Exceptional Breakout Learning at Leighton Hall
Exceptional Breakout Learning in Inspiring New Facilities at Leighton Hall
Historic Leighton Hall, just outside Carnforth in north Lancashire, has an enviable reputation for hosting immersive and inspiring school visits. Since lockdown they've taken it to a whole new level, as we learn from Lucy Arthurs, Schools Coordinator.
What led you to expanding Leighton Hall's facilities and programme of visits?
We know the challenging times we've all been through have especially impacted our children. Sitting down to remap the future of Leighton, we decided to turn lockdown into constructive action, committing serious long-term investment to exciting new schools' programmes and facilities. We believe it underlines our commitment to the education and wellbeing of future generations, and we feel very proud and positive about what Leighton Hall can now offer children and teachers going forward.
So what are your new packages?
Outdoor activity and connecting with nature is proven to bring a multitude of benefits, from physical and mental health and wellbeing to connection, empathy and communication skills. More relevant and important than ever to children facing the modern world, we initially introduced four new outdoor-based day visits, covering complementary aspects of ecology, wildlife, and our environment:
- Wildlife Habitats
- Amazing Pollinators
- Food for Thought
- Survival Skills
- All proving immediately popular, we've just launched a new seasonal package called: Autumn Natural Art
These sound fun- can you give us some more details?
All suitable for Key Stages 1 & 2, our outdoor education days make the most of Leighton's extensive gardens, park and woodland. Hands-on teambuilding projects give the children tangible self-made items to take away, new insight, skills and confidence, and the means and inspiration to continue discovering and supporting nature around home and school.
- Wildlife Habitats uses fun maps and teamwork to uncover tracks, eating habits, and nesting habitats in Leighton's woods and gardens, before making your own wildlife habitat to take away, install, and follow who uses it.
- Amazing Pollinators starts at insect-level view in our new 'bee corner', followed by bug hunting and identification. We introduce the importance of diversity and ecology in the food chain, followed by supervised making of 'bee houses' to take home.
- Food For Thought combines the fruit and vegetables in Leighton's kitchen garden with a hands-on foraging walk to explore where 'real' food comes from, how we grow it, changing tastes through time, and food safety and sustainability, culminating in a participative fire pit cook-up in.
- Survival Skills: the ultimate team-based adventure, our fun 'Remote island' survival scenario introduces bushcraft, safety, campfire, and rescue skills. Fully supervised sessions include prioritising needs, sourcing food and water, woodland shelter-building, safe fire lighting and management, stick and tool whittling, ending with toasted marshmallows over the campfire.
- *NEW* Autumn Natural Art takes inspiration from seasonal colours, textures and patterns on an immersive nature-walk. Includes collecting and creating with clay, conkers, acorns, beech-nuts, hazelnuts and fungi, making natural dyes and paints from berries and nettles, whittling leaf sticks and paintbrushes, making charcoal on the fire, and making leaf pictures, leaf printing, and crafts.
This has involved constructing new facilities and partnerships?
It was vital we involved experts in the field, so we've partnered with outdoor education experts Larksfoot Forest School to run the day schools, creating extensive new outdoor resources for guided exploration, team activities, and craft-making. New yurt shelter 'the Hazel Tree Retreat', weatherproof woodland circle and supervised fire all complement our wider woodland, parkland trails, 'bee corner' and pollinator-friendly walled garden.
'The Studio', Leighton's new classroom, is purpose-built for year-round learning in total comfort, with fibre wifi broadband, desk and theatre-style seating, modern kitchen and cloakroom facilities, visual aids, hands-on artefacts, adjustable ventilation, heating and lighting. Children can go from happily splashing about in wellies outside to running about in warm socks indoors!
We're also delighted to be fully kitted out with top-rated, safe, easy-to-use equipment courtesy of expert outdoor suppliers Whitby and Co. Including rounded end lockable safety knives, camping cutlery packs, peelers, compasses and safety fire-strikers. The hot and cold insulated Klean Kanteen cups keep everyone's hot chocolate warm without the usual spillages!
You've kept your popular indoor packages, too?
Absolutely; our famously child friendly guides bring the intriguing heritage and inhabitants of the 800 year-old Hall and family home vividly to life. With no roped-off areas, children are encouraged to ask questions, explore, touch, sit on the furniture and dress up, ideal for Key Stage 1:
- Houses & Homes: Victorian to Modern: a fascinating journey for budding historians, explore the hall's history, secrets and hidden treasures through tales and role-play, discovering how Victorian life, inventions, occupations, and food evolved into 21st century family life, homes, and society.
- Upstairs / Downstairs: Gentry and Servants: an immersive experience into the lives of Victorian children, as part of the Gillow family upstairs, then the families who lived and worked 'below stairs'. Discover their food, games and gadgets, and finish by creating and exploring your own family tree.
*NEW* Victorian Christmas: Experience a true Victorian Christmas and find out how the festive season has changed throughout the years. During your tour of the house, listen to stories by the tree. Compare your Christmas with that of the Victorian squire's children and the servants who lived in the hall. Make paper chains, decorations and Christmas crafts to take home
You're maintaining Leighton's reputation for providing extra teacher resources?
We are in awe of the work teachers do! So, with 25 years of welcoming primary school groups, our curriculum based programmes provide everything you need for a safe and entertaining educational day out, including those all-important extras to take the hassle out of organising your trip:
- Comprehensive teacher's pack including suggested kit list
- Fully risk-assessed KS1/2 tailorable itineraries to fit your school day
- Free pre- and post-visit activity sheets and lesson plans for continued active learning
- Relaxed, informal learning led by friendly, qualified and experienced staff
- Indoor and outdoor eating areas, gift shop, outdoor play area and maze for golden time
- Fully-equipped and Covid secure indoor and outdoor facilities and practices
- Just 10 mins drive from M6 junction 35, with free and convenient coach parking
I understand early booking is recommended?
Absolutely. Ofsted and DoE (gov.uk) recommend outside-classroom learning for measurable benefits in student development, wellbeing, and ongoing classroom engagement. Indeed, when we launched our new packages and facilities after schools' Easter reopening, we were soon booked up to the end of the summer term.
After receiving wonderful testimonials and recommendations from schools who visited, we introduced our new 'Natural Art' and 'Victorian Christmas' workshops, to increase choice and places. We try our utmost to accommodate all, but as we continue to follow Covid guidance by hosting one school exclusively per day, we do recommend contacting us as soon as possible, so we can satisfy your individual requirements.
The good thing is, our new facilities mean we can provide the assurance of exciting, fully supervised hands-on environmental learning and team-based activities year-round in comfort and warmth. So, whereas many schools only used to risk venturing out during the summer term, now you can break up autumn and spring classroom learning with invigorating days out, confident there'll be no shivering bodies or soggy bottoms!
If you are interested in booking or finding out more about how Leighton Hall's KS1 & 2 packages can expand your pupils' horizons, visit www.leightonhall.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call for a friendly chat on 01524 734474.
If you are interested in hearing a bit more about how Leighton Hall can help you with planning your school's next day trip then why not get in touch here.
Unlike other historic houses, Leighton has 2 indoor packages and 4 outdoor learning programmes. Choose from Survival Skills, Wildlife Habitats, Food for Thought and Amazing Pollinators. Inside lessons include Upstairs/ Downstairs and Houses & Homes.
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