SVR Education Services

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The SVR's Education Centre was based at The Engine House at Highley. It provided a range of curriculum based school programmes, details of which may be found on the archived SVR Website "Education Service" page (external link).

Early history

The SVR first 'entered the schools market' in Christmas 2002, operating eight "Christmas Cracker Expresses", trains that the railway promoted and operated for Schools, Nurseries and Playgroups separately from the trains advertised in the 'Christmas Services Brochure'. These increased in number to fourteen and sixteen over the next two years.[1]

The SVR's Education Department, or "School Education Service" as it was also known, was formed in spring 2003, initially under the direction of Education Officer David Mee. It began by operating two weeks of "Learn With Thomas" events at Arley, which followed a more limited trial of the same event the year before.[2]

Although the following year's event, "Big Images for Little People" drew smaller numbers, it was sufficiently encouraging to give hope that it would establish itself in future years. An external grant was obtained in 2004 towards funding of the education programme. The SVR was also in the course of submitting an application for grant assistance to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the construction of The Engine House, which required proof that there would will be a significant contribution to general education (of the general public as opposed to the narrower sense of 'school' education) in the project.[3] Following approval of construction in late 2005, the Railway advertised the role of Assistant Education Officer[4] By Mid-2006 David Mee had become "Education Services Manager" and Mrs N Taylor was "Education Officer".[5]

Services developed to meet the needs of the national curriculum. By 2016 these included:

  • World War related activities (Dig for Victory, an evacuation train journey, life on the Home Front activities such as rag rugging, the wartime kitchen and 'make-do-and-mend', classroom at War and the blitz, all with costumed re-enactors.)
  • Wild Tracks, a fully escorted look at wildlife and River Severn,
  • Local trades, archaeology, geology, arts or history.

Some were held in association with West Midland Safari Park, Severn Valley Country Park, the National Trust's Dudmaston Estate, Bewdley museum and Arley arboretum.

When the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were introduced, the paid educators were among those roles that became redundant.The education department was not reinstated when the restrictions were removed.

(Article under construction)

See also


  1. SVR News 148
  2. SVR News 143, General Manager's notes
  3. SVR News 147
  4. SVR News 152
  5. SVR News 154