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Interview with an Art Teacher

March 5th, 2018

Every year we are lucky to host a great bunch of schools, from primary school groups (occasionally) through to GCSE and A’level art students. Some we see every couple of years, others come more regularly; either way it’s always a great opportunity to introduce students of all ages to St Ives; many of whom have never been to a British beach before and are often surprised by the golden sand and palm trees.

As well as the great vista sketching opportunities, St Ives delivers a fabulous [art] trip full of workshops, iconic institutions and galleries and we love working with teachers to ensure that by the time they get down here they have a jam-packed itinerary; we’ve even gone so far as to compile a series of itinerary builders which schools can download for free from our website to help guide their planning.

Queen Anne’s School, Art dept.

Queen Anne’s School in Caversham is an independent girls school for 11 – 18 year olds and Sarah Beales, Head of Art, has been bringing a group of A’level students to St Ives at the end of January for the last couple of years and is all booked in again for 2019.

Interview with Sarah Beales, Head of Art

Sarah very kindly offered to answer some questions for us so we could publish this blog to help other teachers plan their school trip to St Ives. We really do enjoy this group coming down every year and hope that we’ve asked the right questions to be helpful. If we’ve missed anything just ask…

What are your top 3 reasons for bringing an art group to St Ives?

  1. Pre-A Level exam paper inspiration
  2. Size of St Ives – small compact and safe town so easy to navigate and get around
  3. Availability of art workshops and artists to work with students so the trip does not just depend on teachers

What are your ‘go-to’ activities while you’re here and why?

We love: Tate St Ives, Barbara Hepworth Museum, Leach Pottery, Greg Humphries sketchbook workshop, Barnoon Workshop and the beach!

All excellent, all inspirational.

Porthmeor Beach St Ives

Could you explain why you think that St Ives is so important from an art perspective?

There’s just so much art to see, all set within a unique land/seascape.

What is the biggest hurdle to navigate when coming to St Ives?

Ultimately it’s the length of the journey to get down here as it does take 5 hours from Reading; however we come by train so it’s as relaxed as possible and the students can get up and walk around.

What is the end-to-end cost of the trip per student (all in)?

For a 4 day trip including train fares it’s £145/student + £10 for food per day.

What do the students love about coming to St Ives?

They love being outside – even in January; and due to the time of year it’s not at all busy. They also love the compact feel of the town which couldn’t be more different from their locale and, of course, immersion in all things art!

What do they get the most out of?

They get loads out of working direct with artists and seeing art that was created in St Ives. Working outside of their classroom and experiencing different landscapes and environments fuels their creativity.

What other trips do you plan during the school year?

We do gallery trips to London to see Tate and the National Gallery among others; we also go to art conferences in London. Bi-annually we plan larger, international trips such as Barcelona and (this year) Washington DC.

Most people avoid coming to St Ives in January, what brings you down here at that time of year?

We come at the end of January so that A Level students can get ideas for their exam paper which is available to them on 1 Feb. Also, the town is not at all touristy then and the availability of workshops and artists to work with is great so there are no distractions.

What’s the most important facility for your group which is provided at Cohort Hostel?

Space to work.

What are your top 3 reasons for staying at Cohort Hostel?

  1. Location – it’s right in the centre of town and we can walk everywhere
  2. Excellent facilities
  3. Very friendly staff

Any top tips for future art groups coming to St Ives?

Plan the trip so that every moment is used; also give students free time to explore the town and beaches.

Oh, and book early!

School art trips to St Ives

Thanks so much Sarah for answering those questions and if you’re interested in enquiring about a school art trip to St Ives please get in touch with us, either by email, phone on 01736 791664 or just fill in the form below:

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