Information for your primary school visit or nursery visit to the Garden

Confirmation letter

Once your visit has been arranged, you will receive a confirmation letter by email containing the details of the visit. Please read this carefully, and if any alterations need to be made please contact primaryeducation@obg.ox.ac.uk.

Further information

In addition to the confirmation letter, you will receive further information for your visit, including notes to help you complete your risk assessment and detailed information about your chosen session. Please distribute this information to all teachers whose classes are involved in the sessions. You will also receive a pre-order list of items available from the Botanic Garden Boutique, should your pupils like to make any purchases. You can download a map of the Garden before your visit. 

Teacher pre-visit

If you would like to arrange a free pre-visit to the Garden to discuss your session and any questions you might have, please contact primaryeducation@obg.ox.ac.uk.

Preparation for your visit

Pre-visit activities will be provided as part of the detailed information for your session. You are advised to complete some of these activities prior to your visit to help prepare your students.

Special needs

All our activities can be adapted for students with special educational needs. We are pleased to welcome special school groups and to support children with special needs who are integrated into mainstream schools. Please talk to us about your students' needs when you book.

Group size

The maximum group size that can be accommodated at the Garden is 35 students. If the number of students in your group increases beyond this threshold after you have made your booking, please get in touch as soon as possible, so arrangements can be made for two separate visits.  No exceptions will be made.

Adult supervision

All school groups are required to bring four adults with them to accompany and supervise the students. However, we realise that some groups may want to bring more adults. In this case, we request a maximum ratio of one adult to every four children in the group (e.g. no more than eight adults for a class of 32); please do not bring more adults than this as it can be a distraction for the students. Please note that all schools sessions are age-specific, so it is not appropriate for participating parents to bring younger siblings or pushchairs.

What to wear

You will be outside for all of the visit, so make sure your group are all dressed sensibly with plenty of warm, waterproof clothing (layers are advisable) and sensible shoes, boots or wellingtons (with thick socks). Please do not bring umbrellas. In warmer weather, it is also advisable that you bring hats and plenty of sunscreen.

Location

We are located just off the High Street in Oxford, opposite Magdalen College, next to Magdalen Bridge.

Parking

The Garden is able to provide parking for a school minibus, but this must be booked well in advance. If you are traveling in a coach, please advise the coach company that they cannot park at the Garden, but the driver may drop off and pick up your group outside. It is advisable that the coach approaches the Botanic Garden from the east (facing towards Oxford City Centre), so passengers are not exposed to the main road when alighting and embarking. Coaches can park in the Oxpens Coach Park in central Oxford.

Meeting point

A member of our Education Team will meet your party at Danby Gate at the time your session is due to commence.

 

Visit format

A member of our Education Team will lead your session; however, the participation of your adults is essential to the success of the visit. After a brief introduction to the session, your party will be divided into two groups. Each must be accompanied by two adults. One group will be guided by a member of our Education Team, while the other completes a trail and activities which we will prepare for you. Halfway through your visit, the two groups will meet and swap over.  After both groups have completed both parts of the visit, we will meet again for a brief plenary to close the session.

Adult participation

To gain maximum benefit from your visit it is important that your adults fully participate in the session. The timetable for each visit has been carefully co-ordinated, so it is advisable that all adults have watches to ensure smooth running. Teachers are encouraged to informally assess their students’ progress throughout the visit.

Behaviour

Teachers are responsible for the conduct of their students whilst visiting the Garden.

Safety and First Aid

Please bring your own First Aid kit. You are responsible for administering any First Aid treatment required by your students during their visit to the Garden. Please advise us in advance if any of your students have allergies.

Equipment

You do not need to bring any equipment with you, as you will be supplied with paper and pencils etc if they are required. You may like to bring a camera to take photographs to record your visit.

Photography

We will send you a photography consent form in advance if we would like to photograph your group during their visit.

Toilets

We have a limited number of toilets available for use by visiting schools. The toilets are located behind the Conservatory.

Disabled access

All areas of the Garden are accessible for wheelchairs. There is a disabled toilet. Please advise us in advance if any of your students use wheelchairs or have walking difficulties.

Independent exploration

If you would like to stay in the Garden after your session, please book this in advance.

Departure

Your confirmation letter includes the time that your session will finish. Please allow a little extra time for using the toilets and collecting your bags when arranging for your coach to collect you.

Follow-up activities

Post-visit activities are provided as part of the detailed information for your session. You and students will also be asked to give feedback via an online form to complete as a whole class and in one go on your interactive whiteboard. We value your feedback and the information you share with us as they are integral to the evaluation of our programmes.

Another visit in the future

If you would like to plan another visit to the Botanic Garden or the Arboretum, perhaps during a different season, please contact primaryeducation@obg.ox.ac.uk for details.

Queries

If you have any queries about your visit that have not been addressed here, please contact Nienke Abbing on primaryeducation@obg.ox.ac.uk or telephone 01865 286 694.

Due to COVID-19, Oxford Botanic Garden cannot currently take groups into the glasshouses. All sessions at both Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum will be held outdoors. Sessions have been adapted to take this into consideration and where possible species will be bought out of the glasshouses for the class visits. 

School groups will not be expected to socially distance from each other, but they will be expected to socially distance from the public and Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum staff.

Masks are not required for primary school groups but are required for secondary groups whenever indoors. Social distancing guidelines must be followed. The bathrooms are open but signage must be followed and there is a one in one out system.

Help us keep you safe

We need your help in following these rules so we can remain open and safe for everyone. Please respect social distancing guidance at all times. Unfortunately, if we see that the following rules are not being observed, we will have to take immediate action, including asking people to leave or closing entirely.

  • You should not visit if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Keep 2m away from other people 
  • Regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Check the NHS guidelines for more information 
  • Come prepared with your own hand sanitiser and tissues
  • If you fall into one of the vulnerable groups it is the schools responsibility to ensure all appropriate control measures are put in place to keep the person, or persons, safe and to liaise as appropriate with the Gardens of Arboretum.
  • Please refrain from approaching our horticultural and arboricultural teams whilst they work as they are social distancing and will therefore be unable to answer questions 

Further information available on our FAQs page