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How School Trips Can Change The Way Students See The World

“You should get out more” is advice that rings especially true when addressing the subject of educational trips.  Fieldwork in particular is an essential part of geography and studying the subject without such trips has been likened to learning science without any experiments.

Henry Miller famously said that “one’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things” and a recent study of primary and secondary teachers undertaken by TUI Travel PLC’s Education Division backs this up.  Their results revealed that 99% of teachers agreed that children are more engaged when learning on a school trip versus classroom learning while 90% believe that these trips are a vital part of a child’s education.

School holidays are another ideal time for parents to encourage enquiring minds to look at the world around them with fresh eyes.  Adventure holidays are becoming an increasingly popular option for those keen to enjoy quality time together away from the daily routine while gaining a ‘little extra’ from their time away.

The key to keeping all ages stimulated throughout their travels and ensuring all the family come home revitalised by what they’ve seen and done is to combine must-see highlights with other memorable experiences.  While many African adventures provide the chance to camp in the heart of the action to minimise travel times and maximise viewing opportunities, look out for holidays which provide interactive angles to help broaden younger travellers’ horizons. From learning to spear-throw with the Masai in Kenya and enjoying a Balinese cooking class to staying in a Tunisian Troglodyte cave and going on turtle patrol in Costa Rica, these are the ingredients for life-long memories.

And perhaps best of all, the opportunity to meet new people, enjoy the local food, get totally absorbed in the local culture and wildlife and understand a destination’s history can have an enormous educational impact on children – whatever their age.

Antony Barton, Schools Manager for family adventure specialist The Adventure Company, explains: “Whilst educational trips can require a good deal of planning, the benefits are long-lasting and often life-changing, which is where we come in. For families small group holidays combine the best of both worlds, allowing kids to get active with their peers while also building in some time together with the parents. And with value remaining a key decision-making factor, we ensure everything from flights and accommodation to entrance fees and the services of a local group leader are included in the price.”

While it can sometimes be overwhelming for parents to know where to start, teachers can be equally apprehensive about arranging school trips. 91% of those polled said they would organise more school trips if the organising process was easier, with 41% viewing the stress of organising them as the main obstacle.

Speaking of the benefits of school touring, Barton adds: “Taking children out of the classroom and into an inspiring environment can really bring studies to life so school trips play an essential role in stimulating a child’s appreciation of the world around them. In particular, feedback we’ve received from teachers highlights how residential trips provide an invaluable opportunity to help students discover new cultures, practice languages and instil a sense of teamwork through shared experiences.”

So where to go?

If guaranteed sunshine, great value and a relatively short flight come high up your travel criteria list then, just five hours from the UK, Egypt is hard to beat.  Ideal for visiting during half terms or Easter, its fascinating cultural history and variety of landscapes, from desert and mountains to the Red Sea, ensures families and school groups can be as adventurous or relaxed as they want. While the Ancient Egyptians being part of the key stage 2 syllabus means the country offers an educational dimension for children aged five upwards, it also lends itself well to a range of curriculum-driven tours covering subjects from population expansion to geology.  

Morocco is another destination best visited during shoulder months, when the climate is ideally suited to studying its geographical phenomena first-hand while walking in the Atlas Mountains or enjoying a camel-back desert adventure.

And if travelling further afield is an option during the winter months, Sri Lanka is fast emerging as a great value destination.  After 25 years of war, its mix of cultural treasures, inspiring landscapes, teeming wildlife, conservation projects and activities, from jungle treks and river canoeing to white-water rafting and elephant-back safaris, provide a great value place to explore.

Barton concludes: “The aim of a travel provider is to take any potential stress out of organising school trips overseas by helping ensure schools can concentrate less on the logistical arrangements and more on the educational element.

“The Adventure Company’s travel experts work closely with teachers to put together a comprehensive itinerary that links directly back to the curriculum. In an age of increasing red tape, knowing that our trips are subject to internal Health and Safety risk assessments and accompanied by a dedicated local group leader certainly takes some of the organisational strain out of the equation.  Similarly, our in-country relationships and the team’s experience of creating unforgettable cultural and educational tours ensure we can consistently provide unforgettable trips at competitive rates.” 

So whatever holiday style or destination you opt for, perhaps it’s time to choose a trip that encourages young people’s spirit of adventure.

FACTBOX:

-         For more information on family adventures visit www.adventurecompany.co.uk/family or call The Adventure Company on 0845 287 1198.

-         To find out more about the benefits of tailor-making a school or group trip visit www.adventurecompany.co.uk/schools.