Saturday, 5 April 2014

Spring has Definitely Sprung

We made a concious decision not to visit schools in January and February this year as our experiences last year were cold, wet and miserable for bus and team alike. However we compromised and visited Whitstable Junior School in February as it was a return to our very first school, three years ago.

The bus spent some time in the workshop prior to a busy March schedule. However no sooner had it left then it was waylaid by a series of mechanical issues. A puncture was easy to deal with, but the starter motor misbehaved and a series of fuel leaks meant that a three school trip to London had to be postponed for a few weeks.

Following a retrurn to the excellent and hospitable Hythe Bay School we undertook a couple of visits to Secondary Schools. With changes in the curriculum looming it is time to adapt and expand our operations. Our approach in Secondary Schools is very different and we were grateful for a two day visit to Homewood School, Tenterden followed by a day at Hartsdown Academey Margate. The staff at both schools were very encouraging and left the following glowing feedback:

"I just wanted to say a big thank you to you both for working so hard during the two days you were at Homewood. All the students I have talked to were extremely positive about their experience and they particularly enjoyed their time in the air raid shelter despite some of them saying that they were scared. I think that can only do them good and I am sure that this will help no end with their topic this term on WW2 and the Home Front. For us the days worked really well in the main and although there were a large number of students to see I think they all benefited".
Phil, Homewood School

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for bringing the Home Front Bus to Hartsdown Academy. Your visit was popular with and, welcomed by staff and students alike.

Our students were enthralled, exploring the bus and finding out more about the history that you delivered to our doorstep.

The visit formed part of our Literacy Festival which this year has a theme of war and peace, focussing on conflicts across the decades and their resolution.
The Home front Bus is a fantastic way for students to enhance their learning. The detail is fabulous right down to the ration books and the flying duck ornaments on the wall in the front room. It really is history brought to life.
Your team’s knowledge and enthusiasm kept the students engaged during their time on the bus, I have been asked on repeat occasions “When will the bus be back?”
Administration and communication prior to your visit were clear, timings on the day were punctual, and I felt all considerations had been made and catered for regarding our safety and wellbeing.
I would be pleased to recommend the service you provided, and I look forward to arranging similar visits from you in the future."
Steve Bradshaw, Hartsdown Academy.

There was another welcome return to St Stephen's School Cnaterbury before the bus finally headed to wards London for the three schools postponed from earlier in the month.  These were In Snaresbrook, Grays and Bow.  It was great to have Neil Newman from Grasmere Photo Solutions with us to capture some great images:

Next stop for the bus is The Naval Firepower Museum, Gosport.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

End of Year Update

Having neglected this Blog for far too long it is time for an end of year update. In the Summer the bus was busy at events.  It spent some time at IWM, Duxford, first for a schools week and then stayed on for the Flying Legends Air Show.

Following this it returned to the War & Peace Revival at its new home of Folkestone Racecourse where it worked for five days alongside another bus from our depot, the HOPE Bus.

Next the bus returned to Maidstone Museum for a successful 2 day visit in early August.  In the autumn we found a new home from home for the bus in West Kingsdown, near Brands Hatch.  This allowed us to visit a whole host of schools in North Kent and Greater London more cost effectively.  There the bus suffered a rare breakdown.  The water pump failed and as replacements for such an old bus don't sit on the shelf it had to be removed and reconditioned.  Fortunately this didn't interfere with any school bookings.

Fifteen schools were visited during the autumn and when all was done a map was created to show the location of the schools and events visited over the last three years.  Many of them have been visited two or three times.

Looking forward to a busy 2014.  Have a great holiday.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Creative Learning

Home Front Bus has always been about Creative Learning. Come and see us at the #CreativeLearning Showcase at Detling Hill Showground on 6 June.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Two East Kent Schools

This week we were pleased to host two local schools.  Firstly 11 pupils from Highview School, Folkestone visited the bus at Dover Transport Museum and had a great time.  Home Front Bus struggles with some forms of modernity and this includes cars.  When my newer Euro Box car proved unreliable I was able to dig out my reliable 1972 Volvo to get to Dover, which also proved popular with some of the pupils.

The staff of Highview kindly left the following comment in our Visitor Book:

"Super visit - brought our classroom learning to life.  Sensory effects brilliant."

Our second visit was to St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Deal.  They opted for our Church Rations package for just one class of very enthusiastic and well informed Year 5 Students.  Their teacher kindly wrote the following in our Visitor Book:

"We had an absolutely fantastic time.  It really brought it to life for the children - and adults!  Thank you so much."

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Maidstone Museum

The excellent and creative Maidstone Museum invited Home Front Bus for a Half Term visit.  Despite the extreme cold and wintry showers the crowds turned out and kept us all very busy.  I drew the short straw and stood outside whilst Paul remained warm in the Bombed Out Street.  A team of enthusiastic Learning Assistants manned the lower deck and quickly felt at home.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Making Movies

The Home Front Bus was employed today as a set for a film promoting the work of Kent Children's University .  The film was made by The Pauline Quirke Academy and once finished we will provide a link so everyone can enjoy the film.

The film centred on Riley, a young lad who dreams of some of the exciting things children can see and do in Kent, including the Home Front Bus.  Riley survived the dangers of the Bombed Out Street, but only just.  His make up was provided by Kate Griffiths .

Friday, 15 February 2013


The Home Front Bus had a rare and enjoyable day out in Essex this week.  We were hosted by Grange Primary School, Wickford where 90 Years 3 & 4 pupils experienced the bus.  Also rare was a fine February afternoon, which enabled the pupils to spend time sketching outside the bus and to visit our Gift Stand.

We also welcomed Neil Newman to our team who gave an excellent and enthusiastic debut in the Air Raid Shelter. 

Many thanks to staff from Grange Primary School for their hospitality and comments in our Visitor Book.

"Thank you so very much for a wonderful, nostalgic day which I'm sure the children will remember.  True Living History!"
Jackie Carr, Grange Primary School

"A truly magical and moving experience.  The children will remember forever."
Natasha Warnes, Grange Primary School