Why Visit St Martin’s?
Information for Schools and other groups visiting Birmingham Parish Church (St. Martin in the Bull Ring):
Thank you for expressing an interest in bringing a group to visit St. Martin in the Bull Ring!
We suggest that groups visiting the church plan for around 1 hour to allow time for an introduction, short tour, and question and answer session. If you would like your visit to be shorter or longer than this then please specify on the Booking Enquiry form and we will try to facilitate your request. Guided visits are available at the following times each week:
Mondays 10:00-16:00; Wednesdays 12:00-16:00; Thursdays 10:00-12:00.
The church may be available for groups to visit without a guide at other times, however it is still essential for groups to check and book with us first to avoid double bookings (as the space can be quite busy). At present we are generally unable to cater for groups of more than 40 young people at a time. If your group is larger than this then we can arrange to cater for your visit in two or more smaller sections, or can discuss an alternative program for your visit to allow for increased numbers. We are always developing new resources that are available to use as part of visits (such as worksheets and various workshop activities) – for details of what we currently have available just ask. Please see further down this page to see the curriculum aspects that can be drawn from a visit to St Martin’s.
Keeping the church building maintained and staffed so that it can be open to the public is quite costly, and as a charitable organisation we run entirely on donations. We do not charge any fee for school visits, but welcome any donations offered.
In preparing for your visit it is important to remember that St. Martin’s is open as a public space in the city centre, and should be treated as such for risk assessment purposes and in deciding staff to student ratios.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us by telephone or email and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Potential curriculum aspects to be drawn from a visit to St. Martin in the Bull Ring (Birmingham Parish Church)
There are many reasons why schools choose to bring groups to visit St. Martin in the Bull Ring. Often the main reason for visiting is to have an opportunity to learn about Christian faith and practices, as one of the faiths represented in Birmingham.
“I know you’ll agree it’s only with knowledge and understanding that a respect will grow for different faiths and traditions which in turn will contribute to a more just and cohesive society.”
(Extract from a ‘Thank You’ letter sent by Park View School following a series of year 7 visits to St. Martin’s in 2012)
As well as being an opportunity for religious education and for developing pupils’ abilities to understand and discuss faith ideas (a significant aspect of PHSE in Birmingham and the West Midlands), visits to St. Martin’s can also contribute to several other curriculum areas:
– The church has strong links with local history, ranging back over at least 700 years (from the very beginnings of Birmingham as a market town).
– There is a strong presence and encouragement of art and creativity at St. Martin’s. This is both historical (as present in the architecture, stonework and stained glass of the church building) and contemporary – including exhibitions of painting, photography, textiles, sculpture and poetry from local and national artists, art collectives, local schools, and others. This can contribute to creative education, both in terms of the Arts and English. We are also able to offer creative workshops for visiting school groups on request.
– Many groups have commented on how much they appreciated the ‘atmosphere’ of the church building. Being in the church space can provide an opportunity for silence and stillness that has become increasingly rare in our busy world, and which is often not something that pupils expect from a building in the heart of the city! Many groups find that giving even a very short time (30/60 seconds) for silence and stillness can give pupils a valuable space for reflection and awareness.
– St. Martins’ location in the city – between the very affluent Bullring Shopping Centre and the more deprived areas of Digbeth and Deritend – naturally raises questions around wealth and poverty, social action, economics, and citizenship. This can contribute to both geography and PHSE.
When arranging visits we consult and work with the school to tailor our input to focus on the topics and areas that pupils are studying. We always seek to help pupils to engage as fully as possible in the learning experience, by working with different learning styles and creating opportunities for exploration and interaction.