The Ultimate Guide To Planning A School Trip

Organising school trips to other places is a fun but often challenging task. The entire process starts a few months in advance with lots of planning.

Organising school trips to other places is a fun but often challenging task. The entire process starts a few months in advance with lots of planning. You may be tasked with organising something like a historical museum visit or even a year 6 residential trip to Kingswood exploring the great outdoors.

An educational visit is a great opportunity for your primary or secondary school class to see more of the world whilst supporting the curriculum! A key finding from Ofsted was that schools' quality of education was enriched when well-planned, regular trips to local areas and beyond that were linked to the curriculum were planned by teachers.

During the planning stages, you might take into consideration inclusivity, cost and objectives when coming up with ideas. This guide is sure to help you plan and prepare for an exciting school trip effectively. Planning trips shouldn't only be educational, but entertaining too, right?

What are good school trips?

The best kind of trips are ones that are planned to align with the curriculum whilst allowing your class to have fun and bond with each other. It is a good way of boosting the students’ self-confidence, independence and soft skills. It offers young people an exciting opportunity to experience cultural diversity, establish friendships and expand their perspectives.

Don't rush! Start planning early

It's wise not to rush when organising school trips. It's usually a good idea to start planning school trips 12-18 months in advance depending on whether you're planning a short or long trip. Take your time in choosing a school travel company, accommodation (if required) and the itinerary for the trip along with any special requirements for students.

During the early stages of planning a school trip, set your budget and date. This will help you easily research venues, plan the itinerary, organise school travel and inform parents of the trip.

Set your objectives

The purpose of the school trip should be clear from the start as this will define your visit. What do you want the tour to deliver to your pupils? Is the trip being planned to create a deeper understanding of a certain subject, focus on a key area of the curriculum or provide team building and bonding opportunities for your class?

Many schools choose to use a tour provider. If you decide on this route, make sure you clearly communicate the objectives at the start of planning.

Plan the destination

Many locations are perfect for schools and can be enriching to pupils during educational visits, but the final choice comes down to what will give the most value to their learning. Museums allow for easy learning outside the classroom whilst activity centres and sports experiences provide an educational yet fun trip. Use your objectives to plan the school trip and look for guidance, advice and ideas from another teacher or school leader.

Customise your trip

Planning the itinerary is important as it needs to be suited to the needs of the group. You should consider if all students can take part in the activities and whether they will be compulsory or optional. Your trip should be in line with your objectives, so double-check during this step that each item on the checklist includes a resource and venue that hits your goals.

Because you set your budget early in the planning stages, the ideas you have around activities are more attainable. Choose from educational, outdoor or indoor activities that align with predetermined learning outcomes for maximum results.

At Kingswood, we have a huge range of challenges and programmes for pupils of all ages from Woodlands and Waves to Adventure Plus which builds confidence, resilience and life skills.

Prioritise safety

After you've planned your itinerary, it's time to prioritise the safety of the children. Risk assessments are a huge part of every school activity and should be carried out during each stage of the trip from school travel to teacher-related risks. For example, during the school trip, there may be outdoor activities involved. During these activities, you must identify any hazards during your assessment and make sure you have precautions covered.

As the organiser of the school trip, you should complete any generic risk assessment forms that might apply along with any specific to the destination. These will then need to be handed to the school head teacher.

Health and safety should be at the top of your priority list during your school trip. Students must have support for health and well-being whether they are primary-aged or secondary school children. You should also know the parent contact details for each of the students should you need to call them for any reason.

Read up on the government guidance for health and safety on educational trips before you go.

Get guidance from the venue

Before the school trip, you should call the company you're visiting to make sure they understand what you require from them during the tour. They may be able to help you deliver the teaching experience you need for your groups. The staff from the company you're visiting could support your educational goals during the school trip by planning a specific tour or giving you ideas for your checklist.

The company may also give you advice on what to do when you get there and if there is any paperwork that needs filling out.

Plan for everything during school travel

The trip starts on the bus. The travel company you use will be able to give details on the travel time as well as any visits to service stations on the way. This way, you can point out the next toilet breaks to students.

You should take plenty of supplies for students, teachers and parents during the coach trip. Travel sickness is always a risk during travel, so make sure you're stocked up on tablets. Communicate what's needed during travel to parents and students such as water and food so that each group can prepare.

Reflection is important

Make sure you arrange enough time for reflection both during and after your school trip. Whether that's a daily recap over dinner or at the end of the day. Summarising the day's activities and relating them to the subject you are teaching in the classroom is hugely beneficial to the students. You could even ask your students to keep a diary of their experiences during the trip. Seeing their activities, thoughts and feelings written down can be much easier to reflect on after the trip has ended. They can see what they've been learning, maybe even without realising!

When you get back to the classroom, spend some time discussing the tour and the company you visited as well as the activities you did. It might have been some students' first time seeing the world away from their parents, so this is a great time to reflect and reminisce. The class’s visit can be used during their education in a written task to share their learning outcomes with other students.