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How to... organise a school trip

I'd like to take my class away for a few days. Am I mad?

Yes. But you might avoid getting locked up if you follow sensible agreed guidelines. Well-organised school trips can be memorable educational experiences. The drawback is that if anything negative should happen your neck could be on the block.

So how do I avoid that?

Ask yourself why you are doing it, what outcomes you expect and how to achieve them. If it's directly educational, be sure where it fits into the curriculum. Choose an appropriate venue, date, task and journey.

The Caribbean's out then?

Not necessarily. Travel and tourism? History of the slave trade? Ask - is it affordable and relevant? Or does it look like a joy ride? Can you include disadvantaged pupils with discreet grants and subsidies? There is also a place for the general group learning experience.

So ski trips don't have to be about Alpine geology?

Nor quaint costumes and customs or the role of the yodel in inter-valley communications. You could just have fun.

And the queue of colleagues eager to join in?

Would they offer to traipse up slag heaps or down bleak hills in their cagoules? Do they care about children? Are they willing to sit with them, talk and laugh with them, or do they want to sit apart for the sake of a cheap ride?

It's a team effort with shared supervision and serious responsibilities.

You wouldn't want to go with hangers on.

And top tips to look out for?

For any trip consider: aim and purpose; appropriateness of venue; transport and activities; risk and insurance; responsibilities and permissions. Then organisational things: bookings, money, deadlines, absence cover if required. Preparation is three fifths of the work.

Maybe I'll just take them to survey the high street...

Less glamorous, but the issues are the same. And not as memorable as a more adventurous visit. Still, if you need any help, I'd look favourably on an educational trip to the Seychelles.

With Crazy Mike from 3C?

Hmm. Whitley Bay with my grumpy spouse suddenly seems more appealing after all

Duncan Grey is author of 100+ Essential Lists for Teachers and Getting the Buggers to Learn (Continuum)

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