Posted on May 16, 2015 by Olivia Dyer
The key to planning great school trips is organisation, organisation, organisation! How does one know what to organise? Look no further than this blog post. Michaela Community School might have only had its second school trip ever last Thursday, but we would like to share how Michaela does things, and the rationale behind some of these things.
Choosing the trip
Ensure that all pupils have studied the units relevant to the trip. This means that pupils can engage with exhibitions, workshops and performances intelligently and the trip will aid their understanding of the unit(s).
Before the trip
Send out a letter a fortnight before the trip, with a permission slip at the bottom. In the letter, outline:
a) What unit(s) of learning the trip will complement;
b) Date(s) for the trip;
c) Time pupils need to arrive at school;
d) Expected time of arrival (ETA) back to school;
e) Contribution towards the trip;
f) Dress code;
g) Items to bring;
h) When permission slip is required back.
c) Plan the trip with at least twelve weeks notice, to avoid clashes with other school arrangements, such as sports matches and to ensure that the venue has the availability. You will need at least 14 working days for the Transport for London School Party Travel scheme.
d) Always push the ETA 30 minutes back from what you would expect. This way, parents do not worry unnecessarily if pupils are late arriving back.
e) This is a voluntary contribution, so the school should support families in genuine need.
f) Pupils will try to get away with wearing non-regulation shoes, headscarves, outerwear, bags and even trousers/skirts for a school trip. Pre-empt this by outlining the dress code in the letter and reminding pupils at every opportunity. Tell pupils the consequences of not wearing correct uniform, and stick to this consequence.
g) This includes whether or not pupils should bring stationary, lunch and pocket money. At Michaela, we set a limit of £20 for day trips, but make it clear that this is not necessary.
h) Anticipate that 50 per cent of families will miss this date. To avoid this, try and plan this date for just after the end of the calendar month. This will ensure that working families have been paid.
2) School uniform
Unless pupils are going on an overnight trip, full school uniform should be worn. If pupils are going to be undertaking physical activity, we would suggest that the school PE uniform should be worn. Wearing school uniform means that pupils can be easily identified, are more likely to behave in a professional manner and reduces chance of bullying.
Michaela will provide full school packed lunches for all pupils. Inside these packed lunches are a piece of fruit, a snack and a bottle of water. Pupils have a choice of four sandwiches/baguettes (usually cheese, tuna mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise and plain). They will choose their sandwich/baguette on a first come, first served basis on the day of the trip. If the trip sets off early, they will have an additional break time snack to eat before lunch. If the trip begins later, pupils have the opportunity to eat a break time snack in school. Ensure that you book a lunch space at the venue, so that pupils have somewhere to eat their lunch. Pupils are not allowed to eat sweets bought in the shop on the trip.
A standard trip requirement is that pupils bring their drawstring PE bag with a pen and their current reading book. Encourage pupils to leave all valuables at home.
Pupils may bring their mobile phones to school, but will need to hand these in before the trip. The phones will be locked in a secure place in the school, which pupils may retrieve on their return. Pupils are not allowed to take their phones on the trip. If pupils are found to have done so, phones will be confiscated as per school policy.
5) Trip exclusions
A few days before the trip, look through the list of pupils attending the trip. If any pupils stand out as having behaved extremely badly in the recent weeks, exclude them from the trip.
On the day of the trip, hold an assembly which outlines:
a) How to behave on the road;
b) What to do if lost on journey/at venue;
c) How to behave on public transport (explicitly model);
d) How to queue;
e) What to do if you see if other pupils misbehaving;
f) How to behave at the venue (in the shop, toilets etc.);
g) How to view exhibits (explicitly model);
h) History and relevant information about venue (optional, but good for enthusing pupils).
Tell pupils upfront that you will be rewarding good behaviour with the school’s usual behaviour system, as well as sanctioning any behaviour that does not meet the school’s expectations. When the expectations are being outlined during the trip assembly, make it clear that there is no choice but to behave in the expected way. Pupils must read on public transport, must offer anyone older than them their seat (avoids ‘should I or shan’t I offer that person my seat?’ scenario) and must walk on the left hand side. The rationale is that this is how commuters behave, and to behave any differently will mean that you would not fit in.
8) Information pack
Produce an information pack for staff going on the trip and provide each staff member with a clipboard. There should be three sections of the information pack:
Use Google street view to show members of staff how to get to the venue. When you go on your pre-visit to the venue, use this as an opportunity to take photographs of the journey to put in the information pack.
During the trip
1) Behaviour management
On the final page of the information pack, separate all pupils out into groups. Have an additional column on the table for behaviour management. This will enable staff to easily document any merits and demerits that they give out on the day. Recognise great acts of kindness, which will increase pupil motivation.
2) Registering pupils
Before the pupils set off, tell them their group and individual number. Get them into an orderly line and get pupils to shout out their number in order from 1-15. The last pupil should shout out their number and the phrase, “last man/woman!” This roll call can be done before pupils get on public transport and on the platform after all pupils have got off. The roll call can also be carried out before and after activities at the venue. This makes registering pupils stress free, and gets them into an orderly line.
Below are some photographs of our pupils on school trips. You will see them reading on the tube and lining up for a roll call next to the Diplodocus skeleton in the Hintze Hall of the Natural History museum.