>> Mar 8, 2013
An article looking at the importance of school trips and tours, their educational and social value and what to take into account when planning these trips.
The way children learn is complex and very individual. While one child may thrive in a traditional classroom environment, another may get bored and restless within minutes. Give a child a practical experiment to do and they will love it, but sit them down for a written test and they struggle, while their counterpart will flourish in the latter and flounder in the former. But one place which almost all children will enjoy their learning is on school tours or trips.
Health and safety are very important aspects of planning any school tours or trips involving children and young people. So you need to take a look at where you are staying and what type of activities the children will be taking part in so you can form a risk assessment.
It is really important that every child feels included in the trip, regardless of how old they are, their gender or if they have any particular special needs. Take a look at the group you are planning to take and make sure the appropriate adults will be with you too, eg the right gender balance, perhaps someone with first aid or medical training, as well as any learning mentors or special needs assistants.
Planning for all eventualities
You will also need to make sure you have the right insurance for all elements of your trip, depending upon where you are going and what activities you'll be taking part in. Don't forget, if you're going abroad the children will need to have up-to-date passports. You also need to make sure the trip will be financially viable the usual system here is to make sure you know exactly what the whole cost will be and to ask parents for a suitable deposit so don't book anything until you know you can get the right numbers.
Stay in touch
Keeping parents informed is vital. You will need to send them a comprehensive letter explaining every aspect of the trip, including what clothing the children need, who will be looking after them, any medical or dietary information, emergency contact details and transport and accommodation information.
It's a lot to take in and a lot to organise. But once you have all the finer details sorted, you will find a school trip can be a learning experience enjoyed by teachers and pupils alike.
Peter Smith is a retired head teacher who now shares his experience and expertise via a range of blogs, articles and websites. His specialist subject is school tours and trips.