Chester Race Company has organised a record eight school visits at Bangor-on-Dee and Chester Racecourses as part of the educational programme and charity Racing to School.
Racing to School, which leads the Racing Together initiative, the community arm of the British Horseracing Authority, offers school children and students a free behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of a racecourse on race day, 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 among 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.”
More than 200 pupils from local schools have visited 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 race day 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 in Saltney Andrew Johnson said: “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.”
The first Chester visit of the season during the Boodles May Festival made TV coverage as part of the ITV broadcast.
Charity coordinator at Chester Race Company Jeannie Chantler has pledged to honour additional visits for this fantastic initiative in 2018: “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.”