Planning a trip – Guidance for venues

These notes provide advice and guidance for sessions that can be delivered in a number of settings, at venues, through outreach or by teachers using loan boxes. To view guidance for teachers, click here.

Sessions at the venues

Sessions at the venues are probably the easiest to arrange as teachers and children will be in a new and exciting environment. Educational visits offer great benefits to young people. They provide opportunities to:

  • learn in a different setting
  • interact with new people and experts
  • look at and, possibly, handle artefacts
  • have Eureka moments where young people can see the relevance of classroom learning.

It is easier for staff to manage/control what happens at the venue.

It is good practice to offer pre-visit sessions to teachers so that venue staff and teachers are clear about what will happen on a visit. A pre-visit session is an opportunity to iron out any potential problems and is essential to a successful visit, particularly where the venue deals with potentially difficult subjects like war and conflict.

Agreeing what will happen on the day

For both venue-based and outreach sessions, it is advisable to have an agreement that covers the following areas:

  • Name and contact details of the teacher arranging the session and the names of the teacher(s) or group leader(s) who will present throughout the session.
  • When will the session take place? (Date and time)
  • How long the session will last. (It is important to stick to agreed times as they will be determined by pick up times from school etc)
  • Where will it take place? (Venue, RAF base, school/village hall etc)
  • Any security issues and procedures if the venue is on an RAF base. What needs to be in place for young people and teachers to pass efficiently through security? What happens if children aren’t on pre agreed lists etc. Who will escort the group on site?
  • What is the precise location of the session? (Hall, classroom). This is important as it will allow venue staff to plan what can and cannot be achieved.
  • What facilities are available in the space?
  • Where are the nearest toilets etc?
  • What happens in case of fire?
  • Will there be a qualified first aider on hand?
  • How many children will take part? (Venue staff should feel free to set a limit on the number of children the Venue can safely accommodate and the number of children they are happy to work with in an outreach setting).
  • How old are the children? Are there any special needs you need to be aware of?
  • Are there any special or difficult issues you need to be aware of?
  • What will the session will cover?
  • What are the expected outcomes of the session?
  • What does a successful session look like as far as the young people are concerned?
  • What are the expected standards of behaviour?
  • What are the ground rules?
  • How many teachers will be on hand to accompany the young people? Again staff should feel free to state their preferred adult: child ratio. Guidance is provided further in these notes.

It is good practice to have a template agreement covering the above (a sample template agreement document has been provided as a starting point). When it has been completed, both parties can agree the content and sign it. This will act as the agreement for the session.

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire can advise on safeguarding policy. Staff are only required to be CRB checked if they work with children unsupervised and ‘intensively or frequently’.

There should always be a teacher present during sessions for support and often for insurance cover. Government guidelines recommend there should be:

  • one adult for every 6 pupils in years 1 to 3 (5 to 7 year olds – under 5s and reception classes should have a higher ratio)
  • one adult for every 10 to 15 pupils in years 4 to 6 (7 to 11 year olds)
  • one adult for every 15 to 20 pupils in year 7 onwards (11 year olds onwards).

Teachers are required to complete Risk Assessments. Local councils provide Risk Assessment forms for schools to complete. The venue should carry out its own Risk Assessment for each educational visit. Again Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire can advise on Risk Assessments.


Outreach sessions (sessions at locations other than the museum or venue, so in schools or village halls etc) can be very different from sessions delivered at the venue. Before agreeing to carry out outreach work, it is important to meet with the teacher or group leader to agree roles and responsibilities on both sides.

This website outlines a number of education sessions that can be delivered at Key Stages 1 (5 to 7 years), 2 (7 to 11 years) and 3 (11 to 14 years). Many of these sessions can be delivered as outreach as well as on site at the venue.

The main reason for outreach would be to support Extended Services (after school clubs). Outreach sessions tend to consist of four, hour-long sessions on a theme.

The sessions in this document are tailored to each of the nine venues. Flight is the theme that links all of the sessions.

Loan boxes

The contents of the loan box must be replaceable and not precious and not dangerous in any way. Gas Masks contain asbestos so although these may seem like a great object to include, they are dangerous. This may also apply to some uniforms. It is much better to provide safe replicas.

The contents of the box should be described on a laminated card which is kept in the loan box. Whoever is loaning the box must sign to say all the contents are as described and the contents must be checked and signed off on return.

Educational visits

Running a session

Before the group arrives make sure you have everything you need for the session. Set up the classroom or space you are planning to use appropriately for the group. Make sure you have enough tables and chairs of the right size and enough materials.

If you are running a number of tasks in one session make sure the equipment is set up or easy to access.

After the session you can always ask the young people to help tidy up.

Opening a session

Before starting a session allow time to welcome the young people and staff.

Talk about any housekeeping issues, safety issues, toilet facilities etc.

Set out very simple ground rules of expected behaviour (i.e. we are respectful, we listen when other people are speaking, we put up hands if we want to speak, we do not eat etc). It may be helpful to discuss ground rules with teachers prior to the visit to establish a consistent approach: what ground rules do they impose and what is appropriate for the setting?

Introduce yourself and (if teachers agree) provide sticky labels for yourself and for young people to write your/their names on.

Introduce the session and describe what a successful session will deliver.

Describe the aims and structure of the session. For example: We are going to have a tour of the venue and then we are going to come back into the classroom where we will find out as much as we can about what life was like for evacuees for example. (Use the learning outcomes but in language appropriate to the group).

Repetition is helpful so tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you have told them!

Interactive sessions with young people

Interactive sessions with young people do not have to be high tech. Allowing young people to handle objects will help them to connect with the past. But it is important that young people understand that objects are precious and must be handled carefully.

Even though objects may be fairly robust, it is important to stress that they are special objects. Ask young people to check that their hands are clean; if they are not, suggest they wash and dry them thoroughly.

One activity suggested by Renaissance South East to get this point across is to pass around a blank sheet of white paper. After just one or two rounds it starts to look creased and a bit dirty. This is a very simple way to explain that handling objects can cause damage if we are not very careful.

It is also important to make sure the surface or table you are working on is clean and clear. It is safer to be seated when handling objects, if someone is standing and drops an object it is likely to be damaged.

When holding objects encourage young people to use both hands to make sure the object is well supported.

Throughout the session

Have an overall plan but make sure you involve the young people by asking questions and giving them practical tasks to do. Use questions and discussion to encourage young people to get involved.

There are a number of session plans on this website. They include timings but each group will be different so it is important to allow for parts of the sessions to take more or less time. Some plans also include extension and differentiation activities that may be used to supplement the sessions.

It is a good idea to go through the session plans with teachers on their pre visit. They will know best what will work with their group of young people and they can advise on any modifications that may be necessary.

Closing a session

At the end of the session refer back to the aims of the session to emphasise what the young people have achieved and congratulate them on working well.

Praise and thanks

Praise is very important. Pick on very specific things that they have done well. Praise young people throughout the session on positive aspects of performance. Praise them for effort.

And you could also talk about the atmosphere of the session – was it fun, calm, respectful, thoughtful etc.

Thank them for visiting and attending the session.

Our partners

Heritage Lottery fundedNorth Kesteven District CouncilLincolnshire County CouncilWest Lindsey District CouncilEast Lindsey District CouncilRenaissance East Midlands