Thank you for making an Educational booking with Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Here are some instructions to help you to plan your visit:
HEALTH & SAFETY
Groups are asked to provide Education staff with accurate numbers of attending children and staff/adults on arrival, in case of emergency. Education staff will inform you of any maintenance or emergency repairs known to be taking place on site on the day of your visit.
Please ensure that you brief all attendees about key risks before your visit. The up‐to‐date Education Risk Assessment can be found on‐line at www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk/education/teachers-resources-a-risk-assessments/. However, we recommend that all group leaders complete their own Risk Assessments, as this will identify any further measures required that are specific to the needs of the visiting group, such as supervision ratios.
Please ensure that you inform Education staff, via the booking form, of any relevant medical, behavioural or physical conditions that we need to be aware of (including nut and plant allergies). Groups are requested to bring their own first‐aider, as there will not always be one available onsite. A first aid box is kept at Reception and is where the accident book is located, in which to record any incidents taking place on site.
Teachers are welcome to conduct a free pre‐visit to carry out their own risk assessment and plan their self-guided time at any time during the Gardens’ opening hours. Please bring letter headed paper from your school, signed by your Head Teacher and with the date of your visit, to allow you free entry at Reception (guests must be paid for). Teachers bringing their own cars onto our car park to conduct a pre‐visit, or on the day of the visit itself, must enter their registration numbers into the machine at Reception to avoid parking charges. (Please inform all of your drivers of this procedure – the Gardens do not have the ability to cancel fines!)
ARRIVAL AND COACH INSTRUCTIONS
The Gardens open at 10am – please do not arrive before this time as we cannot permit entry for safety and insurance reasons, and there is no waiting area (other than the car park). Please enter with your group at the main Reception (not the Study Centre entrance).
If travelling by coach, please see the teachers’ resources part of our website at www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk/education/teachers-resources-a-risk-assessments/ for our coach instructions, as coaches are not permitted to enter or park on our car park due to restricted space. Minibuses and cars are permitted to park in the car park and their registration numbers must be entered into the machine at Reception (if staying on-site for more than one hour) to avoid parking charges.
If you have chosen to be self‐guided all day, you will need to plan your own timetable. There may be other groups booked in alongside you, so please be prepared to split your group and spread out on site to avoid congestion. Our busiest area tends to be the Glasshouses, which become even busier in wet weather!
If you have opted for teaching sessions, Education staff will liaise with you about these before your visit. Sessions may be offered to you to be delivered either; back‐to‐back, concurrently or before and after your lunch break – this will depend on your visit times, other bookings and the length of the teaching sessions you have requested. Education staff will advise on how best to structure your day in your visit confirmation. Teaching sessions are delivered to a group of up to 30 at a time, so please plan carefully for any time you are not in a teaching session. Please also plan for any snack/toilet breaks in your self‐guided time. Teaching sessions take place in; our dedicated classrooms, the Glasshouses, outdoor marquees, the Gallery or in the grounds, so please wear weather-appropriate clothing.
In order to plan your visit in advance, you must inform us via the booking form, if your group(s) cannot climb a spiral staircase.
Please note that in the event of your school being late on the day and you missing the start of your allocated teaching session, Education staff will do their best to offer you a later slot. However, if it is not possible to re‐schedule your session, we regret to advise that the full teaching rate will still be charged.
Your group may be required to eat lunch at different times and in different locations around the Gardens, so please be ready to split into groups on arrival (if you are bringing more than 30 children). It is best to have your groups planned before you arrive at Reception, since it will be busy with other visitors and space is restricted.
Groups may choose to eat lunch in their allocated covered space or outside in the grounds, and are permitted to eat anywhere on the lawns or the many benches provided (please note that schools should only use the tables in front of the Pavilion Tea Room if making purchases there – the Pavilion Tea Room reserves the right to move groups on from this area if they are eating their own packed lunches). Education groups are not permitted to eat their own packed lunches inside the tea room.
We request that groups bring lunches with minimal or reusable packaging, and sort any waste into the appropriate recycling and refuse facilities available. We do not insist on groups taking their refuse away with them, but in order to help maintain the Gardens, we would be grateful if you could if you are able.
Lunches may be stored in public spaces so it is important that you do not leave valuables, including gift shop money, with lunch bags. Lunch spaces may include upstairs classrooms, outdoor marquees or the Gallery (which may be shared with other schools). Please note the Gardens cannot accept liability for loss or damage to belongings left on site so we recommend that you keep valuables with you at all times.
We regret that we are unable to provide teachers with hot drinks. However, they are available to purchase from the Pavilion Tea Room. Please note that it gets very warm and humid in our Glasshouses even in cooler weather. Therefore, we recommend that visitors bring at least two drinks each, as it is not possible to re‐fill bottles onsite and we do not have any water fountains.
Please note that all toilets are public toilets, so adults must ensure that children are supervised for safety reasons. Therefore, we strongly recommend groups bring both male and female staff whenever possible. Education staff are not permitted to supervise children in the toilets. Please ensure toilets are left in a tidy state for other visitors to use.
The Gardens is an independent educational charity, for which the entry fee provides visitors with a beautiful and tranquil haven in the heart of Birmingham. Educational groups are warmly welcomed to enjoy the varied areas to explore in the Gardens. To respect the needs of all visitors, we ask groups to keep noise to a minimum and not to run onsite. Please ensure children are supervised at all times, including in the playground, in the toilets and at lunchtimes. Please ensure that your school complies with your Local Authority’s recommendations for adult to pupil ratios. The Gardens reserves the right to ask any group that is behaving irresponsibly or spoiling the enjoyment of other visitors to leave the site immediately. Please note that the cost for any deliberate damage caused by your group will be added to your invoice.
Groups may make payment on the day of their visit (by cash, cheque or debit/credit card) for which a receipt will be given. Alternatively, groups can be invoiced before or after their visit. (Please note that only groups of 10 or more children can be invoiced).
A minimum charge will be levied for a teaching session with fewer than 15 children, in order to cover our costs.
CANCELLATION POLICY / CHANGE OF NUMBER
Your booking form is a contract between you and the Gardens, to an agreed date, with an agreed number of children. If you cancel your visit within 4 weeks of the visit date, we regret that we will have to charge for the full number of people stated on the booking form.
If the number of children in your group changes after you have completed the booking form, you must inform the Education Team in writing as soon as possible. This will be confirmed back to you to acknowledge the change.
On the day of your visit, we offer Activity Packs for hire for use in self-guided time. (There are Pond Dipping, Minibeast Hunting, Cryptic Orienteering and Ecological Sampling to choose from.) Each Pack is charged at only £25 per group of 30 children, and this can be added to your invoice if required. Please be advised that for any Pack not returned to Gardens’ staff at the end of your visit, or for any that contain missing or damaged equipment, the relevant charge will be added to your invoice. Groups that pay in advance or on the day of their visit will be asked to leave a (refundable) deposit until Packs are returned in a satisfactory condition. Packs are checked regularly, and contain relevant safety advice and comprehensive instructions, but please be aware that all activities are conducted at your own risk (and so should form part of your own Risk Assessment).
There are also many free resources available to download from the Educational Resources section of our website. These resources are not provided on the day of your visit, so please ensure that you bring with you all that you require.
Groups should ensure that no more than 10 children visit the shop at any one time, to prevent overcrowding. If groups prefer not to visit the shop but would still like to make a purchase, goody bags can be made up for collection instead. Please advise of your requirements on your booking form. (We are unable to invoice for any shop/goody bag purchases. These must be paid for on the day of your visit via cash, cheque or debit/credit card.)