The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust

Schools Programme

Museum-Based Learning Sessions

EYFS/KS1: 'A trip to the Seaside'



Exploring and comparing how seaside holidays have changed over time with optional links to local history through the development of Minehead from small town to big attraction (KS1).


The session takes the form of an imaginary seaside holiday; with opportunities for dressing up and role play. It explores how the railways made seaside holidays possible and invites children to compare the differences between past and present holidays using local photographs and handling objects.

  • Topic links to Seaside, Holidays and Transport

Curriculum Links 2014:

  • Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally



KS1: 'Who was Isambard Kingdom Brunel?'



Exploring the life and achievements of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the changes that his GWR and branch lines brought to our local area.


The session explores Brunel’s life and achievements within the context of the Industrial Revolution; with opportunities for dressing up and role play. It uses object sorting and handling to investigate the impact that Brunel’s railways had both nationally and locally on the everyday lives of people and encourages children to consider why we remember people like Brunel.

Optional STEM Extension Activities: Learning sessions can be extended with the addition of a STEM-related investigation. Brunel inspired sessions include:

  • The Gauge investigation – exploring the differences between Brunel’s broad gauge and the standard gauge. A maths problem solving activity using standard and non-standard measures.
  • Brunel’s Great Bridge Challenge – exploring different types of bridge design and encouraging children to select and shape different materials in order to design and build a bridge sturdy enough to hold a model train.

Further details on request.


Curriculum Links 2014:

  • Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally
  • The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements
  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality

KS2: Victorian Britain: How did the railways change people’s lives in our locality?'


Setting the scene by exploring aspects of pre-railway life such as transport, communication, diet and politics, the session explores how the railways became a defining part of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, changing people’s lives throughout the Victorian period and establishing the framework of the modern world.


Using object handling, picture analysis, discussion and role play, children will be encouraged to explore how the GWR and its branchlines changed the life of ordinary people in the South West. Investigating the views of different groups of people in character, children are invited to consider whether they would be ‘for’ or ‘against’ the building of the railway.

Curriculum Links 2014:

  • A study of an aspect of British History beyond 1066: A significant turning point in British History: The First Railways
  • A local history study



Coming Soon! Loans Boxes and Resource Packs

Covering a range of themes, our loans boxes combine artefacts, replicas and photographs along with teaching resources to help bring the past to life in your classroom.


Catalogue of available resources coming soon.