Fun environments key to a successful school trip

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Interviews with primary and secondary school teachers has revealed they place significant importance on social relationships and unique learning experiences, particularly outside-the-classroom learning.

The research revealed school trips that enhance team work and social skills are a clear benefit as social relationships are an important element of secondary education learning.

The personal and social aspects of a school trip are also valued among primary school teachers, as activities that build confidence and create better relationships are an important part of primary education learning.

Teachers also attach value to ‘unique’ learning opportunities, described as something that sits outside a student’s familiar environment, providing hands-on and challenging learning opportunities.

The research results suggested ‘unique’ learning could involve supporting a hard to teach subject or applying educational learning in a way that may not be possible when studying in a classroom.

When asked ‘what describes a perfect school trip’, teachers from both primary and secondary schools cited ‘fun’ and ‘safe’ as the highest priorities, with organisation, cost and logistics as less of a concern.
Perceived students’ needs were also asked, with teachers revealing ‘fun’, ‘safe’ and ‘spending time with friends’ as core aspects, highlighting both students and teachers’ requirements for a successful school trip are aligned.

Educational outcomes of a school trip, such as linking school trips to the curriculum, were seen as less important than environmental opportunities offered, suggesting pastoral elements of outside the classroom learning are often more significant than a trip’s educational value.

Stephen Pratt, from Merlin Learning Experiences, who conducted the research, said: “Our research has shown both teachers and students place importance on having an element of ‘fun’ when learning, whether this is hands-on involvement, interaction with people or being challenged.

“Incorporating a creative and imaginative aspect to teaching is important. Out-of-the-classroom learning gets students to think about a topic differently, while also encouraging social learning and building teamwork skills that have been cited as integral to students’ development.”

The research also revealed important elements for consideration when planning a school trip. In addition to the value outside the classroom learning needs to bring to students, teachers cited cost and risk assessment as significant factors, both in terms of securing sign-off for the trip and the time it takes to sort out the logistics and plan a risk assessment.

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