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Would this work in schools?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by plymgary, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. Hi,

    I was hoping some of you might be able to spare me some time and offer some advice (please). :)

    I am looking to start a touring history group with another three friends of mine. To summarise, we would each play various historical leaders over a 30 minute period, with the aim to educate children. Two people would be performing at any one time, with the other two changing outfits ready for the next sketch. Think of it like a travelling 'Horrible Histories'.


    Now, do schools often have the time/budgets for something like this? As there would be four of us involved, I didn't want to pursue the idea if it was something that was in low demand or wouldn't cover our costs.

    How much would the 'average' (I know, it's possibly a "how long is a piece of string?" question) school pay for something like this?

    Many thanks,

    Gary :)
     
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    You'd probably be best posting in the primary forum and/or the history forum.

    First thought:

    You almost certainly need to target what's in the curriculum. You're unlikely to be hired to do something covering a wide period of history, but as something to kick off a topic on "tudors" it might go down well. Check out the curriculum, and plan something targetted on a particular topic / age-group. Primaries are probably a better bet than secondaries, where year 8 all have history on different days so a visit would need them to be taken off timetable. You might also be best targetting the topics where there is less provision at the moment: any school near a Roman site probably has a trip there for their Romans topic, for instance, and so wouldn't really be looking for anything extra (that costs) on Romans.

    Second thought:

    Thirty minutes? I don't know what you're thinking of charging, but I doubt schools will pay for thirty minutes at a rate that would make it worth your while, by the time you've taken travel into account. You should look at what else you could offer - so maybe it starts with your sketches, then you offer some classroom workshops with related activities - ideally things the staff couldn't just do for themselves - maybe you can bring costumes/artefacts/expertise.
     
  3. Thanks very much for that. I really appreciate the advice.

    Ah, I see what you mean about sticking to a particular topic. With me not being a teacher, is there any way I can find out what is on the curriculum? Is it just a case of Googling it?

    And, you're right. Thirty minutes wouldn't be near enough to justify both our own and the schools time. If we were wanting to expand it into a lesson afterwards, would we require any sort of teacher training? Or, is it okay to conduct a lesson as long as it is being overseen by a teacher?

    With all that in mind, would 30 minutes for the play and then a 45 minute consolidation lesson work in a primary school environment? If so, what do you think schools would pay for this, and do you think it would ever likely be something we could do full time? :)
     
  4. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    We've just had someone in all day connected to the Romans. Not sure what it cost.

    I think if you google you will find a few companies which would give you an idea of cost and what is out there.
     
  5. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    You wouldn't need teacher training but would obviously need the ability to engage the children. A teacher would normally be present so you would all just need a DBS check. I don't know your backgrounds but if you don't have any experience perhaps you could do a trial for free at a local fete a cub group or something to give yourselves an idea of how children respond. It could be that you could do two different shows of different historical periods in one school so you are there longer. It would be worth researching to see if there is any competition in your are for this sort of thing. Price would depend on area. In the South East (London area) you might get £200 for a morning if you have lots of artefacts costumes etc as frustrum mentioned.

    I doubt it would really be full time as there would more likely be certain times in the term, more at the beginning of a topic that would be more popular. It is important to quickly build up reviews to get work and a lot is word of mouth in local schools. Doing some free shows first would give you an opportunity for people to review you on your website and possibly have some advertising signs.
     
  6. Thanks for all the great advice. I will look into it a bit more, and obviously would offer some workshops for free initially to get our name out there. :)

    I feel really bad asking for advice and not contributing anything of worth back to this forum. But, I couldn't see any 'General' or 'Off Topic' sections on the forum?

    Thanks again. :)
     
  7. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I speak as a secondary history teacher. You must bear in mind the change of curriculum. Most history in primary schools is now pre 1066. I don't see a market for you in secondary schools. With the change in a level and gcse we require a serious amount of investment in resources to facilitate this. Realistically there is no money left for projects such as yours. It depends on price, I wonder whether your product has enough relevance to the curriculum though to succeed? For the money you will have to charge I also wonder how significant the educational advantage would be, sorry.
     
  8. alexdoncaster

    alexdoncaster New commenter

    It's a lovely idea but I honestly don't think there's enough money floating around to make it a financially viable idea.

    Also, there are groups offering similar products to the one you propose, so the market's pretty saturated.

    I don't personally know of any school that would bring any external company in for anything less than a half-day, or at least a few hours.

    You also need to factor into account the fact that schools are closed for 11-ish weeks of the year, bogged down with SATS, at the tail end of the year, occupied with Christmas stuff in December and no one really does that kind of thing at the start of the year, so there's not much of a window left to make any money, especially when there are several of you!

    If, however, you were all planning on keeping your 'main' jobs and this would be an additional source of revenue for you all, then look into it further. But no way would you be able to cover all your out-goings (transport, resources, marketing, etc etc) and make a salary.
     
  9. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    You may, and I mean may, earn some sort of living as a one man band. It will be hard though. I do not understand what money you think schools have though to allow 4 of you to earn A living from this? On top of this you have a non existent knowledge of your market (you have no knowledge of what schools actually teach) before considering your act, surely it would have been sensible to spend your time on seeing if it was financially viable and actually relevant?

    Sorry....
     
  10. We have used History Off The Page. They do a full day, a range of fascinating workshops with original style artefacts, costumes etc. No 'dry' 45 minute lessons. It would be a huge set up cost for you to begin to emulate what they do.

    http://www.historyoffthepage.co.uk/courses.htm

    If schools have the money, it is a fantastic day's learning but we no longer do. Teachers do it themselves as best they can.
     
  11. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    i read the post before anyone else commented. my initial thoughts were it not financially viable. money is now tighter for schools and resources tend to be focused upon improving results. As you have no knowledge of the curriculum and haven't suggested any costings i don't see it as viable. Sorry.
     
  12. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I can understand the caution and negativity from many posters in this economic climate and school budget cuts. But I like to believe where there is a will, there is a way and if the OP (and his 3 colleagues) is determined enough, this could work.

    I definitely think that primary is more likely to work than secondary for this sort of thing (lower ability Y7/8 at the oldest.) To be frank, higher ability Y7 and anyone from Y9 onwards would find this a little too childish unless you intellectualised it sufficiently (with careful jokes etc.)

    And I think that this sort of thing is heavily reliant on reputation. If you can smash it out of the park in a few local primaries, word could spread. Ideally, you are city based and would have a wide range of primaries nearby, or at the very least good transport links.

    At one extreme, you could do a 'play' in the hall for the whole school, downside of this is on its own it would not take up a whole school day, just an hour or two if you are lucky! (30 minutes is too short for this.)

    At the other extreme, you will do an hour each with say 5 year groups.

    What you will quickly realise doing this is that the engagement strategies needed can very widely between year groups and even between the children in the same year group and class! Hopefully, the normal class teacher will be on hand to 'manage behaviour' and for DBS reasons should be in the room with you anyway but there may be occasions where they wander out of the room or even expect you to 'manage' behaviour - chances are this experience will come as a baptism of fire one day with a particularly challenging group!

    I think some marketing will be required, a website etc.

    Also, you will have to be extremely good to make this a viable income for 4 people on its own. As others have said, 13 weeks a year is gone already for school holidays. It is also unlikely that you will be requested at the start of term where teachers are establishing themselves with new classes. So you may have to supplement it with theatre work or bookings to say youth centres, summer/holiday activities groups etc.

    Lastly, you need to do your homework. My best guess is you are History graduates fresh out of Uni and you have just had exam results and are discussing what you want to do now! (It is that time of year.) Many teachers (sorry!!!) can be pedantic and will happily pull you up on factual inaccuracies! But you also need to research what is required for each stage of the history curriculum.

    Good luck!
     
  13. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    It would be possible, in school holidays, to pick up bookings from holiday clubs. The club I used to be involved in regular got a pair of guys who would do sessions in Vikings, Romans, medieval period etc. with a range of games, drama, music, sword fighting and fire eating
     
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Just to add that if they were going in for a one-off supervised by teachers, they wouldn't need a DBS.
     

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