Active learning programme

Our active learning workshops can complement your work in the classroom and help you meet the requirements of the national curriculum.

Further information

We offer:

  • Access to original objects, paintings and sculptures
  • Opportunities to handle the 'real thing'
  • Stimulating, challenging activities led by qualified and experienced teachers
  • Supporting information sent to all schools on confirmation of booking
  • All teaching materials used in the workshops.

Active learning sessions - Key Stage 1

Led by our experienced teachers, these sessions give pupils the opportunity to actively explore curriculum topics in awe inspiring settings.

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

  • Dinosaurs - During this session, we look at two different dinosaurs displayed in the gallery; the Cetiosaurus and Neovenator. Children will engage in hands-on activities to explore how we find out and learn about dinosaurs. Pupils will also look at the specific differences between the two contrasting dinosaurs.

This is available throughout the year.

Newarke Houses Museum

  • Toys: Playtime past and present - Children explore, compare and even play with a variety of toys and games, which date from the Tudor period to the present day.

Available all year.


Key Stage 2

Led by our experience teachers, these sessions give pupils the opportunity to actively explore curriculum topics in awe-inspiring settings. Each of the following sessions last either one and a half or two hours.

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

  • Egyptians: Meet the mummies - This session investigates ancient Egyptian beliefs and lifestyles. Pupils examine the collection of mummies and handle a range of 3000 year old artefacts. The session is divided up into several sections which all have active approaches that engage pupils in discussion, investigation and hands-on activities. 

Available all year. 

  • Looking at paintings (narrative, composition and materials) - Held in the impressive Victorian Art Gallery, this session focuses on the broad aspects of the 19th Century paintings, such as the importance of narrative, subject matter, composition and the use of materials. The session engages pupils in various practical activities to help them gain confidence to look at and evaluate a painting.

Our session leader will guide pupils through a range of hands on activities during this 90 minute session. Children will also make a piece of art work to take back to school which will relate to the themes of this session.

Available all year.

Abbey Pumping Station

  • Victorian washday - Our hands-on session will explore how people used to do the washing in Victorian times. Real objects and costumes compliment this session.

Available from 1 February - 31 October, Tuesday - Friday

  • Victorian health and hygiene: Beaming with health - Pupils discover the gruesome side of Victorian Leicester, when open sewers flowed down overcrowded streets and over two-thirds of children didn't survive to the age of ten. They examine why the Abbey Pumping Station was built and how it changed the lives of Leicester’s Victorian residents. Pupils are also given a tour of the magnificent steam engines, including areas usually off limits to the public.

Available from 1 February - 31 October.

  • The Trial of King Richard III
    Put King Richard III on trial. Was he a good and fair King or an evil tyrant? Teams will evaluate contemporary evidence from the medieval period, and later evidence from secondary sources, to make the case for the prosecution and the defence. Pupils will also learn about crime and punishment through the ages, and handle historical artefacts from prisons.

Key Stage 3 and 4

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

  • German Expressionism object box (KS4/5+)
    The objects in this box relate to the powerful story behind why some of this art first came to Leicester and the conditions under which many of the artists lived. Available as a facilitated resource.

Teacher-led visits and guided tours

Abbey Pumping Station can be used to bring to life many aspects of the national curriculum. A teacher-led visit allows you to plan your own activities to fit in with the needs of your classes.

For example, you may want to bring a GCSE History group who are studying Victorian public health; a group of art or photography students who can enjoy the architecture, patterns and shapes of the building or a science group who can find out more about power, optics, forces or energy. It is also a great site for illuminating local history.

Teacher-led sessions are free and can be booked between 1st February and 31st October. Once you have planned your activities, let us know and we can provide a guide to give the group a tour of the site as part of your time at the museum. This will be both entertaining and informative, providing pupils with a unique insight into the pumping station and visiting areas not usually open to the public.

Available from 1 February - 31 October.