The Brunel 200 year enabled thousands of people in Bristol and across
the South West to learn about the life and work of Isambard Kingdom
Brunel through diverse formal and informal learning opportunities.
took many forms, including offering subsidised transport to enable schools
to visit sites around the city, workshops and residencies with artists
in schools, trips to museums and art galleries, lectures
by Adam Hart-Davis, and theatre and music performances.
This learning journey
was a remarkable one, Brunel as a personality and historical figure captivating
children of all ages and stimulating debate and investigation across
the curriculum. Brunel’s legacy
as a great Victorian polymath provided numerous dimensions to involve
a wide spectrum of schools, colleges and learning groups. This fed into
the sense of an exciting and inclusive community celebration that crossed
In Bristol, with our rich physical Brunel heritage,
we were able to encourage visits to Brunel’s ss Great Britain and Clifton Suspension
Bridge, the Old Station at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum and exhibition
at the City Museum and Art Gallery as well as trails around the harbour.
The success of these visits was many-fold, introducing new schools to
the potential for learning through a close up experience of Brunel’s
work. It resulted in further learning in schools and set the scene for
our ambitious residencies programme encouraging creative exploration
through Brunel, his life, work and legacy.
Further to the education work that took place in 2006, Clifton
Suspension Bridge Visitor Services is in the process of creating
an extensive education pack designed specifically to provide curriculum-focused, classroom-based projects exploring various aspects of the
world famous bridge.
The projects will be suitable for whole-class activities and group or
individual pupil study. They should enable pupils to appreciate the bridge
if they make a visit and encourage further study in a variety of
The launch date of the pack will be announced on the bridge web site
news page: www.clifton-suspension-bridge.org.uk.
For information about school visits and guided tours please visit the
“In my project I have chosen Isambard Kingdom Brunel – he
is an inspiration to me. Being an engineer is my second priority.”
Year 6 pupil
“Our Brunel topic isn’t over yet – so
much more to come! We hope this topic will remain in the schools two-year
cycle as it is so important for children to learn about their own city
and it's history. We also really appreciated your talking to the parents
- their input has also been promising, with lots of children doing
research at home and telling their parents all about their topic.”
Fair Furlong Primary School
“Having a whole Brunel event gave a
focus for the school and the children and the teachers felt supported
and encouraged to develop first hand experiences that the children really
responded to. This has inspired teachers to think of other local experiences
that would be motivating for the pupils.”
St Bernard’s School