Remember the ripple of anticipation before a school trip? It’s always exciting for pupils to be leave school grounds during the day (legitimately!) – and these experiences are an important part of their whole education. But with increasing demands on school budgets and teacher time, they can slip down the priority list. Go and See is a fund that can help.
What is Go and See and who can apply?
It’s a fund that can support visits to high-quality arts events in galleries, theatres, arts centres and other venues, or trips to experience arts professionals developing their work.
All schools in Wales can apply for up to £1,000 at any time in the year and they’ll receive a decision within six-eight weeks. The Arts Council awards up to 90% of the costs of the experience.
One successful applicant to the fund was drama teacher Rhian Hillier from Maesteg Comprehensive School.
What prompted Rhian to apply to the fund?
“I was trying to organise a trip for 42 of our year 10, 11, and 12 pupils to see The Play That Goes Wrong at the New Theatre in Cardiff. They needed to see and review a play as part of their GCSE and A-level courses. I looked into the cost of tickets and there wasn’t a group discount, so it would have cost each student £30 including bus fare. We’re in a deprived area – some of our families live in the 5th most deprived area in Wales – so that’s just not affordable for many parents.”
How easy was it to apply for funding?
“It’s quite simple, you just fill in the online form. It’s worth reading the guidance notes first, because you have to outline the intended impact, how the activity contributes to and is additional to your usual creative activities. They also suggest you apply a minimum of four weeks ahead. I’d suggest doing it even earlier. Time does run away with you as a teacher, so planning ahead is not only essential for getting the grant, but it helps you to make sure it happens.”
How much did you get?
“We were awarded the full £1000, so each pupil only had to pay £10 for the trip.
“A lot of schools struggle to arrange trips because there’s not enough money and time. Nowadays there are a lot of online forums where you can watch live theatre. It’s a brilliant idea but it’s not the same as experiencing it live.”
What did you hope the trip would achieve?
“The main thing was for our pupils to experience live theatre – to actually see professionals do it – and to experience a different genre of play. It also has an important social aspect and helps them gel as a group. It was great to hear them talk about it all the way home.
“After the trip they had to write a review as part of their course. It really helped in their extended writing and evaluation for the exam, as well as giving them inspiration and ideas for own acting.
“For many it was the first time they’d been to the New Theatre, and for some – probably as much as 25% – it was their first trip to any theatre. I’d encourage other teachers to just give it a go.”