Brunel 200 Legacy Sixth Sense Theatre Company – Toad's Great Western Railway Adventure
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Toad’s Great Western Railway Adventure

Sixth Sense Theatre Company was awarded a Brunel 200 grant to produce a Primary Education Package. The Pack supported Sixth Sense’s Theatre in Education work and comprised lesson plans, workshops, inset training, website development and activities and general support and advice for primary school pupils, teachers and support staff.

To celebrate Brunel’s 200th birthday, the Company toured Toad’s Great Western Railway Adventure to 76 schools and public venues in Wiltshire from January to March 2006. The Pack was also intended to be used as stand-alone lesson material for primary school age and general use.

Project outcomes

Mervyn Heard said:

We devised, produced and distributed 135 resource packs containing lesson plans and activities with CD Roms for the use of pupils, teachers and support staff.

We delivered 90 workshops in 76 schools and public venues to an estimated 20,000 young people, teachers and support staff.

We created a specially designed ‘Kidszone’ for our website and made related improvements to the site overall. The zone enjoyed 3,940 hits in 2006 and has led to the continuing popularity of our site.

We generated additional workshop activity and ongoing project activity as a result of issues raised during this work especially in relation to the cultural development and ethnic mix of the community.

We successfully strengthened our on-going relationship with schools and other investors in our work through the standard of the research materials, inset training and continuing workshop generated by this project.

Overall involvement in this project has proved very beneficial to Sixth Sense in terms of our developing relationship with schools and other working partners, to the development of our website and added ideas to the future development of our programme.

Toad's Great Adventure (Bob Naylor).

Toad's Great Adventure.


Evaluation and feedback forms were distributed to each of the participating schools. These are some of the responses to questions relating specifically to the Primary Education Package (there was a 52% feedback response from the 76 schools & venues visited).

On workshops:

  • The children responded well and asked thoughtful questions which were followed up and dealt with quickly. The pace of this session was very good and allowed many children to contribute.
  • All were engaged.
  • Workshops supported with notes, music, video etc. so the teachers could get going straight away with minimum preparation.
  • Questions were answered with interest and I liked the reversal at one point when actor asked question of the pupil.
  • Questions were fully answered and an effort was made to involve the children.
  • The children felt encouraged to engage and contribute during both the performance and the accompanying talk out workshop.
  • Giving the children a chance to discuss with a partner before asking questions was very successful—best questions I have heard them ask.

On the Teachers’ Pack:

  • Made available to all staff to use as they wish.
  • Found some of the PowerPoint slides useful for whiteboard.
  • Good to have on CD ROM.
  • Links in very well with the Y5 topic. Fables also links in with many PHSE topics.
  • We used some of the suggestions but also planned our own activities.
  • The pack enabled us to do more Cross-curricular work – wonderful!
  • Half our children were currently doing a Brunel 200 topic; my children weren’t but had previously learned about the GWR.
  • We have used many of the ideas and have added some of our own. We have got over half a terms work out of it.
  • Y4 using some of material in pack for literacy.


To find out more about Sixth Sense’s work and to access their Brunel resources, visit

Mervyn Heard
Sixth Sense Theatre Company

Photography: Bob Naylor.