Plan your school visit
We would be delighted to welcome your students to The Museum of English Rural Life. To start planning your visit please read the following guidelines (recently reviewed as a result of Covid 19).
Information for taught sessions
Our interactive learning programmes offer a wide range of sessions for Foundation Stage/KS1 up to KS5. All sessions are linked to and help support the National Curriculum.
In light of Covid 19 we have had to make a few changes. Our facilitated onsite sessions will last about 1 hour and will accommodate a class bubble sized 15 plus accompanying teachers. The morning sessions start at 10.00 am and the afternoon sessions start at 12.30pm. We will always aim to finish our sessions by 2.15 pm so that you have time to get back to school.
How much do the taught sessions cost?
Our educational sessions are £75 each (maximum 15 children). This is the equivalent of £5 per child for a class of 30 children.
Online sessions are £30 each (the equivalent of around £1 per child). These sessions last an hour and can be linked into your classroom.
Facilitated visits made as part of our Widening Participation and Access with target partner schools are free of charge and timings may vary. Please contact our Widening Participation Officer to enquire about eligibility.
Introduction to The MERL
Also available is a 20 minute introduction to the Museum which provides an insight into our fascinating collections, delivered by our enthusiastic team. A great way to begin your visit before heading off around the galleries.
Cost £30 for a maximum of 15 pupils.
We have a range of sensory packs available for groups. Please let the Learning Team know if you would like to borrow any of this equipment on your school visit.
Getting here and parking
Parking is always limited, but we can reserve space for a small minibus and two cars in our car park, subject to availability.
If we are told in advance, we can reserve spaces for buses and coaches at Whiteknights University campus. This allows the group to be dropped off and collected (if the driver is not part of the group).
For full details on how to get to The MERL, please visit: https://merl.reading.ac.uk/visitus/getting-here/
Before entering the building, it would be helpful if the group leader could report to the front desk and find out where the rest of the group can gather.
On entering the galleries, we would strongly suggest that you divide your members or students up into smaller groups and provide them with different starting points to ensure the galleries do not become overcrowded.
Guideline ratios for visiting schools
The behaviour of students at the Museum is the responsibility of teachers and adult supervisors. Please ensure your group meets the minimum adult to pupil ratio for your Key Stage.
Foundation Stage – 1:6
Key Stage 2 – 1:10
Key Stage 3 – 1:10
Key Stage 4 – 1:15
Post-16 – 1:15
Please bear in mind that these recommendations are regularly reviewed due to Covid 19 restrictions. We are happy to talk through changes in the planning stages of your booking.
Eating and Drinking
Eating and drinking is not permitted in the galleries (the spaces beyond the Welcome space, café and shop). Please ask a member of staff if you are not sure where this is. We ask that the group leader takes responsibility for ensuring their members or students group do not take food or drink into the galleries. Please note, we also have a large garden where picnics are welcome.
Bags and coats
We would prefer it if you could leave all large bags in a designated location. Speak to the Learning Team to reserve a room.
If we have reserved the Learning Studio for your use, you are welcome to leave all coats and bags in this room, which can be locked during your visit. You may also use this room as a meeting room and discussion space and are permitted to eat and drink in here.
Museum facilities and access
The MERL is accessible to a wide range of visitors and we always strive to meet the access needs of everyone who visits us.
Full information is available on our website: https://merl.reading.ac.uk/visit-us/accessibility/
Health and Safety
In the event of an emergency, please use the nearest fire exit and follow instructions from our Visitor Services Assistants. We recommend that you complete your own risk assessment, on your preliminary visit to the museum.
Photography is permitted throughout the galleries unless there is signage to say otherwise. Some of our collections are subject to copyright legislation, and this is indicated clearly.
Drawing is permitted in the galleries, using non-permanent materials (pencils) only. Please take care not to block walking routes for other visitors or leave bags and other items in the way.
Before you book
- Browse our online resources for use in our galleries and in the classroom
- Please ensure you have filled out your own Risk Assessment
Find out more about your visit and what the Museum offers on our Visit Us page.
Book a school visit
To book your visit please get in touch with our Learning Team.