Showtime for schools

PUBLISHED: 05:44 16 March 2015

Brooke VC CE Primary School who won first prize in their section of the 2014 Food and Farming challenge at last year's Royal Norfolk Show

Brooke VC CE Primary School who won first prize in their section of the 2014 Food and Farming challenge at last year's Royal Norfolk Show

Archant 2013

The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) aims to help educate young people through a range of inspiring events to promote a better understanding of food, farming and the countryside.

RNAA trustee, Steffan Griffiths, who is also headmaster of Norwich School, explains: “Norfolk has always been a special place in terms of the wealth and variety of its natural resources. We are keen that people of all ages understand their county’s strength in terms of its rich agricultural heritage, its present diversity and its exciting potential for the future.”

Education has always been a key aim of the RNAA and this year it has announced free admission for school groups to the 2015 Royal Norfolk Show; pupils, teachers and helpers will all receive complimentary entry.

This follows Norfolk County Council’s decision not to hold a teacher training INSET day on Thursday, July 2, the second day of the show. Last year 4,000 school children attended the show and it is hoped that free entry and greater teacher availability will encourage an even larger number of school parties to make the most of what the show has to offer.

“The Royal Norfolk Show is unique because of the collaboration between land-based industries and the business community. The whole county seems to gather at the Showground for these two days; certainly every sector is represented, so it is a wonderful learning opportunity for people of all ages” says Steffan.

Samantha Joyce, the RNAA education co-ordinator, is charged with making sure that the show’s educational provision is appropriate for pupils at different ages.

“We are working hard to make it easy for schools to enjoy the 2015 show,” she says. “Free entry will certainly help, but we are also making sure that there will be a warm welcome when they arrive and that there are lots of great things for visitors to do while they are here.”

As Samantha explains, a particular area of the showground is being devoted to education: “The Discovery Zone was piloted last year and was a great success, so we have expanded that for 2015.”

There is further opportunity for investigation and discovery throughout the show. There are specially designed school trails available for all key stages. They have been written with the National Curriculum and public examination syllabuses in mind, with each trail providing a structure for pupils to explore and enjoy the show while acquiring knowledge and understanding that can be used in the classroom. At primary level, the trails include work on livestock and crops, while secondary trails offer fieldwork opportunities in subjects such as biology and geography, and there is even assistance offered with work experience for pupils considering their options after school.

The show also offers a rich variety of educational experience. It is teaming up with the Young Norfolk Arts Festival to provide performance and workshop opportunities on a number of stages set up around the showground. Whether it be amplified contemporary music or acoustic classical music, whether it be drama, poetry, art or the spoken word, there will be the chance to watch or perform on both days of the show.

Steffan believes that the show offers a unique educational opportunity and encourages schools to make the most of the free entry now on offer: “Pupils can make more progress in a morning at the show than in a week of lessons because of the vividness of having direct access to such a diverse range of educational stimuli and raw materials. See you there!”

School book

To take advantage of the free admission for school groups, schools must pre-order tickets for their parties by 5 June, 2015. School group tickets will not be available for purchase on show days. For further details or to book your school visit, contact Samantha Joyce on 01603 748931; Samantha.Joyce@rnaa.org.uk

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