Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm awarded Quality Badge for education
Hot on the heels of our recent green tourism award, we’re celebrating a coveted award for our education provision at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm! The Quality Badge from the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) scheme celebrates the excellent education visiting school groups receive at the Wraxall zoo. The LOtC Manifesto was launched in 2006 and aims to improve student achievement by championing an experience based approach to learning. This national benchmark brings together existing safety and quality badges into one easily identifiable mark of quality provision and recognises the achievements of the Education team at Noah’s Ark. Getting students outside of their usual four walls and engaged with learning in new environments has been part of the government’s education agenda since 2009, when the Council for LOtC was commissioned. Each year 15,000 schoolchildren have educational days out in Bristol at our 100-acre zoo park. They have access to our dedicated programme of National Curriculum based workshops from KS1 through to A Level, which explore everything from animal life-cycles through to conservation and zoo management.
Schools and colleges are also offered a variety of interactive teaching sessions which see small animals, birds and reptiles brought into the classroom to enhance the learning experience. These outreach visits from our Education Officers allow teachers to create bespoke learning experiences to suit their classes’ needs. Our teaching is entirely based on the National Curriculum and taught by a fully qualified teacher and veterinary-trained college lecturer. Noah’s Ark is a Christian organisation which also offers some discussion of religious perspectives relating to creation and evolution for interested visitors. The zoo has proved increasingly popular with both secular and faith school groups in Bristol, Somerset and South Wales with 2013 seeing the largest number of group visits in the park’s 14-year history.
A detailed onsite assessment by officials from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom took place last autumn, during which our Education Department was highly praised for its commitment to giving students access to a high level of teaching. Education Coordinator Catherine Tisdall commented: “We are very proud of our unique hands-on approach to learning at Noah’s Ark. Achieving the LOtC Quality Badge is the result of an awful lot of hard work from a team dedicated to providing an exceptional educational day out for visitors.” We’ve got 2014 off to a flying start with our Quality Badge for education and the recent Gold in the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) in recognition of green innovation at the zoo and we’re looking forward to many more achievements this year!
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open on Saturdays in January, from 10:30am – 4pm. Normal weekday opening from Monday – Saturday, 10:30am – 5pm, resumes on February 1st. For more information about planning a school visit please visit the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm website or call 01275 852606.