Welcome to the Education Department at Wells Cathedral.
Your visit to the Cathedral will be a special experience for the students and remembered long after the topic is over. We specialise in tailoring every visit, so please contact the Education Officer to agree the most suitable date and programme for your group. The Department is led by a teacher, and the majority of Education Guides and Assistants are from teaching backgrounds.
Various visit options are possible:
Anyone can visit Wells Cathedral and groups are always welcome. During the summer months in particular the Cathedral is extremely busy, so we would ask that students remain in small groups supervised by an adult. A welcome leaflet with a floor plan is given to each visitor on arrival and this can be used to make your way around the building.
This tour, which must be booked in advance, is led by one of our trained guides and lasts approximately an hour. It can be a general tour, or focus on a particular aspect, for example, symbolism, carvings and vestments.
A Programmed Day
Most full day programmes have three sessions – a tour; a themed activity working in groups to produce items for school, and a craft activity relating to their visit creating a souvenir to take home.
At the end of the morning session pupils have the opportunity to say a prayer, either at the clock (where prayers are said every hour April-October) or delivered from the pulpit over the cathedral PA system. Writing the prayers can be a literacy project prior to the visit. A class prayer can be formed using lines from each child’s text. ‘Speaking with confidence in a range of contexts, adapting their speech for a range of purposes and audiences’ is a key aspect of the English National Curriculum.
Summer picnics on Cathedral Green or in the more private Camery Garden are extremely popular and in wet weather the new Education Suite provides a dedicated room for lunch and craft activities. Security doors, extra toilets, and storage for bags and coats contribute to a safe relaxed visit. The building is directly within the Cathedral grounds, off the East Cloister and looks over the Camery Garden. The day closes with a time of reflection. This may be a form of Circle Time in the Chapter House, or the class may end the day with favourite song, and then proudly state that they have sung in Wells Cathedral Quire!
We organise a multi-sensory tour around the cathedral, involving touching different textures and materials; hearing a variety of sounds – organ, singing, clock (and the amazing silence in a large space); smelling fragrant floral displays, incense and candles; and enjoying the visual diversity of light, colour, art, architecture, carvings, stained glass and the display at the clock. This has been enjoyed by many pupils with complex learning difficulties.
The majority of craft activities are suitable with differentiation.
Pupils with hearing loss and visual impairments are welcomed and guided in a very small group.