Experience of a lifetime

5th March 2004 at 00:00
In the light of recent warnings about teachers going on school trips, it is important to place the risks in context.

In the past 10 years there have been 35 fatalities on school trips (to November 2003) but thousands of school trips (between seven and 10 million individual pupil visits) take place each year and few serious accidents happen.

In contrast, around 600 children a year are killed in road accidents. In 1998, 142 children died through poisoning.

Society is becoming obsessed with blame and compensation, and the concept of a genuine accident is disappearing. It is therefore understandable that teachers may be reluctant to go on school trips, although this is a great shame.

Risk assessments and safety procedures are vital, but young people need to develop independence and learn how to deal with challenges. School trips give them new experiences they may never have again. A visit to the park for a five-year-old is as much of an adventure as abseiling for a 10-year-old.

Safely conducted and properly supervised, school trips are an important part of education. We should applaud staff who give children these opportunities.

Jean Gemmell

General secretary, PAT

2 St James' Court, Derby

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today