Planning school trips and bringing all the aspects together for their success can be logistically difficult for teachers and trip organisers. Despite the recognised educational and social value of school trips, dealing with large groups of young people in an unfamiliar environment can be daunting. With increased advice and guidance and more involvement from local education authorities, organisers of educational travel have more access to administrative and legal support and help.
It is the often the legal issues that become the stumbling block when organising school trips with many documents, rules and regulations that need to be adhered to. By breaking the planning down, bringing excursions to fruition successfully and with minimum stress is made much simpler. The key to success is inspiring confidence in parents, teachers and pupils by ticking all the health and safety and legislative boxes.
At Least Three Months Prior
The itinerary must be first be approved by the senior management of the school plus the local education authority, then possible dates should be put forward. As the organiser you must research the itinerary thoroughly and make sure any activities included are booked and organised in advance. Risk assessments must be done and verified by the school. Booking with a specialised travel company makes this part of planning much easier, as their set itineraries will all have been well researched and risk assessment forms will already be in place.
It is at this stage that a budget needs to be calculated, and should funding be required, it must be applied for now. Transport also has to be considered and the potential methods of getting to your destination weighed up.
One Month Prior
A month prior to school trips actually happening, the parents must receive a comprehensive letter outlining costs and what the pupils are required to provide. If the trip is a long-haul one incurring significant cost to parents, more notice should be given so they have time to prepare.
The final budget should be decided at this point and payments must be completed. Most travel companies will prompt you at this stage to ensure all lose ends are tied up. You'll also need to make sure there are enough teachers or parent volunteers to accompany the journey to meet the required adult to pupil ratio. Meetings should be held with your chosen supervisors to prepare them and establish rules and regulations.
One Week Prior
Everyone will be getting excited by this stage of the planning process, so ensure numbers are finalised and issue the school with a list of participants. Parents must be furnished with an information pack containing information regarding points of contact, mobile numbers and travel details. All that remains is for you to check all medical insurance is in place and that consent forms for everyone attending have been received.