Taking the stress out of school trips
School Travel Forum members organise over 16,000 school trips each year. Chief Exec, Gill Harvey, shares her top tips for tackling school trip stress
School trips demand more than financial investment from parents, they require the outlay of teachers’ time and energy to carefully plan every aspect from start to finish. The idea of travelling overseas with 40 or more pupils is daunting, especially for newly qualified teachers, but fortunately there are nationally recognised schemes, such as the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge, that make the planning process much easier.
The thought of their child leaving home for a number of days and travelling overseas can spike anxiety for many parents. The need for careful and thorough planning and clear communication, from the start of the booking process to the moment the tour party returns home, can go a long way to relieving parental concerns. STF members offer help with communicating with parents and provide the reassurance of 24-hour emergency help when overseas.
Parents also benefit from peace of mind knowing that their child is travelling with an accredited provider and are also assured of a return on their investment, as the educational value of the trip is a priority.
Assuring health and safety credentials
Without being dramatic, fears of legal action and unfortunate events whilst on school trips can be a real barrier to preventing buy-in from schools and parents alike when school trips have been proposed. That’s why it is so important to ensure that the chosen tour operator acknowledges the importance of maintaining health and safety standards, and goes above and beyond their duty of care. Schools should always demand transparency with regards to their chosen provider’s health and safety credentials.
It has never been more important for schools to have 24/7 expert support in today’s changeable global travel climate. In the unlikely event of an emergency, it’s reassuring for teachers to know that should an incident happen, they have round-the-clock access to the resources, expert knowledge and support of their provider.
Lessening the paperwork burden
As the national awarding body of the LOtC Quality Badge, the STF ensures that each holder has passed a stringent assessment process designed to ensure that they are meeting schools’ learning and risk management needs. This takes an immense amount of pressure off teachers, reduces paperwork demands and helps teachers to identify opportunities for learning to help make the visit a positive and rewarding experience for teachers and pupils alike.
With the average school trip representing an investment of over £20,000, the possibility of a school travel provider going bankrupt is a worrying prospect for schools. Parents who may have budgeted for months could be left severely out of pocket and students would face disappointment.
All STF Assured Members are required to work so clients benefit from the protection of the Package Travel Regulations and, additionally, they must be members of approved schemes ensuring fair trading and full financial security, providing invaluable peace of mind to teachers and parents.
For further information, visit www.schooltravelforum.com.