Friday, April 02, 2010

School Trips

I'm sure we all remember the school trips of our youth- fighting on the coach, shoplifting, watching the teachers sneak off to the pub; all those sort of life building experiences. The occasion was only slightly spoilt by the inevitable dull project to be written up afterwards.

This report claims that not enough school trips take place. I say the reasons for this are as follows:

Organising a trip is a tonne of hassle for which you will be paid not one extra penny. You will receive no reward if it goes well, but if something goes wrong you will face the Spanish Inquisition. There are endless pages of soul destroying risk assessments to be completed, consent forms to be sent out to parents who then have to be chased for a reply, payment to be collected inevitably in dribs and drabs, when you are busy doing something else and don't have any means of recording it, lazy parents to be chased up yet again, records of everything to be kept and filed, before setting work for all the classes that you will miss whilst away. I'm knackered already and we haven't even gone anywhere yet.

Whilst away you can worry yourself stupid that some child will cut their thumb or catch a cold and mummy will be running to the nearest 'no win, no fee' solicitor. Rest assured that on your return you will find that your classroom has been trashed because the person covering your lessons allowed the kids to run riot.


MarkUK said...

Sorry Framk, you are, or should be, wrong in one respect.

Risk assessments are necessary for trips but should not be multipage ordeals.

Has no one taken a trip to the same place before? If they have, use their risk assessment as a basis and just add in anything different that you're doing. If not, has anyone done something similar, so you can use that as a basis?

I'm a school H&S Officer. I am completely aware that a risk assessment can be a boring waste of time if the same kind of trip has been done before. The risks, and control measures, will be more or less the same on yours.

Just make sure you follow the control measures and add in any new risks that your batch of pupils discover!

Lilyofthefield said...

I disagree. There's always one tiny detail that requires the total rewrite. And when you have as many nutters as we have, quite often the host venue requires its own multi-page get-out-of-free justification on top of the standard variety.

Miss Brodie said...

Surely if you get the parents sign to let you take their kids on a trip, they accept any inherent risks? In France that's all we have to do ... and we're supposed to be the bureaucratic nation, not you! That being said, I agree with Frank Chalk that it's very hard to find a good reason to do a school trip!

Dack said...

I've done an Easter egg hunt with my tutor group every year (more for my amusement than theirs). They give me the cash, I buy a variety of eggs and come in early to hide/gaffer them in imaginative places, they scream and bash each other out of the way for like a minute max then eat themselves sick.

Management got wind of it this year and (as they don't speak to us directly) fed down the hierarchy that I could only go ahead if they 'searched for the eggs in slow motion' so no one 'was harmed'.

I put this to my tutor group. We decided to just do the last bit.

K`Tetch said...

I rmmeber in primary school, it was the weeks trip to Wales for the 3rd year (year 5?) to Colomendy, and up Moel Fammau (Anyone from Liverpool can tell you about it), and the occasional trip to Chester Zoo (and once, a poor trip to Southpoor zoo)

When I was in Secondary school, we had 'trips day' that was one day when everyone went on trips, just about. The vast majority (90% of students) went to Alton Towers (a fleet of 22 DD buses!) while other teachers could do their own little trips. One year I went to Hilbre island ( a little tidal-locked island on the Wirral Peninsular) where we went looking at seals, and crabbing. 3 teachers, 9 kids. I think it was better than Alton Towers. Another year, we got a trip down a salt mine in Lancashire, and another year I just stayed at school (where we basically had the run of it, could do anything, but only within reason. It was usually right after the exams, so there were no work to do after.

Ahh, memories!
(I'm now in the US, and my youngest is about to go on a school trip to the Atlanta Zoo. A lot more paperwork for the day trip there, than I ever remember for going to Chester Zoo, or even Colomendy. This is what happens when lawyers rule the world!

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Unknown said...

Oh joy! This sounds like a nightmare but there is something to be said for school trips UK and especially for any that go abroad. There is real merit in learning outside the classroom and though it takes a while to organise, it can be the spark that many students need.