Our dedicated programme of work with school children launched in 2015/16. It focuses on local schools in Windsor, Slough and the surrounding areas.
Our workshops and activities have taken place in school or here at Cumberland Lodge. They aim to promote greater social and civic awareness amongst children and young people and to equip them with the skills and confidence to become active participants in their communities, both now and in the future.
Home of the BFG
Much of our work with Key Stages 1 and 2 draws closly on our connection with Roald Dahl's well-loved children's story, The BFG.
This connection was uncovered in 2016, when research published by the University of Wales Press revealed that, when the Queen gives the BFG "a special house with tremendous high ceilings and enormous doors" in Windsor Great Park at the end of the book, Dahl was referring to Cumberland Lodge.
The reference appears to have been a private joke because the house that Dahl grew up in, in Cardiff, was also called Cumberland Lodge, and just four years before The BFG was published, Dahl had spent time here at Cumberland Lodge, speaking at a workshop on children's literature, with students from Wright State University, Ohio.
Illustration by Natalie Smillie
Our primary school workshops have previously drawn on the concept of the BFG’s bottles of dreams, and his efforts to make the world a happier, safer place to live, to inspire creative thinking. Through this we hoped to empower children to feel that their views are valid and valuable and that they have an active role to play in building stronger, more cohesive communities.
Further information about our BFG activites, which included interactive family trails in the grounds of the Lodge, can be found in an exhibition in the Ante-Room at Cumberland Lodge. This work has been supported by a gift from The Patron's Fund.
From the summer term 2018, we will be offering BFG workshops developed in collaboration with the University of the West of England. For more information, see our School Workshops page.
Worksheet completed by students from The Royal School in Windsor Great Park, as part of a BFG-inspired workshop we led in Spring 2017
Our secondary school activities have focused on 'bigger picture thinking'. We encourage young people to relate their school subjects to some of the big social and ethical issues that affect us all, and help them to think about how their chosen subjects can have a positive impact on the world around them.
For example, in the summer of 2017, our Education team, supported by some of our Cumberland Lodge Scholars, led 140 Year 11 pupils hoping to join the sixth-form in a full day of activities at Langley Academy, Slough. Find out more about this visit here.
Since 2015 we have also enjoyed a fruitful partnership with the National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme.
We have supported groups of 16 to 18-year-olds participating in NCS by hosting 'Professional Visits' and other educational activities.
For example, in 2016 we joined forces with The Challenge to bring 36 young people from local schools to the Lodge to complete a 'Social Action Project'. They were tasked with devising a conference programme to address a social issue facing young people today, together with a publicity and recruitment plan.
Other participants also took part in 'Professional Visits', where they presented their ideas for new Social Action Projects to members of our Education team, in the style of a BBC Dragon's Den pitch, before receiving constructive feedback.
In August 2017, NCS participants are helping us to facilitate BFG-themed Family Trails in the grounds of the Lodge, for local children and their parents and guardians.
In December 2015, we teamed up with the Workplace Equality Network, ParliREACH, to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Race Relations Act.
Thirty-three pupils in Years 12 and 13, from three secondary schools in Bracknell and Slough, took part in our race relations seminars at school, before travelling to the Houses of Parliament for a tour of both Houses, meetings with Fiona Mactaggart MP and Kwasi Kwarteng MP, and an interactive workshop on the historical evolution of race relations legislation.