Pupils from Glaitness Primary School in Orkney become junior guides at Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces as part of Historic Scotland’s Junior Tour Guide scheme

Pupils from Glaitness Primary School in Orkney stepped back in time this week to become junior guides at Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces.

EDINBURGH, 2015-4-20 — /Travel PR News/ — The Primary Six class have been training for the past few months to provide guided tours for visiting pupils from all over Scotland as part of Historic Scotland’s Junior Tour Guide scheme. Dressed in historical costume as characters from the building’s past, they will now bring the history of the building to life for their peers.

The Junior Tour Guide scheme has been running at the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces since 2010, but this year for the first time some Orcadian Scots phrases have been included in the script. Pupils spent their spring term learning all about Kirkwall’s history, as well as learning over 50 words of Orcadian Scots with support from the school and Education Scotland. They were also trained in tour guiding and drama by  Illuminate UK in readiness for their first tour on Friday 17th April.

A joint project between Historic Scotland, Illuminate UK, Education Scotland and staff from Glaitness Primary School, the junior guides scheme aims to support teachers in implementing Curriculum for Excellence, and to increase community involvement and ownership.

Sylvie Clarke, Learning Development Officer for Historic Scotland said:

“It has been great to watch the pupils become enthusiastic and knowledgeable experts of the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces.  Translating sections of the script into Orcadian has encouraged the pupils to explore their local language as well as the history of their local site. It was amazing to see how quickly they learned their lines, and to watch their confidence grow as they did so.  The quality and enthusiasm of the guides is testament to their hard work over the weeks of training as well as that of their teacher, Mrs McRae.”

Anne McRae of Glaitness Primary School said:

“The children were really excited about giving their first tour, and the scheme is great for them because it covers so many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence. They’ve covered drama, speaking in front of an audience, history, art and even letter writing as they invite other schools to their tours.  It’s also a wonderful way of giving something back to the community, of connecting them with their heritage by learning the history of Kirkwall – and of course the local dialect.”

Karen McKenzie from Illuminate UK said:

“The children from Glaitness Primary School approach the project each year with such verve, energy and enthusiasm – they make some of the best Junior Tour Guides in Scotland. In costume and character as the people who would have lived and worked in these wonderful buildings, their tours are informative, fun and entertaining.

“This year the project has been lifted to a whole new level with the addition of the Orcadian language. We’ve created a script which feels authentic and vibrant – it was a joy to hear the children read it for the first time.  They are taking away valuable life and work skills like presentation skills and working as part of a team, and they will remember this wonderful experience for years to come.”

Simon Hall, Scots Language Co-ordinator for Education Scotland, added:

“Education Scotland have been working to promote the Scots language in schools and when we heard about the Junior Tour Guide scheme we knew it was the ideal project to do this.  Scots would have been spoken in Renaissance Orkney by the earls and staff who the pupils play in their tour.

“Many learners will hear Scots at home and in the community, and although we teach modern Orcadian Scots there is still a lot of residual older Scots around in Orkney.  Going into the classroom and hearing how well the children had taken to the language was fantastic.”

The Junior Tour Guides gave their first tour of the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palace on Friday the 17th April.

The pupils will be offering tours to other school groups during term times in 2015 and 2016. For more information and to book, visit the Learning Section of our website www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/junior-guides

Notes to editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.
  • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success. Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism. A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat. To find out more visit www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland.

Follow Historic Scotland:

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For further information
Iona Matheson, Communications Manager
Historic Scotland Media Office
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858


Pupils from Glaitness Primary School in Orkney become junior guides at Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces as part of Historic Scotland’s Junior Tour Guide scheme

Pupils from Glaitness Primary School in Orkney become junior guides at Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces as part of Historic Scotland’s Junior Tour Guide scheme