Friday, 30 November 2012

Plenty of Provision

We are grateful for the provision of plenty of schools requiring a visit from Home Front Bus over the last couple of months and for extra help to cover for those who had colds.

We are now looking forward to an equally busy 2013, so please contact us soon to book a date for your school.  In the meantime the bus is due some tlc to refresh its appearance and to keep it going into next year.

Our last school of the month was St Saviour's in Westgate-on-Sea who left the following comment in our Visitor Book:

"The children and staff have thoroughly enjoyed the day and have learnt so much from the experience."
St Saviour's School, Westgate-on-Sea

Friday, 23 November 2012

Two Firsts

Home Front Bus continues to be in the midst of a very busy period with recent visits to Christ Church School, Folkestone, Swalecliffe Primary and Blean Primary.

We have also celebrated two first time events:

Our first ever visit to an Infant School went so well that they immediately booked again for next year. Many thanks to Madginford Park Infant School, Bearsted and apologies for leaking diesel on your playground.

We also welcomed Alison Short onto our team who looked magnificent.  Alison is a highly gifted and experienced Infant School teacher and proved to be a great asset to the team.  

Friday, 26 October 2012

New Schools & Old

We have enjoyed five great school visits over the last eight school days, three of which were repeat visits.  This has left our multi-genertaional team both encouraged and exhausted.  We also welcomed two new workers to the team who both enjoyed themselves and did an excellent job. Well done to Alison Short and Aidan Fudge.

The Schools visited were:
  • Harbour School - Dover
  • Boughton under Blean & Dunkirk Primary School
  • Roding Primary School - Woodford
  • Hayes Primary School
  • Staplehurst Primary School

The comments below were written in our famous Visitor Book by one new school and one we were visiting for the second time:

"Absolutely wonderful.  A very authentic feel (especially the realistic smells!)  We loved the first (hand) accounts from Ed & Jenny and Norman's scary ARP Warden.  Very enjoyable. Thank you"
Staplehurst School

"Second year running at Hayes and still just as fantastic.  The children were so excited and were not disappointed.  Such a great way for the children to become fully involved in WW2 and learn so much in such an original and interactive way!  Thank you so much".
Hayes Primary

We are now looking forward to seven more school visits in November.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Rochester Airport Family Fun

A great day enjoying excellnet weather at Rochester Airport at an event superbly hosted by South East Coachworks.

The Home Front Bus was parked alongside the ex Malta bus, which recently toured the UK with the Olympic Torch.

The Burnett family were out in force and several took the opportunity of a flight around the airfield.  Amy took a great, if a bit blurry photo of the event from the sky.

Jenny looked great once again in her 1940's kit with Angela in contemporary mode.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Back to School in Egerton

An excellent and encouraging first day back in schools. Many thanks to Egerton Primary School for the writing the following in our visitor book:

"What an inspiring way to start a new year! Children and adults were fascinated, interested and have now become historians! Your enthusiasm and knowledge were infectious and have left us ready to learn even more. Thank you!"

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Church Choice for Chilham

Chilham St Mary's COE Primary School was the first school to opt for the Home Front Bus accompanied by a team from South Kent Community Church .  The venue was the magnificent Chilham Village Hall as the school was too well tucked away in the ancient village to be reached by a big double decker bus. 

The whole school paid a visit and at the end the day gifted us with the biggest thank you card we have ever received, superbly modelled by the beautiful Jenny.

Many thanks to Chilham School for being such fantastic hosts and for writing the following comment in our Visitor Book:

"The children thoroughly enjoyed their 'hands on' history experience.  We particularly enjoyed the fact that all senses were involved in the experience.  All of our children, ranging from 4-11 years old came back to class full of enthusiasm and questions.  A fantastic resource.  Thank you very much."
Mrs J. Willis, Chhilham St Mary's CEP School

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Folkestone School for Girls

An excellent morning with a select band of Year 8 pupils from Folkestone School for Girls.  All the pupils and staff entered in and a great time was had by all.  Check out this weeks Folkestone Herald for pictures.

"A brilliant session.  Very informative and the girls learnt a massive amount.  It was a great opportunity for students to witness the experiences and see items first hand."
Mr Weller, Folkestone School for Girls 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Flying Legends and a Legandary Bus

Fantastic weekend at Flying Legends, Duxford.  Home Front Bus fitted right in at the vintage Village and even appeared on TV.  Follow the link to see a tour of the bus on ITV News, Anglia Tonight .

Lots of planes and lots of people who left a record 35 positive comments in our Visitor Book.  Thanks also to Winston (aka Allan) for dropping in!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Keeping Busy

Home Front Bus has been keeping very busy over the last week.  First we visited the tiny but excellent Petham School near Canterbury.  Actually we couldn't quite get there due to low overhanging trees, but parked instead in the local village hall just 200 yards down the road.  We are running out of reasons to say 'no' to schools that want a visit from Home Front Bus and are discovering that we can always find a way and a price option to make a visit possible.

Next we made a return visit to Eridge at the southern end of the Spa Valley Railway.  We enjoyed better weather and more attractions then at the same event last year and consequently there were more visitors to enjoy a trip back in time.  Ed, Jenny and I enjoyed a fish & chip supper whilst riding on the line on Saturday night.  Thanks to Terry and his team for being such great hosts once again.

Whilst there the bus suffered from quite a severe fuel leak, which was cured with the help of the owners of the splendid old fire engine pictured above.  Thanks also to Richard of Brookline Coaches who allowed us to park the bus in thier yard whilst in the mid Kent area.

After a day off the bus went back to Manor Oak School in St Mary's Cray.  It has been a year since our last visit and Ed and I were delighted and greatly encouraged by how much information pupils had remembered from our last visit.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Deluge

Not only did we have a deluge of rain over the Diamond Jubilee weekend but Home Front Bus also had a deluge of visitors.

It all started at Christ Church School, Folkestone on Friday 1st June for a special Jubilee party, also including pupils from St Eanswythe's School.  During the course of the day over 400 pupils visited to bus to get a taster of what life was like during WW2.  This is a record number for us made all the more notable as there was just two of us on duty.  We hope to return to give years 5 & 6 a more detailed view within the next year.

On Saturday we visited the Dover Tattoo for a very busy and enjoyable day where even the sun came out to burn my nose and arms for a while in the afternoon.  Here we were interviewed live by BBC Radio Kent and gave listeners a chance to hear a short verbal tour of the bus.

On Sunday we were at Hamstreet Country Show, where it rained for most of the day.  This didn't deter a steady stream of visitors who brought with them half the grass from the field, which was regularly carried out by the handful throughout the day.  It is a shame that this was the second year running that it has rained at this event as the organisers are a stoic and enthusiastic bunch who are worthy of a bit of sunshine as a reward for their efforts.

Monday - zzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZ followed by a BBQ.

On Tuesday 5th June we visited the Music in the Park Festival in Staplehurst.  The rain held off until mid afternoon and then decided to stick around for the rest of day.  A hardy bunch of locals were not deterred and brought their wellies and umbrella's to enjoy the music.  The best place to be however was the warm and dry of the Home Front Bus.

Special mention should be made of the whole Burnett family who helped out in Staplehurst and took turns to take refuge in the cab during the rain.

Also Paul who did a sterling job as our shop keeper for three of the four days of the busy weekend.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Brook Community Primary School

Ed and I were treated to a very warm welcome for our day at Brook Community School.  I must admit that I was bit concerned about reaching the school down the narrow lanes and overhanging trees, but in the end the only real concern during the day was staying cool in the extremely hot weather.  The best place to be by far was the Air Raid Shelter where the air conditioning was working overtime.

We were so busy that I forgot to take a photo until all the children had gone home and we were getting ready to leave.  Thanks to all at the school and the fabulous PTA for hosting us.  Thanks also for the following comments left in our visitor book by the Head Teacher:

"The children aged 5-11 all had a wonderful time.  The two people on the bus managed to make the day hugely successful for the whole age range and were thoroughly professional.  They kept even the youngest engaged for the best part of an hour.  Excellent value for money - service with a smile".

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Learning Plus Expo

The much heralded Learning Plus Expo has been and gone.  Many thanks to Emma and her team for putting on a very polished show.  We enjoyed showing many teachers, head teachers, governors, civil servants and many others around the bus.  Several schools booked a visit and many more are pondering matters so time will tell how much fruit we will yield.

Inside the exhibition we shared a display stand with Dover Transport Museum with whom we can now offer a joint programme to schools. 

Lastly, the bus has often been compared to the TARDIS as it appears to be bigger on the inside than the outside.  This aspect took a new twist when we discovered Angela from Tudor times knitting in our living room!!!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Faversham Transport Weekend

Another great few days at the Faversham Transport Weekend. The first annual event we have visited twice. Thanks to all at South East Coackworks for being such excellent and kind hosts.

The bus has remained in Faversham to have a few minor battle scars patched up.  Next stop Learning Expo at Detling on Thursday.

Friday, 18 May 2012

2012 Learning Plus EXPO

Home Front Bus will be returning to Detling for the 2012 Learning Plus EXPO
Dateils pinched from the organisers publicity is as follows:

Subject Area: Cross Curricular Development, Evaluation &...*

Target Audiences: All School Staff

Key Stage: Foundation, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5, 14-19/24

Course Code: SCH 12/915

Date: Thursday 24 May 2012

Time: 10:00 - 17:00

Venue and Location: The Clive Emson Conference Centre

Course Director: Sean Carter
Event Summary:
The 2012 Learning Plus EXPO comes to Kent in a new era for education and childrens services. For the last three years, Learning Plus has been working with External Providers, who offer high quality learning opportunities outside the normal curriculum time and with the recent announcement of Department for Education funding for transition activities as well as the introduction of the Pupil Premium, schools are looking for innovative ways to narrow attainment and achievement gaps. 2012...*

Training Objectives:
Schools will take away from the EXPO:

- New contacts from External Providers who could run activities and summer schools

- Bespoke school improvement materials

- Impact measure tools to support the monitoring of services provided outside normal curriculum time

- Innovative and creative ideas for supporting learning within the classroom

- Up to date information regarding safeguarding young people in out of school hours' activities, the Pupil Premium and Ofsted...*

We look forward to meeting you there.

Monday, 14 May 2012

A Very Sunny 1940's Weekend

At last some good weather and what better place to be then in the idylic surroundings of Sheffield Park Station on the Bluebell Railway.  The team were kept busy all weekend entertaining enthusiastic visitors, many in period costume.  Thanks to all at the Bluebell for being such great hosts.

Monday, 30 April 2012

A Very 1940's Wet Weekend

For once the bus stayed at home (Dover Transport Museum) and the 1940's event came to it.  The very wet conditions didn't dampen the enthusiasm and a good time was had by all.  Apologies to the museum when the bus was moved off the grass on Sunday morning leaving deep ploughed ruts in its wake and thanks to Dave for shovelling gravel under the wheels to help the wheels get a grip.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Cab Makeover Finally Complete

Last autumn I thought that it would be a good idea to give the driver's cab a makeover.  Work started and stopped when it got cold, but I am pleased to say that it is now finished and I do not miss being contorted in such tight confines.

The next few months will be very busy with events.  Please check out our website to find out where we will be and when.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Out of Hibernation

It was great to dust down the bus and bring it out of a 8 week hibernation in a barn.

We started with a superb day at Greatstone Primary School, made all the more enjoyable by excellent hospitality and extremely switched on pupils.

“All the children (90 of them) have enjoyed your bus and will remember all the wonderful facts forever! Thank you and thanks to all your wonderful helpers”

Greatstone Primary School

Next the bus visited the Heritage Vehicle Show at Detling.  We didn't open up the bus to the public but simply showed it off.  All very self indulgent, but the occasion celebrated the 100th anniversary of AEC who built the bus and another anniversary of East Kent who operated it.

Lastly we made our first visit of the year to The Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne.  The sun shone and plenty of children enjoyed making Airfix Spitfires in a specially erected tent.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cold Starts

Our old bus lacks any of the engine warming luxuries of modern vehicles and as such is even more reluctant to get going on cold winter mornings than I am.  A 6.00am start in sub zero temperatures is therefore quite a challenge for both man and machine.  However Crosskeys Coaches kindly fully charged our heavy duty batteries and with the aid of a tin of Easy Start the old girl stirred into life for its journey to Pembury.  Crosskeys have just completed a full mechanical inspection of the bus and I am pleased to say that the fault list was very simple and very short.  Please don't tell the bus purists but they did fit some new high power halogen headlamps to give the bus a bright modern beam to see by.

Another quirk of the old bus is that the engine never seems to warm up and therefore never supplies hot air to the cab heater, so by the time it reached Pembury I was in need of the cup of tea kindly supplied by the caretaker of Oakley School.

Once the bus's on board heaters kicked in our day with the staff and pupils of Oakley School was a real delight.  There was a wide range of learning difficulties amongst the pupils but everyone came on board, enjoyed the experience and left with a greater understanding of what life was like on the Home Front during WW2.

 "A wonderful day and we're so grateful that all of our pupils were able to visit the bus - not just the ones currently studying WW2.  Would recomend to all schools.  Thank you so much!"
Oakley School

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Folkestone Firsts

An excellent time was had by all at Folkestone Academy where all the Year 8 students entered into the spirit of the day.  Not only was this our first visit to a school in our home town of Folkestone, it was also our first booking with a Secondary School.  An additional first was the extremely cold temperature with sleet showers falling throughout the day.  However the on board heaters worked well to keep both team and visitors warm and comfortable.

"What a wonderful day our students had.  Year 8 are not always easy to entertain and all the students were totally absorbed by your tales and artefacts.  We look forward to next year."
Folkestone Academy

Friday, 20 January 2012

A Very Encouraging Day

A very encouraging day for Home Front Bus started when the postman delivered a package containing 10 fantastic thank you letters from pupils at Churchill School, Westerham.

Next I read three positive newspaper reports about our visits to schools in Kent and East London.


Lastly we confirmed half a dozen bookings for various events, which have been listed on our website Home Page.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sellindge Proves That Size Is No Barrier

Sellindge Primary School is probably the smallest school so far to receive a visit from Home Front Bus.  This meant that every pupil from Reception to Year 6 came on board during the course of the day and a great time was had by all.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Up Early For School

Our first school visit for 2012 was an excellent day in Reculver.  We always aim to set up at a school before the pupils arrive and in January that means it is still dark.  However I was grateful for the unseasonably mild weather and the spectacular sunrise that greeted us in Reculver. 
Many thanks to all at Reculver CoE Primary School for hosting us and for their kind comments in our Visitor Book.

"Fantastic day - The children (+ adults) thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt and experienced so much.  Brilliant!.  Thank you so much."