• Corinne Yeadon

School Trips

My granddaughter will shortly be heading off to Barcelona on a school trip. Many schools not only run European trips but offer far flung destinations that would be considered as a “holiday of a lifetime.” What ever happened to day trips to Bradford Industrial Museum or Harewood Bird Garden? I have (not so) fond memories of a school trip to Bolton Abbey resulting in me returning home resembling a Belisha Beacon with horrific sunstroke. Harm from the sun was definitely not on the radar in the mid 1970’s.

Any trips abroad were restricted to exchange trips, granted this this was back in the day before risk assessments and DBS checks. I have to say these trips never appealed.

My daughter went to a faith based school which meant pilgrimages to Lourdes and Croagh Patrick. There were also the afore mentioned trips to water parks in Spain, Ski trips and Media & Art trips to New York. I appreciate the value in subject based trips to enhance learning but we have Media City in Salford and Alton Towers at significantly less cost.

School trips come with a premium price tag, which is understandable and include hidden costs such as insurance and staffing. However, as is often the case, many children are excluded as a result. In some case’s arrangements can be made with the school for financial assistance, which can be a difficult thing for parents to ask for, let alone accept.

In my middle school there was a trip to Holland which my mum as a single self employed parent could ill afford. I was absolutely desperate to go, but also knew it was a non starter. The art teacher kindly contacted my mum and made an arrangement for her to pay as and when she could afford an instalment. On the day deposits were due he instructed my mum to send in a sealed envelope with blank pieces of paper in, in order to spare me being singled out. Such kindness and consideration is priceless. Mind you I imagine he deeply regretted this gesture as on the trip I was hauled out of The Van Gogh Museum by security for touching, “The Potato Eaters” as a ‘dare’ and triggering the alarms.

As a parent, it is usual to not want your child to miss out on opportunities or be excluded, there exists pressure to sign up to these trips but can mean a family holiday is out of the question or getting into debt to fund it. It is hard to assert refusal skills and avoid guilt when your child is pleading because their friends are going.

There may be feelings of disgruntlement in the build up to a school trip if going is not a possibility but it passes relatively quickly. The reality of a school trip is squabbling, homesickness and the obligatory vomity kid.

Children enjoy time with friends whatever the setting. Fond memories can be made camping, having a BBQ, sleepover or a trip out in this country.

I have yet to meet an adult in therapy claiming all issues stemmed from missing out on a school trip to the Loire Valley.

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