Schools and Group Visits – Information for Teachers
The Royal West of England Academy exists for everyone with an interest in art and design. It is one of only five Royal Academies of Art in the UK and is a registered charity which has been self-supporting for over 150 years and possesses an outstanding Grade II* listed building, galleries and permanent fine art collection. The RWA has HM Queen Elizabeth II as its patron. The RWA’s aim is to provide an inclusive programme of exhibitions, events and education in order to enhance the knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of art to the people who visit.
How can I book a visit?
Please ring the RWA reception to book a visit on 0117 9735 129. When you ring to book please have the following information to hand:
- Date, time and estimated duration of visit
- Year group and any access / special learning needs of your pupils
- Number of pupils
- School address, telephone number and email for group coordinator
How much does it cost to visit?
The RWA offers a special rate for schools. If you are visiting with a school or college group the following rates apply:
£2.00 per student
£3.00 per teacher/accompanying adult
Free per student (Suggested donation of £2.00 per child)
£3.00 per teacher/accompanying adult
How can I pay for my visit?
You can pay in advance over the phone or in person using a credit/debit card, by cheque or with cash.
Is there a maximum group size?
To make the most of your visit we would recommend that group visits are no larger than 30 pupils per group. You may wish to visit as a larger party and then split the group up to tour the exhibition. Groups may be asked to split into smaller groups when entering certain exhibitions.
We recommend that each class is accompanied by their teacher and at least one other adult at all times. Department for Education guidelines suggest the following adult to pupil ratios for visits of this kind:
- Years 1 to 3 1:6
- Years 4 to 6 1:10–15
- EYFS, higher than 1:6
Please note that teachers and accompanying adults are responsible for the behaviour of their group at all times during their visit.
Facilities and Access
The RWA is open Monday to Saturday 9.30 to 5.30, last entrance to the galleries at 5pm and Sundays 11am-5pm, last entrance to the galleries at 4.30pm.
The RWA has disabled access through its main entrance and level access to the cafe and shop on the Ground Floor. There is lift access to the main galleries on the First Floor, and down to the Long Gallery and accessible toilet in the Basement. The new Basement Gallery and Fedden Gallery are also fully accessible.
Toilets are located on the lower ground floor.
There is a small Café onsite however we do not have a dedicated space for education groups to eat lunch. If you require a space to eat lunch please specify this when booking and we will see if a suitable room is available on the date of your visit.
We have an active studio adjacent to the galleries which is used for our Bristol Drawing School Programme of courses and workshops as well as a gallery/educational space on the lower ground floor. If you are looking for a room to meet as a group during your visit please specify this when booking and we will see if a suitable room is available on the date of your visit.
We do not currently have cloakroom facilities for schools groups.
What exhibitions / permanent displays do you have?
The RWA has a changing programme of temporary exhibitions, therefore please ensure that you have checked the website before your visit.
We have a collection of over 1000 permanent works which are not currently on display, the collection can be viewed in storage on request.
Gallery Tours / Workshops and Self-Guided Visits
The RWA welcomes self-guided visits to the gallery. Please be aware that you are responsible for the supervision of your group and we ask that you are considerate of other gallery users.
You are welcome to work in the galleries using pencils and crayons unless specified otherwise. If you intend to work in the gallery during your visit please check at time of booking that no specific regulations apply as sometimes loan conditions may require us to prevent the use of drawing materials in an exhibition.
If you would like to organise a tour of the exhibition or discuss a suitable workshop please contact Gemma Brace on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss this with you.
Filling in a Risk Assessment and Health and Safety
The RWA recommends that groups conduct a risk assessment prior to their visit to the RWA. We have included some useful information below for your reference:
- In the event of a fire, the alarm will sound a continuous bell. The main exit is through the main entrance on the ground floor. Our Fire Assembly Point is across the road by the fountains outside of the Victoria Rooms. If this exit is blocked, there is an exit at the back of the Stancomb-Wills gallery. Follow the stairs down and either exit through Bristol School of Art or make your way to the garden refuge area. RWA Fire Marshalls should be available to direct you to the appropriate exit. In the event of an emergency please contact a member of staff at our reception desk on the ground floor or a gallery invigilator, identifiable by their badge.
- Please note that the RWA does not have a dedicated First Aid Room
- The nearest Hospital with an Accident and Emergency Department is the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
- The administering of First Aid to pupils is the responsibility of the school.
- The RWA has Public Liability Insurance
A copy of this information can be downloaded here for reference.
If you would like to keep up to date on our learning programme and receive regular updates for teachers then please sign-up to the mailing list.