Alongside our Covid-19 ‘Good To Go’ certificate and information for our regular visitors, please find below specific advice for school groups from September 2020.
Arrival & Departure:- There is ample car parking space and coach drop-off allow for socially-distanced drop off and collection. The patio area allows us an open area for organising groups, directions and loo stops.
Train rides:- Before your visit, we will ask whether there are groups who have been based in the same classrooms, year groups or learning bubbles at school. If so, these will be the basis for groups, otherwise we will follow the group leader’s advice. On the train itself, we will block out the relevant number of carriages, all of which are sanitised between rides. East Somerset Railway trains count as public transport, so visitors over the age of 11 are expected to wear face-coverings unless exempt.
Health & hygiene precautions:- there are hand sanitiser stations across the site. A dedicated team is responsible for cleaning the trains between rides as well as the site facilities throughout the day. School groups are advised to bring their own additional sanitisers to avoid bottlenecks. School group leaders will take responsibility for Test & Trace procedures as the holders of contact details but we would expect them to inform the railway of any positive tests or confirmed cases so we can protect our staff, volunteers and visitors.
Practical limitations:- School bookings are not restricted in overall size* but group sizes cannot go beyond 10, to facilitate the miniature railway rides . The Waiting room, David Shepherd Discovery Centre, outdoor shelter, patio and covered platform space can all accommodate groups of 10 with adequate social-distancing space.
Miniature railway:- Group sizes will be of no more than 10, to allow the Miniature Railway to operate safely. This allows there to be safe distance between volunteers and pupils. As always, the Miniature Railway cannot run in very poor weather and it is not always possible to notify group leaders in advance if it is unavailable.
Engine Shed & Sentinel Museum: Weather permitting, talks will take place outside each shed and small groups of pupils will alternate for a quick visit to the Diesel engines and the viewing gallery over the Engine Shed restoration works.
Signal Box: This is a confined space which is popular with all visitors. Wherever possible, pupils would remain in their groups or, if not possible, would be further split into smaller groups for a shorter tour.
Learning activities:- the full range of activities, themes and site attractions are available, unless there are unforeseen volunteer absences. Travelling around the site and cross-over of groups will be spaced out and supervised by school staff. Learning materials will either be taken away by pupils or disposable. Resources at the various learning stations will be sanitised frequently and hand sanitisers available at each. The Education Team will wear either masks or visors and maintain a 1m distance as a minimum.
Loos:- for Covid-19 security, our Ladies, Mens & Access toilets in the café entrance are restricted to one at a time.
Members of the Public:- it is inevitable that your school visit will be shared with regular visitors. Across the site there are social distancing precautions & notices for all visitors and the Station team take every measure practical to keep our visitors safe.
Please get in touch if there are any queries.