Education Centre (School Visits)

sandford award logo

Conference 2011 flyerPost-16 Conference (KS5)

Held annually in the autumn term, this event is chance for your students to engage in a lively, stimulating debate with a panel of esteemed speakers from a variety of different backgrounds. The conference is based on the format of the BBC’s Question Time programme and gives students the opportunity to pose their own ethical, political and global questions.
Please contact the Education Officer for details of our next conference.

We hope that you will find a trail or workshop that your class will enjoy and will give them the opportunity to experience the Cathedral which has been a centre of community and worship for nearly a thousand years.



Workshops are practical activities that are designed to complement the trails and to give the pupils the opportunity to make something which they can take home with them, or something that could be used for follow-up work at school.
The workshops take place in the Education Centre and last for approximately 75 minutes. Pupils generally work as a whole class for the activities and all equipment is provided.

Workshops we offer include:

The Hot Seat (RE, English)

Students have the opportunity to ‘interview’ a member of the clergy on a range of moral and ethical issues.  This activity can be combined with a short trail in the Cathedral to form a half-day session with us or can be booked as a session in its own right.

Illuminated Manuscripts

How were books produced in the days before the printing press? How did people write with feathers?

Pupils are invited to write with quill pens and prepare their own quarto and octavo books. They also have the opportunity to produce their own inks and piece of illuminated manuscript.

200 Years of Poverty and Wealth in Southwark (KS3/4)

How would you define poverty? How would you define wealth? Is it having a big house, a big car, a well-paid job, regular holidays and an ever-changing wardrobe of clothes? Or is it having a permanent address, accommodation of more than one room and a bathroom?

The answer will differ depending on your own experience, but what is true is that extremes of poverty and wealth co-exist, and though we are one society this is one of the factors that can divide us.

The division of rich and poor has always been with us, and by focusing on Christianity pupils will be given the opportunity to explore the inequality of wealth in Southwark over two centuries and to examine the response of religion. In addition, students will have the time to reflect on:

'The acceptability or otherwise of the inequality of wealth and a religious response to the issue of poverty and wealth, acknowledging the needs of others.'

A variety of different resources will be used including Charles Booth's Map of London Poverty, and guest speakers from charities such as the Manna Centre and CRISIS will speak about their work with those in our society who are in need today.


Photo of Reformation trail

Trails are themed tours which take place in the Cathedral. Pupils are involved by the use of questioning, role play and costume. The trails last for approximately 75 minutes and generally relate to events in the Cathedral's rich history.

The trails we offer are:


The Cathedral as a Place of Worship (RE KS3)

This trail focuses on the stories buildings can tell us and affords young people the opportunity to discuss some of life's important issues. e.g. should people's beliefs influence the way they live? Why does music have such an effect on us?

Dissolution of a Priory (History KS3)

How were people affected by the changes in the church instigated by Henry VIII? What were the long term effects of these changes? Did these changes amount to progress and was this progress for all or just a few?

Pupils have an opportunity to gain an insight in to the life of the Priory before Henry VIII's commissioners begin their investigations of religious houses.

Using source material and role play they take on the role of one of the Canons and construct their own argument for why the Priory should escape dissolution.

Signs and Symbols (RE KS3/4)

What should a first time visitor to a Cathedral find out during their visit? Why is a Cathedral an important building? Who is it important to?

In this activity pupils discover the Cathedral with a focus on the history of the building, the style of worship used and the furniture and the symbolism contained within it. This trail can be adapted to specific exam specifications. Please contact the Education Officer for more information.

Art and Architecture (History, Art and Design KS4/5)

Often referred to as the ‘oldest gothic church in London’, students will have the opportunity to explore the varied history and architectural styles which have contributed over the centuries to make the Cathedral a place of religious and historical importance.  Easily adapted to suit individual class requirements, please contact the Education Officer for more information

Literary  (English KS4/5)

Many well known writers including Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens and Goldsmith have been associated with and inspired by the Cathedral and surrounding area.  What was it about the place that they appreciated?  How can our surroundings prompt us to be creative?  Students discuss excerpts from the work of some of these and lesser known writers which can be used as staring points for work in school. Easily adapted to suit individual class requirements, please contact the Education Officer for more information

Faith in Art (RE, Art KS3/4)

The Cathedral has inspired and is home to many wonderful works of art. This trail gives pupils the opportunity to study a variety of visual art forms in the Cathedral and consider the faith which helped stimulate these, giving them an understanding of how such art was made and why.

Discovering the Bible (RE KS3/4)

Why is the Bible important to Christians? How is the Bible used in public and private worship? This trail will explore the variety of literature in the Bible and consider how it is used by Christians

Cathedral Life (RE KS4)

The design, features and artefacts of the Cathedral are inherent to its
meaning. Students will consider forms of worship, Christian symbolism
and the role of people within the Cathedral community to gain insight
into Cathedral life.

We will tailor-make this trail to suit your exam specification/study unit. Please let us know what you would like to focus on and we will plan your visit accordingly.

Stained Glass (RE and Art KS4)

Stained glass is one of the most immediately exciting features of a
church or cathedral, but it is more than just coloured glass. This trail
explores the stories behind the windows and the methods in which they
were made. What were the artists and those who commissioned them
expressing through their work? This trail also offers students the chance
to participate in a range of sketching, drawing and recording exercises.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact the Education Officer who will be happy to discuss tailor-making an activity for you.

Geography & Science Investigations

What is Southwark Cathedral made of? How does it affect its environment? How does the environment affect it?

Pupils use observational skills to perform map work and assess how the Cathedral has changed over the centuries. They then undertake surveys of the Cathedral surroundings today considering how it might change further and how we can prevent negative change. There is the chance to look at building materials and perform experiments to see how those materials would react to adverse weather conditions. The skills used on the day could then be taken back to school and applied to the school environment.

What effect does a bus have on the Cathedral?

Through surveys and experiments, pupils can analyse the evidence and draw their own conclusions about how people can improve or damage the environment.