Pupils from Leith Primary School in Edinburgh this week took on new roles as junior guides at Trinity House in Leith, the home of the Incorporation of Shipowners and Shipmasters.
The primary six and seven pupils are the latest to participate in the award-winning scheme, which takes place at a number of Historic Scotland sites around the country, including Linlithgow Palace and Edinburgh Castle.
The scheme sees pupils dressed in historical costume providing tours of their local Historic Scotland property for visiting pupils from all over Scotland, and for members of their local communities at special events.
At Trinity House, the junior guides will dress as sailors, whalers and sea captains to teach visitors about the site’s outstanding collection of maritime memorabilia and the local area’s links to the sea.
Following a six-month training programme – which saw pupils learning more about the history of Trinity House as well as developing their performance skills – the Leith Primary School pupils yesterday (11th June) participated in a special graduation ceremony where they were presented with their completion certificates by the Captains of Trinity House.
A joint project between Historic Scotland, Illuminate UK and staff from Leith Primary School, the junior guides scheme at Trinity House aims to support teachers in implementing the Curriculum for Excellence, and to increase community involvement and ownership.
Nathan Bryceland, Learning Development Officer for Historic Scotland said: “Our junior guides scheme has been a huge success at a number of our sites around Scotland and I’m delighted that we’re pairing up with Leith Primary School to bring the scheme to Trinity House.
“It’s a unique site with a fascinating history and a rich collection of maritime memorabilia, and the pupils will help to bring its story to life for other young visitors as well as for members of the local community. They’ve been rehearsing for months now and are as knowledgeable as they are enthusiastic.”
Alasdair Friend, Headteacher of Leith Primary School said: “Leith Primary School has a vision to be at the heart of the diverse and vibrant community we serve. The school building is crowned by a silver weathervane of the ship Persevere and many of its former pupils left Leith for a life as mariners and seamen. For the school to train and provide tour guides for Trinity House has been a huge privilege and has enabled the children to contribute back to the community of Leith. The skills and knowledge the young people have learnt as part of this fantastic learning opportunity are of the highest quality. Many thanks to Historic Scotland for investing in this school.”
Karen McKenzie of Illuminate UK said: “It’s been my pleasure to create the tour and work alongside staff from Leith Primary School to train the pupils. The children have learned valuable skills for their future while learning about their past. We’ve worked on presentation skills, voice use, movement, tour guide technique and developing characters. We look forward to welcoming other schools to come and enjoy the tour and hear the whaler’s adventures and pirate tales and see if they have what it takes for the Sea Captain to recruit them as sailors on his next voyage!”
Leith Primary School pupils will be offering tours to other school groups during term times in 2014 and 2015. They will also be providing tours to the public on 20 June at 10am and 11am as part of the Leith Festival. For more information and to book tours contact Trinity House on 0131 554 3289 or visit www.trinityhouseleith.org.uk