Schools

Visiting Sarehole Mill

This page contains comprehensive information for teachers bringing pupils on a visit to Sarehole Mill, it includes pre-visit and on the day information.

Sarehole Mill offers an extensive programme of taught sessions and self-guided activities for school groups aged 4 – 18 and welcomes SEN groups and home education groups.

Pupils will be able to explore this magnificent 250 year working old water mill, discovering how people lived and worked here a long time ago. Many taught sessions are themed around National Curriculum topics, and local history is at the forefront of our programme at Sarehole Mill. Our outdoor setting makes it the perfect place to give your topics a local perspective, such as exploring the River Cole for your Rivers topic, discovering a local Prehistoric site, or creating literacy fairytales inspired by the famous J.R.R Tolkien who spent his childhood growing up at Sarehole. Pupils will develop key skills and gain valuable knowledge for subjects such as geography, history, art and literacy.

Pre-Visit Information

Address

Sarehole Mill
Cole Bank Road
Hall Green
Birmingham
B13 0BD

Contact / Book a Visit

All visits require advanced booking - this includes self-guided visits, teacher previews and taught sessions.

For enquiries or to make a booking contact the Education Bookings Team on 0121 348 8001 or email educationbookings@birminghammuseums.org.uk

Risk Assessments

Download the schools risk assessment (PDF) for Sarehole Mill.

Teacher Previews

If you are a first time visitor to Sarehole Mill it is recommended that a member of your teaching staff attends a pre-visit. Proof of teacher status must be shown at the ticket desk on entry (e.g. General Teaching Council membership, union membership card or signed headed school paper). Please contact the bookings team to arrange this.

Facilitated Sessions

Sarehole Mill is primarily an outdoor site, and many of the sessions have an outdoor element or take place entirely outside. These sessions will continue outside rain or shine, and will only be brought indoors for extreme weather conditions, where pupils can take part in wet weather alternative activities. It is therefore essential that children come prepared for outdoor activities with appropriate footwear, waterproofs, coats and hats in cold weather and water bottles in hot weather.

All taught sessions take place within the historic building of Sarehole Mill, as well as the surrounding outdoor environment, giving pupils a truly immersive experience. The taught sessions have been designed by a specially trained Learning Officer with expertise in museum education.

Taught sessions are active, hands-on and multi-sensory; appealing to all learning abilities and learning styles. Sessions include object handling, dressing up in costume, role-play and for all art sessions a practical art activity is included.

Due to the nature of the site only one taught session can take place at one time. We can however accommodate two school groups on site at the same time. Please see the information on the workshop pages on how we can accommodate this.

Taught sessions can sometimes be adapted to fit with a particular classroom topic. Please get in touch to find out if this is possible for your group.

Outside workshops, Rivers and tours of the mill

Outside workshops

We endeavour to make your school visit to Sarehole Mill as engaging and enjoyable as we possibly can. However there may be times when elements out of our control mean our workshops have to be adapted. 

Unless the weather is extremely wet, if you have booked an outdoor workshop then we will continue with the workshop. We can bring the class inside and continue with the session with some alterations to the session if we need to. Pupils should be dressed in preparation for continuing outside in light rain and cold weather.

Rivers

In times of heavy rain the river may become inaccessible. We cannot always guarantee pupils will be able to access the river and we may not be able to decide this until the day itself. We have other activities which we can deliver from the banks so as not to impact on the overall aims of the workshop.

Tours of the mill

We are a historic water mill and as such there may be times our machinery is not working or certain areas are not permitted to be entered during your visit. We always strive to ensure there are alterative demonstrations or handling opportunities in these cases so as to ensure your pupils continue to have a great experience whilst visiting Sarehole Mill.

Self-Guided Visits

Sarehole Mill has recently worked with a local school to create a sensory woodland trail through the grounds at the mill. This includes elements such as a sound wall, climbing area, dig site and texture walk. The aim of the new trail is to aid school groups in engaging with the woodland environment and to enhance their exploration and discovery.

To aid teachers and supporting staff we have created a series of school resources which are available alongside each new element in the wood to create an engaging yet educational experience when visiting.

On arrival, teachers will be met by a learning officer who will familiarise them with the site and the resources available. Teachers will be sent information about the self-guided visit when they book, and you can also access some of the resources ahead of time on our online resources page.
Sarehole Mill has created the self-led resources to allow the site to welcome two classes on one day. This means that whilst one class is participating in our taught workshop alongside the Learning Officer, the other class have an opportunity to explore our grounds in a meaningful way using the self-led resources we provide.

Home Educators

All of our taught sessions are available for home education groups. We can adapt the content of the taught sessions to fit with mixed age groups, abilities and needs. A minimum charge may apply.

Disabled Access

Disabled access is available to some areas of Sarehole Mill; however, as a listed building we have been unable to install a lift within the mill. Therefore those in wheelchairs will be unable to access the upper floor of the mill. The other two floors can be accessed via wheelchair, and these are the two main floors of the mill.

We can adapt our taught sessions to use the ground floor and first floor only however, allowing all of your class to participate in the session together.

Clothing

Pupils must be briefed about what to expect from their visit prior to arriving on site, and must be dressed accordingly. Wellies are essential when booking Rivers, otherwise pupils must have sturdy footwear. Changes of socks and footwear are recommended for pupils to change into if they get wet. Please bring waterproofs, and hats, gloves, scarves and lots of layers in cold weather. Stilettos are strictly forbidden.

When booking a rivers session at least one adult visiting with each class must have wellies on and be willing to accompany the Learning Officer into the river if the weather permits us to.

Goodie Bags

Goodie bags are available to pre-order and can either be paid for on the day or via invoice to your school.  We have two options of goodie bags to order:

  • £1 - Pencil and Eraser 
  • £2.50 - Mini-notebook, Pencil and Eraser
    (Subject to availability)

Goodie bags contain items in a random selection of colours (see bottom of page for images) and are subject to availability. To pre-order your bags please contact Sarehole Mill on 0121 348 8160.

Pupil / Teacher Ratio

  • For Foundation and Key Stage 1 groups a minimum of 1 adult to every 6 children is required. 
  • For Key Stage 2 and over a minimum of 1 adult for every 10 children is required.

A failure to meet these ratios may result in your session being cancelled upon arrival at the mill.

On the Day Information

Arrival 

School groups should arrive 15 minutes before the start of their first taught session. This will allow for pupils to disembark from the coach, drop off lunch bags and visit the toilets before going into the mill.

Late arrival may result in your taught sessions being shortened. Sessions cannot be carried over due to other groups and activities around the mill.

Coach Drop Off and Parking

Coaches are welcome to drop pupils off outside the main gates of the mill on Cole Bank Road. Coaches may remain parked outside the main gates for the duration of the session if they wish.

For mini-buses and cars, there is a free car park next to the mill where they can park.

Schools Entrance

The entrance for schools is found within the public car park next to the mill. Schools will be welcomed through the side gate and into the site by the Learning Officer.

Coaches can pull up by the main gate but classes will be asked to then walk around to the side gate in the car park.

Classroom

There is one classroom which is used for workshops and as a lunch space. An exhibition space next to the classroom can be adapted to be used as an additional education space or lunch space to accommodate two classes on site at the same time.

Lunch Area

We are a small heritage site and have no designated lunch area. We have indoor spaces we can provide for two classes if the weather is cold and wet. 

There is a field next to the mill which is encouraged for lunches in the nice weather.

Hot Drinks

We have a tea room which will be open for teachers to use during our open season. This is closed during our closed season which runs October – February. Learning Officers will offer hot drinks to staff if they have the time or resources on the day but this is not guaranteed.

We suggest you bring flasks with hot drinks and soups in the cold months.

Cloakroom

There is not a dedicated school cloakroom but teachers and pupils may leave their belongings in the classroom (if this has been pre-booked for use by your group) which is a secure space, but it is recommended to keep high value items on you at all times.

Toilets 

Toilets are available as well as an accessible toilet (a key must be collected from the main reception for access to this). We ask that all children use the toilets before the taught session to avoid disruption.

Museum Shop

Our museum shop is usually open but there are times due to staffing that we may have to close it. We can however still open it for use by the school should you wish to use it. Please ask the learning officer when you arrive and they will liaise with site staff to accommodate you.

We ask that when using the shop you limit the number of pupils in there to 8 at a time.

Pupil Behaviour

  • It is the responsibility of the class teachers and accompanying adults to control the behaviour of pupils
  • Taught sessions take place within the mill where machinery is often in operation, or in an outdoor environment, including public spaces. Artefacts in the mill should not be touched unless permission is granted by museum staff
  • Pupils are expected to show respect, listen to the to museum staff and follow instructions
  • Adults must stay with the pupils at all times
  • Pupils should not be led away from the Learning Officer unless instructed to do so and no one is to exit the building unless escorted by a member of Sarehole Mill’s staff

Photography

Photography is permitted.