A school trip is a way for students to experience the world in a way a textbook and classroom cannot allow, and overseas trips are now back on the agenda for schools and students whose learning has been affected by lockdowns and the coronavirus pandemic.
Often one of the most memorable times in a student's schooling life, the preparation, the journey, as well as the trip and lessons afterwards are all tools to enrich a student's learning experience. Just like any lesson – the successful execution is all in the planning of the outcomes and how they will be achieved.
Here we list top tips for teachers planning a school trip overseas.
1. Plan the outcomes of a school trip
As you would plan any lesson, the learning outcomes of the trip are the key selling point to parents and students
2. Select the destination and garner support
Based on the learning outcomes, select your destination, even outlining an ideal itinerary. Speak to the principal, other faculty staff and sometimes appropriate might be garnering support at parent committee meetings. You could even involve students in this step although bear in mind that planning a new overseas trip often needs to be done 2 years in advance to allow time for fundraising.
3. Once approvals and interest are understood – set the budget
This detailed plan will include a close to final itinerary, a clear outline of appropriate transport and accommodation arrangements, as well as their costs, and the detail of daily activities and excursions
4. Organise the financials
For the students, once the budget is set clearly communicate the trip cost to parents, including whether you are offering or encouraging fundraising opportunities, or how long families have to pay the fees for the trip
For the school, whether you are organising through a tour operator or taking on the task as a teaching team, the fiscal management of a school trip overseas is a critical planning step. It should be clear which items are paid for in advance, what the cancellation policy is and how you will pay for adhoc expenses, and things like transport, meals out, that cannot be paid in advance.
For this type of trip expenses, it's now archaic – even dangerous - to consider carry a pot of cash – not to mention a paperwork nightmare when you get back. A much more efficient system is using a pre-paid card system that will allow all chaperones on the trip to carry a card for emergencies or facility on the trip, read our article ‘Why are schools still expecting teachers to pay school trips, with cash?’ and refer to our Schools Expense Management Hub.
5. Prepare your students for the trip
Students adapt well to trips and overwhelm is reduced for everyone if things are expected, and somehow familiar. Introduce topics that relate to the objectives of the trip well in advance. Consider activities related to the trip and connecting themes from preparation through to post-trip. Make sure the rules are clear – for acceptable behaviour, for items to be brought on the trip, for following the itinerary.
A well-planned trip will be a well-executed trip, and a successful trip will mean more travel in the future. It cannot be denied that seeing the world through your students' eyes is a true gift and that the experience opens doors for students whether it be fodder for university applications or simply planting a seed for the future.