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Send the right message on trips

After all the negative publicity surrounding school trips, I was delighted to see the positive National Trust report Changing Minds: The Lasting Impact of School Trips.

From my own recent teaching experience, I know that properly supervised visits are an integral part of learning. They can be character-forming and life-changing. They allow children and young people to explore and challenge their abilities and character in a unique way, as well as making them aware of risks.

The experiences and memories school trips provide cannot be quantified directly by tests or examinations but, as this report shows, both children and staff benefit enormously from them.

The Department for Education and Skills' draft outdoor education manfesto is also welcome for its recognition of the importance of school visits. We should commend all those who organise or provide such wonderful learning opportunities.

Philip Parkin

General Secretary Professional Association of Teachers, 2 St James' Court Friar Gate, Derby

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