Chester Race Company has this year had the pleasure of facilitating a record eight school visits from local schools at both Bangor-on-Dee and Chester Racecourses, as part of the racing educational programme and charity Racing to School.
Racing to School offers school children and students a free behind-the-scenes look at the inner-workings of a racecourse on raceday, through visits to racecourses. The programme’s ‘hands-on’ approach aims to combine school curriculum with informative workshops within the context of racing, hoping to spark interest in the sport of horseracing amongst the participants whilst enabling them to think about different career opportunities.
Education Officer for Racing to School Carrie Ford said ”Racing to School receives great support from Chester Race Company and I am delighted that together we are able to offer many children a unique, exciting and fun learning experience. We also continue to build on and further develop the Racing Together initiative activity, strengthening links and engaging with the local community.”
215 pupils from local schools have visited both Bangor-on-Dee and Chester in 2017 for a behind the scenes look at every aspect of a race day, including handicapping, the science of jockey nutrition and the design process behind a jockey’s silks. All the detail of a raceday carries with it opportunities to aid children with their learning through maths and literacy education, discussing weights and distances both of which are vital within racing. Each visit finished with the school children observing a race, enabling them to see the culmination of many different areas on the track and witness the excitement first-hand.
Teacher at Wood Memorial CP School, Andrew Johnson commented on the latest school visit to Chester, “the Racing to School initiative is a wonderful way of providing children with an opportunity to apply their numeracy and literacy skills in a real life setting. The children are encouraged to use their reasoning, problem-solving and teamwork skills to solve a range of challenges. At Wood Memorial CP School, we feel very privileged and fortunate to be part of such a wonderful project and cannot wait to bring more children along in the future. I cannot speak highly enough of the Racing to School team who take their time to plan and deliver the day and Chester Racecourse staff who were so welcoming of the children - thank you!”
The first Chester visit of the season during the Boodles May Festival made TV coverage as part of the ITV broadcast and the video footage can be viewed here:
Visiting pupils also had a chance to reflect on their experiences:
“Today was a really exciting day, the tour was amazing and the tension in the racing was also dead exciting.” Zoe, aged 10. “It was fantastic, better than my Xbox. I loved the racing because it was so exciting.” Zak, aged 11.
Charity Coordinator at Chester Race Company, Jeannie Chantler has pledged to honour additional visits to this fantastic initiative in 2018, commenting, “The Race Company are pleased to be able to facilitate such an integral programme, offering youngsters the chance to visit our racecourses in a capacity that allows them a special insight into the inner workings of a track on race day. We hope that these visits continue to generate positive experiences amongst our young visitors and in a wider context, further promote interest in the sport from a grass-roots level upwards.”
Children aged 17 and under are eligible to attend all race days at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee completely free of charge with a full paying adult and a varied programme of free activities* to supplement the racing schedule ensures youngsters are kept entertained throughout the day.
For more information on Racing to School, visit http://www.racingtoschool.co.uk/racing_to_school