconic aircraft.

airport school group

What Key Stage groups can you cater for at Runway Visitor Centre?

"We cater for all ages! We run tours for Early Years groups right the way through to University Groups, we have even run tours for U3A & WI Groups who are looking for something a little bit different to do!

Can activities be tailored to suit the particular learning objectives of groups?

"We have our standard tours, however, if a school group have specific requirements or learning objectives we can work with these groups to tailor our tour to meet their needs. To arrange this we need plenty of advanced notice so that our team can be as creative as possible with their ideas, and have them approved by the group leader.

Can you cater for SEN Schools at Runway Visitor centre?

"Of course! We actively encourage all groups to come visit us, we really can cater for all!

If you would like us to help you plan your school educational experience, please use the form below to tell us what you are looking for.

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