Education Visits & Group Leader Information

“Every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstance”

Learning outside the classroom manifesto 2009

The education team at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre offer a full range of NI Curriculum linked environmental education programmes delivered by our trained, knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff. Also available are a range of talks and guided walks for nursery schools and playgroups, community groups, adult groups, non-formal and uniformed organisations.

These programmes cater for students of all ages and abilities from primary to university level, and cover issues relating to the environment of Lough Neagh and Oxford Island.

The aim of these programmes are as follows:
• Raise awareness of the local and global environment and inspire action to protect them.
• Inform and educate young people and others about the importance of Lough Neagh and the natural environment of Oxford Island.

• Engage students in taking care of the environment and the role they have as positive agents of change within their school, at home and in their communities.

• Support schools and groups to develop a range of environmental projects and act as a conduit for information and a focus for practical help and advice.
Our emphasis is on seasonality, looking at the characteristics of the various habitats at specific times of the year. Many topics can be studied throughout the year; however, others are best suited to particular seasons, when certain plants and animals can be seen.


Outlined below is some useful information regarding group bookings for visits to the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre or an Outreach visit to a school or community group. We hope it will clarify the booking procedure and make your experience more enjoyable.

Please ensure that each teacher accompanying the group on the day is familiar with this information.

• For Children’s groups/schools (2 – 3 hours) – £4.00 per child
• For Children’s groups/schools (2 hours or less) – £3.00 per child

OUTREACH VISITS: April 2023 – March 2024
• Outreach visits to schools and groups are available between the months of November and March.
• Any education outreach visits which include additional materials, resources or building of outdoor classroom features such as willow domes, log pile benches, bird feeding stations, butterfly gardens etc. will be charged at cost.


Groups of 25 children or more are normally divided into smaller groups before the activities begin. It is essential that at least one teacher is with each group. Additional supervision can include classroom assistants and parents.

*PLEASE NOTE – Child discipline on the Nature Reserve remains the responsibility of the teachers AT ALL TIMES! Children must not be left unsupervised at any time.
Please ensure all children are aware of the Leave No Trace principles. A copy of which can be obtained from here –


All cancellations must be notified at least 2 days before the intended date of the visit. Schools failing to do this will be liable for 50% of the original booking.


All children should be suitably dressed for the visit. Warm clothing, waterproof coats and strong footwear are all recommended for visits and are essential during the winter months. Clipboards, pencils and worksheets can be provided.


Organisations have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that when they are given responsibility for children, they should provide them with the highest possible standard of care.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has developed its Child Protection Policy to meet three important objectives:
1. Ensuring that children’s safety is paramount
2. Creating the right atmosphere in its facilities which will allow rewarding and enjoyable activities to take place.
3. Increasing peace of mind for all concerned.

All of the Education Guides working at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre are fully vetted and checked in line with current Access NI policies. Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council’s Child Protection Policy is available upon request.


A risk assessment is an important tool as it helps to focus on those risks that have the potential to cause harm at any event or activity.

All of the activities carried out with schools and groups at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre are fully risk assessed. These assessments are reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Copies of the Risk Assessments for each activity are available to teachers and group leaders upon request.


Packed lunches can be eaten at the picnic tables close by. In the event of bad weather an arrangement can be made to facilitate the group indoors. We advocate a Waste Free Lunch-Box policy and would encourage groups to cut down on heavily packaged lunch items. (Please see below for further details on a promoting a Waste Free Lunch).

The centre has full disabled access to accommodate groups with special needs. Toilet facilities are available at the centre. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any other requirements or queries about your visit.

Lough Neagh Discovery Centre
Oxford Island National Nature Reserve
Annaloiste Road
BT66 6NJ

Telephone: 0300 030 0900 or 028 3832 2205

Waste Free Lunchbox Policy

The Lough Neagh Discovery Centre has a policy of trying to generate as little waste as possible through our on site recycling programme. With this in mind visiting school children are encouraged, as far as is practicable, to bring a waste free lunch box for their visit. This includes:
• Using refillable bottles or flasks rather than cans or cartons.
• Putting sandwiches in a reusable container rather than a plastic bag, cling film or foil wrapper.
• Avoiding food that have lots of packaging or that can’t be recycled.
• Bringing fruit or vegetables which are not only healthier but the left over cores and skins can be composted on site in our compost heap found in the wildlife garden.

To find out more about waste free lunch boxes and how to develop a waste free classroom including curriculum links and resources please download the waste free classroom pack from Eco Schools NI click:

To make a booking

To check availability or make a booking please contact a member of the education team on 0300 030 0900 or  028 3832 2205