Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions from teachers.

What do you offer for schools?

We cater for education visits from Early Years learners to A-level physics students.

If you want your learners to experience some of our interactive workshops as part of your visit, we have three packages to choose from:

  • Planet package: for Early Years and early KS1
  • Space package: for KS1 to post-16 – you choose which workshops you want to experience
  • Star package: for KS1 to post-16 – workshop choices are preset and delivered in a large space to two groups at the same time

Each of the above packages includes two interactive workshops, plus time to explore our exhibition areas, and a lunch slot in one of our indoor picnic areas.

If you want to explore our exhibitions, but do not want to experience any workshops, you can come on an exhibition-only visit.

How can I contact you?

You can contact our school bookings team on 0161 306 9520, or email us on jodrelleducation@manchester.ac.uk

Please note enquiries about availability and new bookings must be made by phone. This is because our programme is in very high demand and our availability is constantly changing.

Our phone lines are open 11am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 11am to 1pm on Fridays. We experience a high call volume, so it’s not always possible to call you back. Please keep trying!

Can we bring any adults free of charge?

All learners must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times whilst on site.

We do provide a certain number of free adult places for school bookings. This number will depend on the age of learners you are bringing:

Early Years 1 adult free for every 5 children
Key Stage 1 1 adult free for every 6 learners
Key Stage 2 1 adult free for every 7 learners
Key Stage 3 and above 1 adult free for every 10 students

Any adults required for SEN 1:1 support, or similar, are always admitted free of charge.

Any additional adults over this amount are charged at £5.50 each.

Do you have risk assessments I can download?

Sure! Please see our risk assessment page.

Teachers can also come for a free planning visit to assess the risks at the Discovery Centre before your trip. Simply show proof of employment (such as your staff card, or a school letterhead) at reception upon arrival.

What are the minimum and maximum numbers?

Package Age Minimum numbers Maximum numbers Typical availability**
Planet EY & early KS1 Minimum charge of 15 learners* 30 learners per group 2 groups per day
Space KS1 & KS2 Minimum charge of 15 learners* 35 learners per group 4 groups per day
KS3 and above Minimum charge of 15 learners* 30 learners per group
Star KS1 & KS2 Minimum charge of 15 learners* 35 learners per group 2 groups per day
KS3 and above Minimum number of 40 learners 30 learners per group
Exhibition only Any No minimum 40 people (adults + children) per group 1 or 2 groups per day
  • *There is no minimum size of group; however there is a minimum charge of 15 learners. That is, you are welcome to bring fewer than 15 learners, but please be aware you will be charged for 15. We are able to waive this rule for a limited number of SEN and PRU schools each year
  • **On some days our capacity may be reduced due to special events

How long is a visit at Jodrell Bank?

Itinerary times

Package Arrival Departure
Planet 10am 2:00pm (or later)
Space 10am 2:30pm (or later)
Star 10:15am 2:15pm (or later)

Exhibition-only visits

Exhibition only groups will not receive an itinerary, though we will book you a lunch slot in one of our indoor picnic areas. We recommend a 2 to 3 hour visit. The Centre is open from 10am to 5pm.

Can I check out the place before my trip?

Absolutely. We encourage teachers to come on a pre-visit planning trip, to familiarise themselves with the Discovery Centre and complete a risk assessment. Please bring proof of your booking (e.g. staff card, school letterhead, or a copy of your booking confirmation) and show it at reception upon arrival, to gain free entry to the site.

If coming solely for a planning trip, your car park ticket will be validated free of charge. If you are combining your planning trip with a general visit, the usual parking charge will still apply, as well as admission for any accompanying individuals (e.g. family members).

Is Jodrell Bank accessible for special needs?

The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre has been designed to be accessible to all. We try our best to meet all requirements, but if you have a query, please contact us.

For those with limited mobility and wheelchair users:

  • All our buildings are fully accessible
  • There are accessible toilet facilities available in all buildings
  • Our exhibitions and interactive displays cater for wheelchair users
  • Our schools workshops (including the Inflatable Planetarium) are fully accessible

For those who are deaf and hard of hearing:

  • Induction loops are fitted in exhibition and education spaces
  • All our video exhibits are subtitled

Will someone show us around on the day?

We do not offer tour guides as part of your day. Apart from any workshop sessions, your time around our exhibition areas will be self-guided.

However, our expert staff will be on hand in our galleries to provide assistance, and to answer any questions you and your learners may have.

We have also created a set of worksheets to help guide your group around our exhibitions. Please see our worksheets page. If you wish to use these, please print them out and bring them with you on the day.

Will there be an indoor space for lunch?

Yes. As part of your day we will schedule you a 30 minute lunch slot in one of our indoor picnic areas. Alternatively, you are welcome to use one of our outside picnic areas, if preferred.

Can we climb the Lovell telescope, or go into the Control Room?

Sorry, no. Visitors are not allowed into the observatory building or up the Lovell telescope. The observatory is a working environment and the Lovell telescope is in use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

What happens if some learners can't come on the day?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide refunds for learners who do not show up on the day.

Processing refund payments for schools is a time-consuming process. In order to provide an efficient service, and to keep costs for schools as low as possible, we are unable to issue refunds.

Please see our full terms and conditions.

Can I cancel, or make changes to my booking?

Changes to your booking, or cancellations, must be made at least 4 weeks before your visit. After that time, we reserve the right to charge the full cost of your visit.

This is to cover staffing costs and resources which will already have been booked and purchased.

Please see our full terms and conditions.

Do you offer outreach into schools?

At present we are only able to offer outreach to Secondary Schools who qualify for the University of Manchester’s Widening Participation Programme. For more information about this, please see our outreach page.

We currently do not deliver outreach to Primary Schools, however this is something we hope to be able to offer in the future.

What's a phone free zone?

Jodrell Bank is a live radio observatory. Mobile phones interfere with our radio telescopes, which are in use 24 hours a day. We therefore operate a radio-quiet policy and require that all visitors set their phones to flight mode, or switch them off.

During a visit:

  • Mobile phones must not be used on site for calls, texts, internet, Bluetooth, or other wireless communication, for any reason.
  • Mobile phones must not be left switched on, unless they are on flight mode.
  • If you may need to be contacted during the day, please give out our main reception line: 01477 571 766. Our staff will then relay the message to you.
  • If you need to make a call during your visit, you are welcome to use one of our landlines; simply ask a member of our staff.
  • You are welcome to use your mobile to take photos; provided it is set to flight mode.

Did you know: The Lovell telescope is so powerful, it could pick up a mobile phone signal on Mars!

Do you have a Learning Outside the Classroom Badge?