Cash crisis and red tape put staff off school trips

27th March 2009 at 00:00
Teachers avoid taking pupils out and say credit crunch will make matters worse, study reveals

One in five teachers never, or very rarely, takes their pupils on school trips because they involve too much paperwork, take too long to organise or put too much strain on parents' pockets, a study shows.

The Education Travel Group, which arranges out-of-school visits, commissioned a survey that found nine out of 10 teachers believe the economic climate will make it harder for school trips to take place.

The study also showed 22 per cent of teachers either refuse to teach pupils outside school confines or do so only every few years.

Yet only last year, government guidance was published aimed at reducing bureaucracy and encouraging more trips.

Barry Sheerman, chair of the Commons schools select committee, who contributed to the report, said school trips needed promoting.

"Many schools were being deterred by the false perception that there is a high degree of risk associated with outdoor education," he said, "not to mention the cumbersome bureaucracy and issues of funding, time and resources.

"A great deal has been done since that time, but this report shows there is still a lot of work to be done."

The survey found that 79 per cent of teachers would like to see the Government encourage trips by providing more funding. It also found that 41 per cent of those surveyed found trips involved too much organisation and paperwork.

But the NASUWT said teachers should not be dealing with any administrative duties. The union's general secretary Chris Keates said: "One of the key concerns of staff is the lack of support from the employer. Basically, if something goes wrong on a trip, teachers feel that they are on their own and unsupported. Our casework demonstrates that this is the case."

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