We recently ran a social media competition asking teachers to share their top school trip planning tips. Here are some of our favourite answers!
Organisation is absolutely paramount! Have ten copies of everything you could ever possibly need and check everything a hundred times!
Liaise with the communications team
If you tweet/email the communications person at school, it’s a fab way to publicise, which then helps to promote following trips.
When we’ve had small groups, we’ve used WhatsApp to communicate. Kids are so relaxed and chilled when they know they can ask questions or contact us very easily, and it means they can easily share photos of the trip too.
Employ the three 'p's!
The best advice has to be the three ‘p’s – Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance! So important when leading and running any expedition or school trip!
Have a list of medical requirements to hand
Definitely have your medical staff prepped well in advance with a list of students so you can know about all of the students’ needs and be #readyforaction!
Have a handy sheet with all the relevant allergies and medications in the language of the country you’re visiting and, after one very clumsy trip group, take an extra set of bandages!
Get stuck in!
Our top tip for school trips is simple – get stuck in! Try everything and embrace the opportunities!
Make sure your students know where they're going and why
Empower students to get the most out of their trip. Ensure they know exactly where they are going and why, what’s expected of them in terms of dress, behaviour and outcomes, and what to do if something goes wrong, e.g. they get ill or lost.
There’s no point in taking students anywhere unless they know exactly where they are going why! Students should be in a position to take ownership (as far as possible according to age, ability etc.) of the trip.
Take some games equipment
If you can, take some spare equipment for games of some sort. You never know when there might be an hour or so to kill when you’ll be pleased you brought that rounders bat or football!
Prepare for the journey
Take wet wipes – a million wet wipes! They have come in handy so many times on the coach.
Take kitchen roll and plastic bags with no holes…I’m saying nothing else!
Always carry a can of air freshener for the coach. Black bags will also come in VERY handy!
Take a plentiful supply of age-appropriate DVDs for long coach journeys. Also take plastic bags, wet wipes, comfy shoes and some prizes for awards night.
Take advantage of inspection visits
Go on the Halsbury Inspection Visits to meet the team, visit the areas of choice, meet other teachers and make new friends.
Create a town quiz
Check out the town on the first night and make a quiz up of what you see – bus numbers, odd names for shops, prices of things…include questions they need to ask locals too!
Arrange your parents' evening nice and early
Make sure you have your trip parents’ evening in plenty of time so you can collect outstanding paperwork.
Choose accompanying staff carefully
Take responsible and effective staff – this may mean members of the department but there may also be teachers outside of your department whose skills may be fantastic in a trip setting.
Bring extra water
Always carry a case of secret water bottles under the coach in case of a breakdown.
Take a notebook
Take a notebook and write down the next daily plan, notes and reflections each night and then when you need to tell the students things you can refer back to your notes and you won’t forget things!
Plan your route
Plan your route through the town the night before with Google Maps so that you at least look like you know where you are going!
Make sure you’ve visited the site first – suss out toilet locations both on site and en route.
Never plan a trip for a Monday – parents forget over the weekend and children arrive unprepared.
Make sure your students are easy to spot
If students are not wearing uniform, some kind of easily identifiable item of clothing for pupils to wear works well, e.g. cap, t-shirt, lanyard etc.
Download the Vamoos app – it has all your paperwork on it, as well as your itinerary, maps and weather updates. It also allows you to share a trip countdown in the build up to the trip.