All aboard the school history bus

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Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Whitby Abbey, Hadrian’s Wall, the Battle of Hastings battlefield – these are just a few of the country’s most famous historic sites.

Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Whitby Abbey, Hadrian’s Wall, the Battle of Hastings battlefield – these are just a few of the country’s most famous historic sites.

Now, under a new initiative announced by English Heritage, thousands more children are going to get the chance to visit them.

The English Heritage History Bus scheme is offering state schools across England free bus journeys to visit places like Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire and Audley End House in Essex too.

Admission to the 400 sites in the National Heritage Collection has always been free for schools, but the cost of hiring a coach ruled visits out for many of them.

The free school bus scheme is open to all non-fee-paying primary and secondary schools in England and will run on a first come, first served basis. 

The initiative is expected to cover the cost of 7,500 coaches a year and more than 10,000 schools are eligible to apply. 

English Heritage, which is funding the scheme through donations and legacies, believes 30,000 children will benefit from the opportunity. 

“People are more likely to visit historic sites if they first visited them as a child,” said Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage.

“The sites in the National Heritage Collection are free to all schools but the cost of getting to them is beyond the reach of many. Our history bus scheme changes all that and means that more teachers and children can get out of their classrooms and visit the places where history was made.”

Education secretary Michael Gove has also backed the scheme: “It is fantastic that tens of thousands of children will be able to visit and be inspired by the sites that played a historic role in shaping the history of England.”

For more information, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/education/free-entry/free-school-bus-scheme

Caption: History tour: Landmarks in English Heritage’s free bus scheme include Housesteads Roman Fort at Hadrian’s Wall and Stonehenge


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