Glencoe teacher information

Glencoe is well known for its breathtaking landscape, but there’s much more to be discovered in its unknown corners.

Around 400 million years ago the glen was a seething cauldron of volcanic lava. Over the last 1 million years, glaciers have come and gone, shaping the landscape that we see today. During the past 5,000 years, people have lived in and changed Glencoe, but wildlife still abounds in its meadows, bogs, lochs, rivers and mountains. This is an ideal place to discover the richness of Highland history, archaeology, nature and environmental issues.

Set amongst beautiful birch woodland and surrounded by magnificent mountains, the low-level Woodland Walk starts from Glencoe Visitor Centre. This circular route leads through woodland, home to pine martens, roe deer and red squirrels, and reaches Inverrigan, one of the sites of the Glencoe Massacre. From here the trail leads back through the woodland to the visitor centre. The trail is 1.5km and takes around 45 minutes.

The school programme offers a variety of activities, led by the Ranger Service. There’s a wide range of habitats to study, including rivers, lochs, meadows, woodland, bogs and moorland. The award-winning visitor centre houses an audio-visual presentation on the Massacre of Glencoe, as well as displays on geology, wildlife, mountaineering, people of the glen and conservation management. There’s also an education room in the visitor centre, which can accommodate up to 50 children.

The school programme offers many opportunities for cross-curricular work and links to the Curriculum for Excellence. Secondary schools are also welcome – please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Possible topics

  • Habitats – rivers, lochs, meadows, woodland, bogs and moorland 
  • Scottish history
  • Conservation

Resources for schools

  • An illustrated guidebook is available on request (cost £5 plus p&p).
  • Information is available for groups wishing to undertake Duke of Edinburgh’s Award explorations or expeditions in this area.

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact Glencoe for a booking form. Please discuss your needs with staff when making your booking.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Glencoe is open for educational visits at any time during visitor centre opening hours. These vary according to the time of year – please visit the Glencoe webpage for more details.
  • Certain times of year work better for certain topics – eg butterflies in spring and summer only. Please bear this in mind when planning your visit.
  • Maximum class size: numbers, and the ratio of teachers/adults to pupils, can vary according to the activity booked. The education room has a maximum capacity of 55 (sitting theatre-style) and can easily accommodate smaller groups. For guided walks around the woodlands, the usual group size is a maximum of 20 – with a preferred ratio of 1 adult/teacher for 10 children.
  • Access: The visitor centre is fully accessible, as is the viewing platform (located just outside the centre). Please contact us to discuss your requirements. You can also view our detailed accessibility guide for more information.
  • Parking: coaches must park in the coach park. Pupils then walk the short distance (100m) from there to the visitor centre. For the health and safety of all visitors, please do not park the coach at the visitor centre entrance.
  • Toilets: there are fully accessible toilets, one by the café and one by the main toilet block at the visitor centre.
  • Refreshments: there’s a café on site, and food or packed lunches can be arranged in advance. There’s also a small picnic area in the car park. Trust educational membership includes use of the education room for your booked visit – pupils can eat packed lunches in here.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • Entry to the exhibition is free for schools with Trust educational membership, as is use of the education room as a base for the day.
  • Non-member schools are also welcome but there’s an admission charge for the exhibition of £3 per pupil (under 16s in a group booking).
  • Schools on a teacher-led visit may also book to visit the exhibition and use the education room for their own studies. This is free for schools with Trust educational membership, but there’s a charge of £3 per pupil for non-member schools (under 16s in a group booking) as well as an hourly charge for the hire of the education room.
  • Charges vary depending on the activity booked; for any activities that carry a charge, Trust educational members are given a reduced rate.
  • The Glencoe Low-Level Woodland Walk is £2 per member pupil and £3 per non-member pupil.
  • Class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: your class will be met by a ranger under the visitor centre entrance canopy and led to the education room.
  • Trust staff will lead the school programme.
  • For the programme, your class will normally be split into two groups, with one group touring the exhibition and the other going for a walk with the ranger; the groups then swap. This arrangement may vary depending on the size of your group and can be confirmed at time of booking.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils don’t need to bring any materials for the school programme.
  • Pupils/teachers may take photos in the education room and outside on the property.
  • Coats and bags can be left in the education room (please confirm at time of booking).
  • Wet weather shelter is available in the education room (please confirm at time of booking).
  • Shop: pupils are welcome to visit the shop. For the health and safety of all visitors, a maximum of 6 pupils may visit the shop at any one time.

“Duror Primary School had a great visit to the Glencoe Visitor Centre. The whole class enjoyed the practical, hands-on activities, and the eye-opening scavenger hunt through the woodland around the visitor centre is still talked about!” Headteacher, Duror Primary School

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