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10 Things To Bear In Mind When Organising A Successful School Field Trip

By Emily Buchanan

So, you're of the mind that it would be a refreshing and, hopefully, inspiring move to take your pupils out of the classroom and into a different environment. But how are you going to make sure that your best intentions come to fruition? Have you thought everything through? I mean really thought everything through?

Here's a handy list of things to bear in mind in order to make your school field trip that crucial mix of educationally stimulating, safe, correctly administered, and - don't forget this one - fun for everyone involved!

First of all, let's get the more tedious parts out of the way. Yes, of course, there are tedious bits. You weren't forgetting those, were you?

1. Get verbal consent from the Head before you start planning

You've had the idea. It's a good 'un. But make sure you get the key people on board with your idea at the get-go. The Head can advise you on past experiences with the school on field trips, he or she may even have some really good suggestions. Either way, they will be able to give you the green light to organize it and give you any guidance you need.

2. Plan for back-up in case of emergency

It's more than likely that your field trip will pass without incident. Most things do in life. But make sure there are people in-situ who can support you. Taking your pupils to somewhere like Kingswood will ensure this. At least then, should the unlikely event occur, you are in an excellent environment to deal with any eventuality.

3. Get informed on Health and Safety

You know this is important and yes it is also supremely dull. But just make sure you are well briefed. No need to go overboard and get the cotton-wool wrapping out. Just be informed. Be sensible. Be safe.

4. Think about Cost

This may not come as a news flash but there it's a difficult economic climate out there. This is affecting everyone, parents especially. Don't go suggesting activities that are going to count out a lot of pupils. Take time to assess the costs involved. What are the low-cost options? Are there any ways you can get funding from the school or education authority to make sure everyone can go?

5. Make sure the parents are aware of the logistics Parents, generally, are in favor of the idea of field trips. They know the benefits. But make sure you send them adequate communication explaining what you are planning, why, and what they need to know so that they can adapt their schedules accordingly. Make sure everyone knows where everyone is going, at what time they will start, finish and eat, how they will eat and what the transport arrangements are. Get their written permission.

Ok, so that’s the more process-driven stuff out of the way. What about the more exciting stuff?

6. Is the opportunity unique?

What is the nature of the field trip? Is it really something that the pupils would only experience if you organized it for them? This is crucial to making it constructive and memorable. If it is unique, you stand much more chance of getting everybody on board with the idea.

7. Set objectives in advance

Make sure you've got a clear idea of what you want everyone to get out of the field trip in advance. This will help give structure and clear value to the trip. It will also help you maintain focus during the trip when minds have the opportunity to wander.

8. Think about how the activity translates classroom learning
The best field trips will re-contextualize a particular sub-strand or topic within your subject and shed a different light on it for the students. In this way, students can find a new perspective on a topic that might have previously left them disinterested. It will have richness and breadth to your subjects and can re-energize the students on the return to the classroom.

9. Make it fun AND educational

Perhaps the most important point is this one. There is plenty of research that suggests, like the best class-based learning, that the optimum way to make sure the field trip is a success is to make sure it is fun and as well as educational.

10. De-brief

You need to learn too. What went well? What could have gone better? How might you do things differently in the future? Get feedback from the students. Make it better for next time. Share your thoughts, successes, and things you’ve learned with your fellow teachers.

Think about all these things carefully, get planning and you can make your school field trip an extremely rewarding experience for everyone involved.

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