Even for teachers with many years’ experience, the need to come up with original and inspiring school trip ideas can consume a lot of time in an already busy schedule. The pressure of creating an itinerary that is both educational and engaging is not easy and, when added to the task of putting all the organisational details in place, can seem like an overwhelming prospect.
For anyone charged with coming up with school trip ideas and the associated challenges, below is some expert advice from The School Travel Company, one of the UK's most respected providers of educational travel.
Establish the Basics
The first step to coming up with successful school trip ideas is to establish the parameters of age, group size, budget and desired learning outcomes (is it for fun or is it strictly for learning?). The premise of the excursion will first need to be approved by the Head Teacher, and it's also very helpful to confer with colleagues in order to gain a different perspective on a vision.
Prepare to Plan and Plan to Prepare
Every learning institution has strict guidelines in place to ensure any excursion is worthwhile, safe and falls within administrative and curriculum guidelines. All necessary forms and approvals must be in place, and it's a wise idea to cross check all aspects of the procedure with trusted colleagues.
Written consent should be obtained from the parents or guardians of every pupil, and the experts also suggest outlining the objectives and educational outcomes of the tour at the same time. A good way to ensure all the steps are worked through in a methodical fashion is to create a folder for each student, with the parental consent, dietary requirements, medical information and even aspects of behaviour that may be useful to remember.
Creating a packing list and an itinerary that can be shared with colleagues, participants and parents or guardians will save time, rather than getting bogged down in a mire of individual correspondence. While it may initially be time consuming, it saves both time and confusion in the long run.
Preparing Young Minds for the Experience
As well as taking care of the logistical details, pupils must be well prepared and given every opportunity to gain the most out of the experience. This involves introducing them to the upcoming educational outing within the confines of the classroom first. Establishing a connection with the subject matter and destination not only serves to pique their interest, but also creates a sense of community and excitement.
Engaging young hearts and minds can be achieved in a number of ways, including watching films and documentaries, downloading collateral or lesson plans from the Internet, inviting past participants to speak, discussing the itinerary with a focus on the ‘fun’ parts if the outing has a largely academic focus, and perhaps setting a competition in place regarding the spotting of certain landmarks or attractions.
Enlist the Experts
Finally, a tried and proven way to reduce the pressure of organising school based travel is to enlist the services of a specialised school tour operator. A reputable company can provide a wide range of school trip ideas and work to create a bespoke itinerary to suit a range of learning objectives. They'll also take care of the finer details to ensure the tour is a logistical success.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in UKstudytours for school and youth groups, as well as trips to destinations in Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveller, John is very passionate about providing students with valuable and engaging learning experiences outside of the classroom. By sharing his expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and bring their studies to life.