We held a workshop on "Working with schools" at our Citizens' Rail conference. We all agreed that we'd like to post the ideas from the workshop on the Cafe so that they can be shared with a wider audience.
If you attended, please add your top tips and remarks below. And if you didn't, it would be great to hear from you too - the more ideas the better. Thanks all!
The session was led by Brian Haworth and Kai Mohnen. They've kindly provided the following points from the workshop:
> All present agreed that school engagement in any form is vital as they are the rail passengers of the future.
> Children talk a lot and if they have had a good experience they will pass on the information
> When working with schools it is important to link into the curriculum and be flexible when working with teachers. Tailor your work to suit the teacher's needs.
> Any work with children needs to be interesting and stimulating it needs to grab the children's attention.
> The 'Passport to Safe Rail Travel' scheme in Lancashire takes the children's engagement beyond the classroom and into the home. By getting information such as timetables and the passport into the children's home enables the children to "pester "their parents to take them back on the train.
> There is a safety message to put out to children but it is better to do this in a positive manner in the class room rather than the DO NOT DO THIS message. . Rail, safety has been very negative in recent times in particular in schools to the extent that it has given the impression that the railway is not a safe environment. At Lancashire we work closely with the British Transport Police and have developed a completely new approach to safety on the railway which the Passport scheme supports.
> Attending school staff/ teacher meetings is a good way to obtain insights into the curriculums
> Some schools have older pupils taking care of younger pupils on their train journey to school which was felt to be a very good idea
> Don’t be afraid of the curriculum it is not difficult to link to the type of work/projects that Community Rail Officers are involved in.
> Art projects to "lift" a stations ambience and enhance the passenger experience have proved successful in both Germany and the UK raising the profile of the CRP and the school involved within the local community and beyond
Please feel free to add your own top tips (from the workshop or from your wider experience) below.
Two films that might be useful for anyone dealing with schools and colleges. The Cambrian Railways Partnership have produced two 'award winning' films which have and still are having tremendous results locally on the Cambrian Lines.
"First Class Safety" is a short 15 minute film to let young people know about how to behave and keep safe on trains, platforms, crossings etc. Filmed entirely on the Cambrian Coast Line, it won the 'Involving Young People' Category at the ACORP Awards in 2012. You can see it here:
In 2015, we won the "Passengers Matter" category with our latest film, "A Helping Hand" which is a short ten minute film to show young people and young adults with learning difficulties or special/additional needs what kind of assistance is available to make a rail journey, as well as show how to go about planning a journey. It's there to provide a 'heads up' and reassurance of what's available and how to go about organising it. The link is:
Please feel free to use these films in your sessions with children and young people, and I hope they prove as useful in your regions as they are proving useful in ours.