Name: Rachael McLoughlin
Job title: Head of Language Tours
What did you teach? French and Spanish at secondary school (up to A Level)
How long were you a teacher for? 2 years after finishing my PGCE
How has this prepared you for a life in school travel?
Although I didn’t teach for long, I saw the benefits of taking students abroad.
My Year 7 students were so enthusiastic about the end-of-year day trip and were keen to try speaking to French people in shops.
And several of my 6th formers took part in work experience trips and came back full of confidence, which really helped with their speaking exam preparation.
You can’t teach confidence to your students - they need the experience of communicating with native speakers of another language.
Did you lead/help out on any school trips while you were teaching?
I ran a day trip to the Opal Coast area for Year 7. It was a long day watching over all 70 of them but very rewarding and a whole lot of fun!
I also went on a Christmas market trip to Lille while I was doing my PGCE, which was less stressful (as I wasn’t in charge!) but still a great day out with the students.
What tips would you give teachers when planning their school trip?
Start early, even if it’s just working out what you want to do or what you can achieve with the budget you have in mind.
Leaving it late is stressful for you in terms of getting everything in place, but it’s also more difficult for parents to get the money together – you risk putting a lot of effort into getting something approved, only for it to be too late for parents to get on board.
It also gives you more time to get all of the admin in place, like risk assessments, and final copies of outstanding passports…
But even more important than that is to make the most of it and enjoy it – it’s a great way to get to know your students better, and to remember the things that made you fall in love with your subject in the first place!
Which is your favourite destination/what is your favourite tour and why?
My favourite type of tour is the Language Study Tours which offer the option of staying with host families - it’s the best way to get the most exposure to the language in a short space of time.
The students can’t escape from it, going between lessons and activities around the city, to spending time with their hosts.
And in terms of destinations, I’ve always loved France but you can’t beat some extra sunshine in Spain!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like more information on our MFL school trips, or would like to request a no-obligation, tailor-made quote.